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Managed IT Services, are services provided by managed service providers (MSP). These companies that act as an extension of your own IT department. In some cases, they manage all of the IT services to maintain company continuity and provide support for staff and clients. In other cases, the provider might offer a specific service.

Companies of all sizes partner with MSPs to augment their internal IT departments. A managed service provider might specialize in certain aspects of technology, such as IT infrastructure management or Help Desk Services. Managed security service providers (MSSPs) offer services that specialize in security, including monitoring of your network and backup services and SOC 2 compliance.

In this blog post, we'll discuss what a managed IT service is, what types of services they offer, how to choose the best MSP for your business, and how the process works.

What is an IT Managed Service?

MSPs provide expert support in a wide variety of technology disciplines. For companies of any size, this offers excellent cost savings and benefits. Internal staff and resources can be reallocated to projects that drive innovation and propel company growth. The IT managed service can tackle the backlog of Business as Usual tasks or be added to specific projects where key expertise is required.

So, what is managed IT services? Managed IT services refer to the practice of outsourcing various IT-related tasks and responsibilities to a third-party provider. These services can include network monitoring, cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, software updates, and technical support, among others. By leveraging managed IT services, businesses can access specialized expertise, reduce operational costs, and ensure the smooth and efficient functioning of their IT infrastructure. Many managed IT services offer different plans so that companies can choose the best options for their needs. The service provider can act as an extension of the in-house team, work on specific technology or projects on an ongoing basis, or work on a project-by-project basis. They consult on best practices, manage hardware, software, and infrastructure, and provide expertise to enhance the internal IT Department on a temporary or ongoing basis.

Some service providers specialize in certain industries or in specific technological disciplines. Outsourcing to a trusted provider is advantageous because it allows the company access to scalable solutions and a flexible talent pool. It's difficult to maintain an in-house IT Department with personnel that have such a wide range of expertise. This is a combination of finding specialist skills as technology gets more and more complex and maintaining that range within your department. It’s not possible for a few employees to have all of the skills available and stay up to date. To find and maintain that talent pool would be extremely expensive for an internal IT team.

What does an IT Managed Service provider do?

There are many technology services an IT service can specialize in. Some of these services include:

IT Consulting
Managing infrastructure
Network managed services
Providing help desk and IT support for staff
Providing IT Support for clients or customers
Procuring hardware and software
Designing architecture
Database administration
Developing applications
Educating staff on best practices
Providing cybersecurity services 

That is not a comprehensive list. Many managed IT services help businesses with any technology need they may have. This includes migrating to cloud computing and updating legacy equipment. MSPs often specialize in regulatory compliance in set industries, as well.

Managed service providers often work remotely, or you can find hybrid options so that you can have experts come to your physical location. Companies can partner with MSPs to augment their internal IT department with specific skills and to manage set processes in an ongoing capacity. This solution increases productivity and efficiency for in-house staff by streamlining their workflows. It can also dramatically improve uptime and decrease overhead.

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What services are most commonly used?

There are a wide variety of services you might task to a managed service provider. Your company should choose services based on an assessment of your current processes and identification of weak spots, as well as areas where ROI would benefit your business.

Some services that are popular among businesses include:

• Cloud Migration and Cloud Managed Services. Many older companies partner with MSPs to move data and functionality from legacy systems to cloud computing for real-time access to data and a more agile workflow.

• Managed IT Support. Help Desk services provide support for staff around the clock and can often save employee time and frustration, for greater productivity. This also frees internal staff to concentrate on higher priority projects.

• Cybersecurity and Data Backup. Cybersecurity can include monitoring, installing antivirus and protection software, training staff, and monitoring networks.

• Managed Networks and Infrastructure. Managed network and infrastructure services provide a secure environment for companies. This often saves resources and physical space with servers and equipment located outside of the physical office.

• Regulatory Compliance. With more stringent compliant requirements in technology and specific industries, many MSPs specialize in keeping companies up to date and providing services that meet regulatory needs.

Advantages of Managed IT Services

Managed services provide a number of advantages for businesses, including access to a large supply of expertise. It's important to consider the goals that you have when outsourcing.

If your goal is to improve a specific process or specific business challenge, you might work with an MSP that specializes in that service or offers a broader set of capabilities to achieve more transformational business objectives. If your goals may expand, partnering with a full-service provider that can offer excellent support in a variety of specialities is a good option.

Benefit #1: Cost savings

One of the biggest benefits is cost savings. This is why you need Managed IT services: This is why you need managed IT services: these services are much lower in cost than retaining the number of full-time staff members it would require completing the same projects efficiently.

The cost savings in payroll is only part of the story. With a decrease in downtime and better support for staff, customer service and satisfaction increase, which results in higher profits.

Benefit #2: Increased productivity

Working with an MSP means that the tasks the service provider manages will no longer be tasked to internal staff. Companies find that freeing the internal IT department from mundane tasks, like password retrieval and day-to-day help desk tasks, increases efficiency and productivity. Because the in-house staff can concentrate on high-priority projects, they are able to launch new innovations faster and more successfully.

Benefit #3: Improved business continuity

With proactive services, your company can decrease downtime. If there is an issue, such as in a disaster recovery case, your MSP can get you back up faster. Downtime is costly for companies. It can damage your reputation with customers and cost a great deal in lost business during the lapse.

Benefit #4: Specific expertise

An MSP can provide the right expertise for the specific field of technology. This means that you'll have access to an experienced programmer when the project requires it, or some who is highly knowledgeable about infrastructure in those scenarios. All technology experts do not have the same knowledge base. This gives your company versatility in the types of projects you and processes you can launch and maintain effectively.

Disadvantages of Managed IT Services

While MSPs provide excellent benefits, there are some disadvantages that you should be aware of before outsourcing. This can help you make the right choices in your investment in services and providers.

Disadvantage #1: Culture fit

The staff at your MSP might work as an extension of your IT department or you might partner with their staff for specific projects. The MSP experts may not have a high degree of knowledge about your company or industry. They may also not be an exact culture fit for your team.

Disadvantage #2: Decreased internal knowledge

If you're outsourcing an entire process to an MSP, you may find that you have no one on staff who understands the process on an intricate level. It's always a good idea to have someone on staff who maintains some oversight and understands the process from front to back, even if they're not managing the process on a daily basis.

What type of industries are suited for Managed IT Services?

MSPs are suited for all types of industries. They provide excellent extended staff for larger companies and often provide full-service support for businesses that don't have a large IT department. Some MSPs specialize in certain types of software or industries and many work extensively with cybersecurity and infrastructure.

How to choose a Managed IT Service provider

Choosing a managed IT service provider is a process that's unique to each company. You'll want to research prospective MSPs based on their skill set and reputation. Often, hiring the right MSP will be a bit like hiring an in-house employee. You want a company that has services that match your needs. They should provide the level of customer care and expertise that will help your company hit its goals.

If you're looking for MSPs to create a backup and disaster recovery plan, then you'll look at companies that specialize in those fields. You may even narrow it down to MSPs that work extensively in your industry. You may need 24/7 support, or you may want to work with an MSP that can come to your location. Many MSPs work remotely, using a hybrid model may be costly and narrow down your options.

Is my business a good fit for an IT Managed Service provider?

An MSP can benefit most businesses, and it’s important to recognize trying to manage all facets of IT inhouse can be a drain on your internal resources.

If your IT department is overwhelmed with tasks to the point that they can't move forward on innovative projects, it's a good sign that it's time to outsource some of their tasks. You should also hire an outside company to assess your infrastructure and process so that you can verify where your vulnerabilities are through an unbiased source. If there are cybersecurity issues that you can't address in-house, hiring an experienced MSP is a top priority. Data breaches can be costly, and downtime can be crippling.

The best question to ask is: What are my goals? If your company goals can be reached with the staff you have in-house, then you may not need an MSP currently. But if you realize that the lack of support is costing your company in scalability and growth potential, it's a good sign it's time to find an MSP to partner with. Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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