What are Managed Services?

While “Managed Services” is an IT industry term, there is no consensus on the exact definition. Many Managed Service Providers, also known as MSPs, are out there. 

Although there is no simple, neat definition, here is what most people are referencing when they talk about “Managed Services”:

  • Maintaining an organization’s technology, including computers, devices, printers, wifi Access points, et cetera.
  • Most commonly, people think of the break/fix element of Managed Services. I.e., waiting for something to break and then fixing it. Many other things are going on behind the scenes; most people are not aware of this. 
  • An MSP uses various tools to monitor your computers and devices remotely. The idea is to address minor issues before they become big problems.  
  • An effective Managed Services Provider will push out updates, fixes, and patches to your network, machines, and software. These updates, fixes, and patches address bugs and vulnerabilities that have come to light. 
  • Proactive maintenance is a large part of what MSPs should provide, though it is often invisible to MSP clients.
  • Most MSPs can work remotely. This means you don’t have to wait for them to come to your office each time you need help with your computer or one of your other devices.
  • “Ticketing” systems are a standard tool that most MSPs use to track their work and performance. 

Proactive Maintenance is Key

With tools that can monitor your computer’s critical functions 24/7, Managed Service Providers aim to catch minor problems before they turn into untenable beasts. The idea is to keep your unplanned downtime and system failure as close to never as possible. This is a departure from early IT support strategies, which involved checking systems about once a month, confirming that everything was working as planned, and then, otherwise, just waiting for something to break.

Managed Services Means Predictable Expenses

When working with a Managed Service Provider, your IT expenses are more predictable. Your MSP partner will work with you, your budget, and your organization’s needs to create a plan that anticipates support and builds in proactive maintenance to keep your organization’s break/fix needs to a minimum and your uptime and performance to a maximum.

How to choose the right Managed Service Provider for your business

Are you thinking about working with an MSP, but you don’t know where to start? Here are some pointers on what to look for in a Managed Service Provider:

 

  1. They need to be able to monitor and patch all of your equipment remotely. They also need to have a systematic way of doing this (not just when they remember to do it).
  2. They should be able to provide their response time and resolution time stats. This indicates that they are keeping an eye on providing efficient service.
  3. Choose an MSP with a ticketing system in place. This establishes efficiency, accountability, and trackability.
  4. Look for a company with team members who can communicate with non-IT people effectively. 
  5. Select an MSP partner who takes security very seriously. You want a layered approach to security that includes backup and disaster recovery to ensure that all bases are covered. 
  6. Look for an MSP partner who works across multiple industries. This ensures a broad knowledge base and will, ultimately, save you money.
  7. You should like them. This one’s a no-brainer!

For more insight on questions to ask when looking for the right MSP partner, check out this recent article.

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