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What Are Managed IT Services?

Businesses use a wide range of IT services regularly but the way they operate depends on internal strategies—whether this means using an internal team, opting for managed IT services, or deciding to go with a co-managed IT solution

Amidst the recession talks, companies are reviewing their current approach and determining the best option to reduce costs and streamline processes. That’s why managed IT has become a popular choice over the years. According to SkyQuest research, more than 60% of businesses rely on MSPs for everyday tasks. 

What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

A managed service provider is a group of third-party IT experts businesses outsource their IT responsibilities to. The MSP is in charge of taking care of a defined set of IT services or providing services it deems necessary for the company. While operating, the MSP will be required to use its own equipment and tools. 

All the duties the managed service provider takes on will be listed under a service level agreement (SLA). This agreement typically lists downtime and disaster recovery plans, all technical support, and how the help desk will operate. 

Businesses that use an MSP often pay a monthly subscription fee for the services packaged and supplied. However, this may change depending on the service provider. 

The Advantages of Managed IT Services

Both small companies and large enterprises can benefit from outsourcing at least some portions of IT operations to MSPs. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re brand-new companies or ones that have been around for the past 10 years. Let’s take a look:

Reduced Costs

Without the need to train and maintain a large number of IT employees, company expenses can be reduced. Yes, you’d still need to pay the MSP; however, their monthly fee will be consistent and typically a much smaller cost than an internal team, especially when factoring in staff benefits—a winning combination for saving money in the long run and budgeting for the business. 

Consistency

Managed services providers, well, at least good ones, ensure daily processes are handled carefully, reducing the amount of downtime. After signing an SLA, it clearly states what the MSP is responsible for, so if any issues occur, the agreement will direct who is in charge of fixing them without creating any confusion. 

Seasoned Professionals

Within the IT world, there are many specializations. Sometimes it can be hard for businesses to employ specialists that have good knowledge of all IT operations. On the other hand, MSPs are designed for that exact reason. They have the experience and skills to complete specific tasks without a hitch, allowing the internal team to focus on more pressing matters. 

High Availability

Unless the IT department at your company has someone on the clock all the time, there will be periods when employees won’t get the help they need. However, MSPs usually offer a 24/7 service. This means that problems can be solved quickly to keep things moving. In fact, a high number of managed service providers offer a “minimum response time,” adding further confidence that queries will be solved in a short amount of time. 

The disadvantages of MSPs

Although there is a wide range of benefits, there are also some cons that come with using a managed service provider too.

Different Level of Control  

Like all outsourced services, the level of control is different from having an internal IT team. Therefore, the provider has a huge amount of responsibility to handle. And if they’re not performing to a high standard, it could severely impact the company. That’s why it’s important to pick an MSP that fits your vision. With a strong MSP, this should not be an issue or concern. Your life should become easier from an IT standpoint, not harder. 

Rocky Transitions 

This is typically experienced when companies use MSPs that lack the necessary experience or knowledge, but they decide to offer their services anyways. When services are transferred from the internal team to the new provider, daily activities can be impacted if it doesn’t go according to plan.

Communication Issues 

There can be communication problems between the business and the provider they’re outsourcing IT operations to. This can reduce productivity. Now keep in mind, you won’t find this with the majority of providers, and you can usually tell if there are going to be communication issues going forward when first reaching out to a potential MSP.

IT Services That Are Covered

There is a wide range of services that an MSP can cover—some are extremely niche while others are more generalized. The standard ones are listed below:

IT Support

One of the key services offered by MSPs is IT support. But what is IT support? 

In short, IT support consists of any type of assistance a business needs with technology. During a regular day, if an employee has a problem with one of their devices, an IT support specialist is there to solve any problems. However, this isn’t the only thing they are involved in. From setup and installation to configuring equipment and other activities, IT support specialists reduce downtime or equipment failure and ensure employees can use technology to complete their daily tasks without impeding their workflow. 

Outsourced Tech Support 

Outsourced tech support is the most common form of IT support. This involves hiring a third-party IT company specifically to fill the role of tech support. 

There are three main types of support that a good tech support company will cover. These are:

Break-fix Support – When you find you have a problem with your IT systems, you will call the company and they will work on fixing it for you as soon as possible. 

Proactive support – The IT support company will continuously monitor both your hardware and software to find any potential problems and solve them before they become an issue. 

Fully managed support – This is where all your IT support needs are managed by a third party, from predicting issues to monitoring the systems and proactively solving problems and more.

One of the biggest benefits an outsourced tech support team has over an in-house team is the fact that you will have experts just a call away. MSPs have gathered experience from working with different companies on different issues, so they will be extremely knowledgeable about fixing pre-existing flaws and proactively fixing other potential ones that may cause downtime to your IT systems. 

What’s more, as you will not need to pay full-time salaries for IT experts due to it being outsourced, you will also find it to be much cheaper than in-house IT support. 

IT Help Desk

Another integral service that most MSPs will offer is an IT help desk. When any issues occur, this service helps employees report them through easy-to-use software. Following this, staff can stay up to date on outstanding problems while the managed service provider works to find a solution.

By feeding all issues through one software that users have access to, the troubleshooting process becomes very efficient. All too often internal IT departments don’t have effective strategies to combat errors that users are facing, which means the time that could be spent on other tasks is wasted. 

On the other hand, MSPs are solely responsible for looking after a company’s IT functions. Therefore, they spend a lot of resources to create an IT help desk that has been streamlined for all their clients. Depending on the expertise of the MSP, the help desk can be extended to the customers of the client.

Cloud IT Services

The cloud is an invaluable service to millions of businesses looking to grow in the next few years. Usually, cloud IT services provide businesses with a hosted platform they manage, as well as data and application services. The most popular types of cloud service are:

Software-as-a-service (also known as SaaS) – As the name suggests, this is a particular way for organizations to deliver applications over the cloud as a service, instead of installing and maintaining the software. 

Infrastructure-as-a-service (also known as Iaas) – This is a cloud service that allows end users to take advantage of computing, storage, data backup, and networking solutions on demand through the internet. 

Platforms-as-a-service (also known as PaaS) – This allows customers to use a platform that applications can run on, along with all the necessary IT infrastructure that is required for it to run without fail.  

MSPs often include cloud services as part of their offering to ensure that companies don’t experience any downtime. Managing a cloud service without MSPs looking after it often leads to system shutdowns since it’s cutting edge and the skill gap is huge.

Cybersecurity Services

In the modern world, there are major cybersecurity breaches every day. And it’s not just the big players that suffer. In the U.S., 61% of SMBs were targeted by cybercriminals. There are many different ways that cybersecurity threats can appear. 

One of the most common threats is malware. This is a program that is secretly installed onto a system to compromise its security and steal data. These are exceedingly difficult to catch if you are not an expert, and they have impacted thousands of businesses worldwide. Ransomware is another common threat and is similar to malware; however, this type of malware will stop you from accessing your system unless you pay a ransom fee.

You also have DDOS attacks that stop access to your network by sending a large number of traffic requests to slow a website down or crash it. The worst thing is that this is often done as a distraction while hackers commit more heinous forms of cybercrime. 

Because of all this, companies need to have some form of cybersecurity service on hand to help them, which MSPs offer. But what exactly is a cybersecurity service? 

Cybersecurity services protect companies against hackers accessing important and private data, thanks to a range of security measures they put in place. They provide encryption so that your data won’t be accessible to hackers, as well as providing data loss prevention, ensuring that you can access your data at all times. Firewalls and maintenance of these firewalls are other services the MSPs provide. This is vital for controlling the flow of network traffic and ensuring that no unsecured networks and attacks can get through to harm your IT infrastructure. 

Another important thing they provide is antivirus and anti-malware software. This software continuously scans the system for any potential threats and stops any viruses from infecting the system to ensure that cyberattacks don’t get a chance to occur.  

However, it doesn’t stop there. These services also include email and spam filtering to stop employees from accidentally accessing dangerous sites. They also monitor your network day and night to stop any criminal activity occurring from users inside the network, such as disgruntled employees stealing important data. A cybersecurity service also provides high-quality cloud security, stopping your databases from being accessed by sneaky hackers. 

If you want your IT systems protected from the constant barrage of cybersecurity threats that are a common occurrence in today’s world, you need a good MSP with cybersecurity service.

One-off projects

In some cases, businesses may have an internal IT team that efficiently looks after daily operations. Although, when big projects come along, they need to seek outside help to ensure the whole thing goes smoothly. Various IT projects require the help of an external team. This includes updates to IT infrastructure, upgrading risk management, or other stuff.

A managed service provider is the perfect option in this situation. It has the necessary resources to assist you when completing one-off projects. Typically, the MSP will assign a project manager that ensures the project goes smoothly from the beginning to the end, providing you with greater peace of mind. 

Summing up

Outsourced IT support is becoming more favorable for businesses across the spectrum. With various IT services being offered and the many benefits that come with one, it’s easy to see why many companies are adopting this approach. 

Using an MSP such as MyTek will help your business strengthen its IT infrastructure while saving costs. We have experts across different IT fields working for decades—from hardware vendor management and cybersecurity to virtualization and cloud services. To know how we can help your business, get in touch with MyTek today!

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