The managed IT service provider is an independent contractor bound by a service-level agreement that establishes key metrics and standards.
Managed services nowadays are meant to include all IT functions, including strategy, budgeting, planning, security, et cetera. So higher level functions, not just help desk.
Initially, the focus of managed services was to outsource IT to cut costs. However, the scope of managed functions has grown to the point that now, clients actively expect you to provide long-term strategic focus and direction. In some cases, managed services fill the role of the VCIO.
In the early days, it was more about identifying the specific functions you can outsource to save money.
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How Do Managed Services Work?
Some of the popular services that managed providers cover are:
- Remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices
- Managed printing solutions
- Network support
- Cloud services
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
What’s the Typical Size of a Business That Might Want to Consider Managed Service Providers?
Whenever an organization approaches 20 employees, they should start thinking about outsourcing IT functions.
Thanks to the spread of web-connected devices and cloud-enabled services, every organization must be very mindful of security. Managed providers offer a much higher level of expertise and experience when it comes to ensuring ironclad levels of security.
Managed providers are even more necessary when you consider strategic IT needs. Smaller firms usually rope in employees such as the storeroom guy or the mail guy to act as the in-house IT person. However, this individual isn’t capable of providing long-term strategic IT direction.
As enterprise needs grow, you need to focus on budgeting, security, problem resolution, and much more. If you concentrate on in-house people, you’re so inundated with problems that it’s not possible to extract yourself and think about security, strategy, or direction. On the other hand, the MSP can cover these problems.
How Do You Decide on a Managed Services Provider?
Settling on a managed services provider is never an easy task. It would be best if start by doing your due diligence by researching online.
Step 1 – shortlist vendors and get a needs assessment
After you’ve shortlisted a few vendors, the next step is to request a technical needs assessment. This provides a snapshot of what your current IT needs are and the future strategic direction you could potentially take.
Step 2 – get a game plan for each vendor to compare and contrast the fit
Ask all vendors for an estimate of how they’ll improve your IT infrastructure as well as turnaround times for support tickets.
Step 3 – compare the proposed assessments and solutions, as well as each vendor
Compare and contrast the offerings in the proposals you receive. At the minimum, your chosen vendor should have a proven history of working with clients as well as a good pitch. References are essential, make sure you ask for testimonials or the opportunity to speak with current/former clients.
MSPs with an experience of fewer than 3 years are probably not a good idea as they’re untested and you don’t want to outsource such a critical aspect of your business to an organization that’s still learning the ropes.
Of course, there are likely dozens of MSPs in your local area to vet, and this process can be very time consuming. Consider factors like proximity to your office and awards/accolades to help shortlist the vendors to just those you can trust, and who can be close by when you need them.
If you’re in the Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT) and need some help with your IT, give us a call and let us show you how we can improve IT operations and cut costs within 3 months.