The proliferation of companies digitally transforming their operations and processes has led to the rise of managed IT services. Two-thirds of organizations and enterprises are now believed to be collaborating and partnering with various managed service providers that administer their IT infrastructure. This has now become a custom in the information technology domain.
In this article, we will be tackling managed IT services, where they all started, their importance and benefits, and the things to keep in mind when availing these services.
Managed IT Services Definition
What are managed IT services? In simple terms, these services are IT tasks that are performed by third-party providers and availed by a customer. These third-party contractors are also called managed service providers and assume the responsibility of handling an organization’s IT infrastructure and perform round-the-clock monitoring, managing the entirety or portions of an organization’s IT systems.
The partnership of the managed service provider and the customer is agreed upon the Service Level Agreement (SLA). SLA is a contract that documents the level of service the provider offers and the aspects of the service, such as the responsibilities, availability, quality, and cost.
Brief History of Managed IT Services
The advent of managed IT services started with the rise of information technology and computers. Managed IT services became popular after the fall of the break/fix model in the ’90s. This model is a fee-based method of delivering IT support to companies. This typically relies on the customer contacting the IT company only when upgrades and solutions are necessary. Break/fix means “if something is broken, that something is fixed.”
While the break/fix model became a rampant approach for offering IT help, many organizations have already transitioned to managed IT services approach. This is because of the influx of new devices and computers by the end of the ‘90s. These new computers are more user-friendly yet more complicated and required more money and time to fix. This time, the break/fix model became impractical and fell in popularity. Round-the-clock monitoring of the IT systems dominated the fee-based method. Today, IT support is 24/7 through managed service providers and not just when there is a repair to be done.
Types of Managed IT Services
What are managed security services? There are different types, and these are some of them:
- Monitoring of system and network. For an organization, system monitoring can take much time and can be tedious. Managed service providers can get this done for the organization so that other valuable business-related tasks can be attended to.
- Design and upgrades of the system. A managed service provider should understand an organization’s goals and objectives. As part of it, they need to keep up with emerging trends to ensure that an organization remains up-to-date. Managed service providers may set up cloud and provide virtualization fixes, and mobile or wireless networking.
- Management of security. An organization can be protected from threats and risks through managed IT services. Managed service providers can perform critical solutions to breaches, such as monitoring application compatibility, software maintenance, and patching, among other cybersecurity measures.
- Disaster recovery and backup. One of the roles of managed service providers is to provide secure backups and recoverability of data. This is to maintain the safety and integrity of an organization’s vital information.
- Support, software as a service (SaaS), and communications. Some managed service providers offer all-day and all-night (24/7) support that can be done via a help desk or remotely. Others provide software applications support that their own servers host.
- Compliance and auditing. Through careful and thorough evaluation, managed service providers can help organizations eliminate their compliance burden. It is essential that these providers are ready to deliver support and guidance around compliance when it comes to cloud computing, network vulnerabilities, and logging practices, among other industry-specific policies.
- Reporting and analytics. In the form of data analytics, managed service providers provide reports on a regular basis. This report contains an evaluation of the performance of an organization’s network and other key performance indicators or KPIs. This report also includes suggestions and recommendations for system improvement.
Reasons to Use Managed Services
As mentioned above, organizations are already drawn to managed IT services. However, why are they using this model instead of the break/fix approach? Below are several reasons organizations employ managed IT services:
- Protection and security of data
If an organization works with clients and other organizations, it is essential that they can trust the organization with their data. They will have no worries about doing business with an organization if it has a safe and secure IT system with the support of managed service providers. Moreover, by availing of managed IT services, an organization can have peace of mind because it is confident that the IT system complies with specific standards and regulations in securing data.
- Round-the-clock monitoring
Unlike the break/fix model where IT support is only given when there are issues to be solved, managed IT services come with 24/7 IT monitoring and consultation to ensure that systems are working well all the time. Sometimes an organization won’t even notice that there are bugs to be fixed. This means that even small problems are fixed before an organization knows it.
- Uptime is maximized
Uptime refers to the time during which a device or a computer is operational and working. Employing managed IT services from service providers will keep an organization’s IT systems up and running 24/7. During downtime, a time when a computer network is not running, untold harm to your system might happen during emergencies. Managed service providers offer an organization a business disaster recovery plan in case of these scenarios.
- Latest technology trends are accessible
An organization will remain up-to-date with the latest technology in the IT domain if they outsource IT support to managed service providers. This means that an organization stays working and operating with cutting edge tech.
The reason why organizations employ and outsource managed IT services is that it is more practical and cost-effective than appointing a permanent member of an organization. For small to medium-sized businesses, resources and issues when it comes to IT can be overwhelming to manage. If these businesses desire to grow, it is recommended that they choose managed IT services to provide them with the IT support so that they can focus on other work-related matters.
Managed IT Services Disadvantages
Although there are many benefits an organization can get from outsourcing a managed service provider, there are still situations that pose risks.
Control issues are one of the top concerns of employing outside IT team. There is a fear of losing control, and it is a valid reason because the absence of a physical IT team poses problems with transparency, accountability, and communication.
Another issue to consider is the communication between the managed service provider and the availing organization. Communication can be difficult when an activity is performed off-site than when it is taken on-site.
Cultural differences can also cause problems. An organization’s business operation is based on the work culture it has established. If an outsourced managed service provider does not fit an organizations’ customer care, employee work ethics, accountability, and even the work schedule, this partnership will have problems regarding values and logistics.
While it’s true that outsourcing IT service is cost-effective and financially practical, unexpected costs can also arise. Downtime can be expensive and even hurt an organization’s reputation. For example, if an organization’s website is down, it may cause loss of customers and more cost for fixes and repair.
When to Outsource Managed Services
We have defined and explained what managed It services are, it’s time to discuss the signs an organization should choose these services. When is it time to outsource managed IT services?
- When an organization needs to focus on developing its brand. When an organization’s top IT members just get caught in smaller IT tasks, it’s time to outsource. Your talented in-house staff will be of good help in focusing more on major tasks like building up development and research of an organization’s core product.
- When there is too much work to do. If running an organization’s operations and implementation of strategies are already too much to handle and overwhelming, it’s time to delegate tasks to outsourced IT team.
- When an organization wants to scale its business. If an organization needs external expertise to grow and build its business, it’s the right time to outsource. It is best to not get caught in experimenting lest an organization loses resources and money.
- When an organization’s in-house IT team’s skills are outdated. It’s time to avail of managed IT services when an organization’s It team isn’t fostering business growth and can’t keep up with the emerging trends in the information technology industry.
- When it is a commodity. If IT is a competitive advantage to an organization, it doesn’t need to be outsourced. However, if IT is deemed a commodity, an organization should outsource it. Managed service providers have more experience and expertise.
What are managed It services? These are IT tasks that are performed by a third-party contractor to support availing organizations. There are many tasks these providers do including system and network monitoring, upgrades and design, security management and reporting and data analytics, among other IT tasks.
Moreover, there are a lot of reasons why organizations outsource managed IT services. Managed service providers protect and secure data. They also monitor the system 24/7 and maximize uptime. Also, these services are cost-effective and give access to the latest tech trends.
There is a lot to think about now that we have tackled manage services. Whether an organization wants to outsource your IT team or hire internally, the most important thing to remember is to build healthy and professional relationships with IT professionals and service providers. Contact RSI Security today for your managed IT services.