Quick: When was the last time you had an IT system failure?
If you didn't hesitate to answer that question, chances are you've experienced a few too many downtimes with your network. But, wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to worry about your network downtime or day-to-day IT operations?
But, what about tech support? Or, data and security? Good questions.
You can get it all with managed services. Now, you may be asking yourself, "what is managed services?" and that's why I'm here to help. It's important for business owners to understand the answer in the context of their organization. As a Managed Service Provider, TVG Consulting coordinates IT operations for our clients across a range of environments.
In this post, I'll share my expertise on how managed services help to maintain complex server networks on different continents with many applications while overseeing them to reduce overhead and increase efficiency.
Let’s jump right in…
A Quick-and-Simple Overview of Managed Services
What is Managed Services, and how can they help my business?
Managed Services is the outsourcing of your IT operations. Managed Services monitors and manage your day-to-day IT tasks from in-house servers and hardware to cloud storage and so much more.
Managed Services can help your business with the following:
- Ongoing monitoring. Managed Service Providers assume ongoing responsibility for monitoring, managing, and troubleshooting the selected IT systems. For example, MSP's set up computing networks to provide alerts and technicians handle tasks related to security, patch management, data backup and recovery for all devices, and more. This ongoing monitoring can help increase your bottom line and employee productivity.
- Manage difference devices. Whether employees use desktops, notebooks, or tablets, managed service providers monitor them, as well as all the offloaded servers, storage systems, networks, and applications. Through the offloading process, your essential personnel focus on core business operations and count on fewer interruptions due to IT issues.
- Streamline different business services. From healthcare to retail, MSPs help a diverse business organization eliminate duplicate IT systems across their operations. For example, multiple business units within a large corporation could optimize more activities through centralization of applications (i.e. payroll management, HR, systems operations, compliance, and network monitoring). One study found that 77 percent of MSPs provided backup and disaster recovery, 76 percent provided remote monitoring and management, and 57 percent managed network security. MPs provide administration of payment processing and hosted/cloud video surveillance.
Managed Services Costs
How much do Managed Services cost, and is there an agreement?
You might be wondering how much managed services cost.
That's a tricky question. And, the short answer is clients typically pay a flat monthly or annual subscription to the provider. Managed Services vary in cost, but, ideally, Managed Service Providers want organizations to sign up for as many services as possible. One study indicated that U.S. MSPs charge clients $65 per desktop, which includes routine IT support and maintenance.
When you find a company to partner with, you will enter a service-level agreement (SLA), which outlines the roles and responsibilities of both companies. This document includes performance benchmarks, server availability, and uptime. An MSP may offer customizations to the subscription, but you should only pay for services needed. You might wish to offload HR and payroll while having your IT teams handle network monitoring and other technical activities. Your chief technology officer must communicate efficiently with the MSP provider to ensure continuity across the entire data infrastructure.
Managed Services & the Cloud
How do Managed Services integrate with the cloud?
The MSP emerged to give companies a hosted infrastructure and applications, and to give servers a POP onto the Internet. As software as a service (SaaS) and the public cloud became more affordable for companies, I saw that this enabled them to consider using these options for running all enterprise solutions. At first, MSPs seemed overwhelmed by competition, but the truth is that enterprise solutions may not switch in a binary fashion. As a result, many enterprise solutions within large companies must continue to operate, and they won't easily integrate into the cloud.
Managed Services help client companies with cloud concerns like these:
- Addressing potential compliance issues. When companies move to the cloud, they must ensure that their computing systems meet government regulations (i.e. for ensuring consumer data privacy).
- Managing business processes in the cloud. MSPs shifted from being "your mess for less" solution to basing all of a client's business processes in the cloud. In this model, a company can rent back enterprise resource planning (ERP) services while having an MSP manage them for less. When all of the core enterprise applications exist in the cloud, your company can control monthly costs and estimate the impact of proposed changes to any business process.
The Benefits of Managed Services
7 Benefits of Managed Services
There are many benefits to working with an MSP, which helps you to optimize core business processes.
Here are some benefits that your company gets when purchased Managed Services:
- Relinquish control of some business operations. MSPs handle repetitive tasks associated with monitoring, updating, servicing, and upgrading all core business servers.
- Focus on more business-related duties. You will need fewer people on your direct payroll, but your core team will handle the activities that drive business growth. You do not pay for IT personnel's benefits. MSPs handle their labor costs as part of the MSP agreement.
- Help the MSP to cut costs as well. 46% of subscribers to managed IT services reduced their tech costs by 25% or more whereas 50% have reduced IT costs by between 1 and 24 percent.
- Manage the compliance function through the third party arrangement. Count on an MSP to maintain knowledge of current federal and state regulations and PCI compliance standards. This reduces the likelihood that your organization will pay big fines for non-compliance.
Try an MSP agreement on a scale that benefits your current business model. You could outsource some enterprise resources and see how the business relationship reduces your overhead. Outsourcing your IT infrastructure to a Managed Service Provider is a huge deal, and I think I've barely scratched the surface. If you have any questions, please share your thoughts with me below!
At TVG Consulting, our dedicated IT management team is ready to use their proven experience to help you eliminate downtime and bring fast scalability. For more information, download our Guide to Managed IT Services.