Technology is vital to day-to-day business operations for just about every organization. That means that ongoing network management and maintenance are vital too. Business leaders must then ask whether they should resource IT support and maintenance in-house or outsource to third-party professionals.
For some businesses, it's not feasible or cost-effective to build and staff an entire IT department. That's where managed IT services come in.
Managed IT Services Providers (MSPs) can take care of all or part of the company's IT tasks for a flat monthly rate.
So, what are managed IT services, and what could the arrangement look like if you were to contract with an MSP? Let's dig in.
What is a Managed IT Services Provider?
A Managed IT Services Provider (MSP) is an external company that assumes responsibility for some or all of a business's IT tasks. You get access to a whole company of IT experts working proactively to prevent issues from turning into big problems. This enhances your IT efficiency and improves uptime, which keeps your employees working efficiently and boosts your bottom line.
An MSP can also help you navigate, interpret, and implement cyber security tactics that are needed to comply with federal regulations regarding data protection, safety, and privacy. Things like CMMC, NIST 800-171, HIPAA, ITAR, etc.
However, not all MSPs are the same. Make sure that you're confident in the cyber security expertise that they're offering before you trust them to manage cyber risks.
What Services Do Managed IT Services Providers Offer?
In today's market, high-performing IT management gives businesses a competitive edge.
Working with an MSP gives you the ability to create a predictable IT foundation on which you can grow and leverage technology. This is possible through a combination of proactive and reactive services that can include:
- Regular maintenance
- Network & cyber security
- New user setup and training
- IT strategy development
- Security and acceptable use policy management
- Help desk services
- Cloud computing
- Communication and support services
- Business continuity and disaster recovery
- Onsite IT services
Choosing the Right Managed IT Services Option
Once you start looking into managed IT services, you'll likely start seeing some common outsourced IT support agreement options. Many managed services providers offer some version of an all-inclusive plan and a partial (or co-managed) outsourced IT services plan.
Determining which option is best for your business can be a challenge if you haven't outsourced IT before, so let's explore the differences.
All-Inclusive Managed IT Services
An all-inclusive managed IT services approach gives the managed services provider sole or full responsibility for handling all your IT services for a fixed monthly fee.
With an all-inclusive managed IT services strategy:
- You receive expertise across various industries and technologies.
- You don't worry about staffing. There's always someone to attend to your needs.
- You can plan and budget for technology on a strategic level.
- You have a clear path to regulatory compliance with data security and handling requirements.
One of the most compelling reasons companies choose all-inclusive managed IT services is because it's typically less expensive than in-house staffing and it gives them a one-stop-shop for all of their IT needs.
Co-Managed IT Services (Partial, Hybrid, or Supplemental IT Services)
Some organizations are not comfortable letting third-party companies handle all of their IT needs. That's where co-management of IT services comes in.
Businesses can opt for a partial IT services management setup by outsourcing some IT services. For example, an MSP provides behind-the-scenes proactive IT management and takes care of the routine tasks, while the internal IT department handles the rest.
Hybrid managed IT services solutions blend both in-house and outsourced services. Managed IT services providers work together with the organization's IT staff on various tasks as defined in their arrangement.
Supplemental IT services come in handy to help your in-house IT team if they don't have enough bandwidth to do all of the necessary routine tasks, if they need help in areas outside of their skill set (after all, one person can't know everything), if they get stuck on complex issues or need additional hands for project rollouts, or if they need specialized expertise in areas like the rapidly shifting cyber security requirements and technologies.
Supplemental services aim at easing your in-house team's burden of handling everything IT-related.
When it's working like a true partnership, your in-house IT staff will see your outsourced IT provider as an extension of their team, working toward the same goals and not in competition with each other.
How Can a Managed IT Services Provider Benefit My Business?
If you want to leverage technology to be a leader in your industry, an MSP will support your goals when they:
- Reduce IT costs with long-term planning and budgeting.
- Centralize your business's applications and servers, speeding up data accessibility regardless of location.
- Keep your systems up to date for security and efficiency.
- Boost your productivity with minimal downtime through their proactive approach to dealing with potential issues.
- Enable efficiency and security through professional IT services management and compliance.
All these advantages eventually boost your bottom line.
Managed IT Services for North America
VC3 partners with businesses across the US and Canada to provide all-inclusive, partial, and augmented managed IT services. Contact us for a free IT assessment and start exploring your options.