Technology has made life easy for businesses. Information and computer technology have improved efficiency, productivity and profitability while reducing the demand on human resources. In the long run, it definitely saves your business a good amount of money. When you want to keep up with the changing times and make the best use of the latest developments, you cannot do without upgrading the IT infrastructure of your business.
However, like they say, every rose has a few thorns. The thorns in IT are the demand for perfect operations, monitoring, maintenance and support. Unfortunately, as a business becomes increasingly reliant on IT, the demand for resources required to manage your IT infrastructure also increases.
For small businesses that face a resource crunch, it becomes difficult to support a complex system. Any slack in operating, monitoring, maintaining and supporting the IT infrastructure perfectly can pose security threats. You need backups, regular software and security updates and patches to ensure that your business does not suffer from IT outages or other major problems. Even in cases of a problem, you need an expert team that can quickly troubleshoot the issue before it becomes uncontrollable.
A great way to avoid all these technical hassles and challenges is to outsource. With efficient managed IT service providers around, you reap the benefits of IT while still being in control of your IT assets. Managed services offer a wide range of services that keep your IT related expenses under control while ensuring that you enjoy the benefits.
What exactly is managed IT?
Opting for managed IT services is like having the cake and eating it too. Yes, you have to pay for the cake, but it is definitely worth it since the benefits clearly outweigh the expenses. You get the best of both the worlds – a responsible provider to take care of your IT needs and complete control over your IT operations.
However, a lot of business owners confuse managed IT services with outsourced IT services. In traditional outsourcing, you usually do not have control over the functioning of your IT assets. In other words, the service provider takes control of the services provided.
With managed IT, you retain complete control. You can decide what services you want the provider to take care of. You can choose the aspects you want the provider to manage. Despite hiring a company to handle your IT function, you can retain full control over the management of your systems.
Should you opt for managed IT service?
Well, the choice ultimately depends on the requirements of your business. Nevertheless, in the present day context where IT demands are changing and evolving continuously, partnering with an expert who knows the tricks of the trade is going to be very beneficial. An entire team of skilled technicians is at work monitoring, maintaining and overseeing your IT infrastructure.
Besides, the IT needs today have become uncertain. With new software and packages being released every few months, you might be confused about making the right kind of upgrades to your existing infrastructure. Managed IT service providers can analyze your requirements, compare them with the features of new products and suggest the best solution for you. So, hiring a managed service provider is worth it, for more than one reason.
What is the scope of managed IT services?
Managed IT services offer end to end monitoring, maintenance and support services. The managed IT service provider works like an extension of your company. In fact, you can hand over the entire responsibility of running your IT infrastructure to the provider and focus on the core aspects of your business.
You can summarize the function of managed IT services into three main aspects:
- Receiving alerts about anything and everything that poses a risk to your IT infrastructure and network
- Addressing the alert and taking damage control measures to tackle the risk
- Providing round-the-clock support for your operations
Additionally, managed IT service providers offer backup and data recovery. The main objective of managed IT is to ensure that the computers and networks in your business work seamlessly and smoothly. Managed IT service providers also offer SaaS based services that give you complete control over the operations.
In today’s volatile business environment, you never know when disaster can strike. What’s more, you do not know the form in which the disaster will strike. It could be a virus attack, a hacking attempt or data loss due to hardware crash. Irrespective of the cause of disaster, it is important to recover data on time and prevent massive damages.
There are two things involved here – first, you need to have backup and second, you need to have a plan for recovery when disaster strikes. With managed services, you get both data backup and data recovery services.
File sharing management
File sharing is the practice of providing access to your data and digital media such that multiple users can access and work on them simultaneously. One simple example of file sharing is Google Drive. Another use of file sharing is to allocate space for personal file storage to different users in a common file system. You can have control over the level of access that you provide to each user.
Your business stands to gain by using the file sharing system. What kind of benefits can you expect? For one, you can encourage effortless collaborative work between your employees and between your employees and clients. There are file syncing and sharing systems that specifically address the needs of small and medium businesses.
Your managed IT service provider can offer high quality secure file sharing platform. It is very important to ensure business grade security since sharing takes place on the network. Reliable file sharing systems also ensure end user simplicity. Moreover, you pay as you go. So, it is easy on your pocket as well.
Patch management and software updates
Software needs to be updated for two purposes. Firstly, newer versions usually have better features. Also, they are designed to cover up the loopholes or vulnerabilities of the older versions. Secondly, newer versions are more secure since they are resistant to many existing viruses and other malware.
Managed IT services include patch management and software update service. A patch, as the name indicates, is not the whole software but a piece of it meant to fix a specific issue and improve the software’s performance. Although patches are meant to improve the usability of the software, inefficiently designed and installed patches can give rise to new problems called software regressions.
In order to avoid such issues you can choose patch management services offered by managed IT services. Patch management includes creating a strategy about what patches need to be used on which system in order to enhance its performance. It also includes removing patches or components that you are no longer licensed to use and replacing it with a new one. A lot of expertise goes into handling the different aspects associated with patch management.
Software updates refer to installing the latest versions of software released periodically by developers. These are not just pieces but the entire package. Managed IT services take up the responsibility of updating the software installed in your IT infrastructure as well.
Management of online assets
These days, digital assets are as important and crucial for business success as physical assets. In fact, if you run an online business, most of your assets are likely to be digital. In such a situation, you need an expert to manage your assets, monitor their performance and ensure that they deliver the best ROI.
But what exactly are digital assets? Digital assets can be websites, blogs, online stores, social networks, mobile platforms and digital media such as photos, software and content. Each one of these assets requires special attention. For instance, websites and blogs need to be updated regularly. You also need to renew your domain names, ensure website security and troubleshoot any issues. Furthermore, it is important to copyright your content, including text, videos and pictures, to protect from copyright infringement. These are your essential investments and need to be safeguarded efficiently.
Just like you might want to appoint an estate manager to oversee your physical assets, a manager for your online assets is also important. Managed IT services can be your best solution. The efficient team of experts available with managed IT services will expertly manage your digital assets.
Online security threats are becoming more and more serious in the present day. New viruses and malware are being released into the virtual world everyday in different forms. You need a constant tracker to keep an eye on these malware and protect your systems against them.
In addition to installing robust security systems, managed services also update your systems regularly for complete protection. Most of these security software programs are provided as a service, which saves you money as well.
Benefits of managed IT services
For startups, managed IT services are one of the best ways to cut costs without compromising on the functionality. Since the services are handled by a group of experts who are dedicated to managing your IT requirements, you can expect increased operational efficiency. Downtimes can also be minimized.
Furthermore, since you pay as you go, the operating costs are also low. With a managed service taking care of your needs, you don’t need an in-house team to handle these crucial operations. You also save upfront money required for set up, hiring and training resources. You can reap the benefits of enterprise level support without incurring high costs.
Consider the intangible benefits that you will receive from managed IT services. Peace of mind is perhaps the best offshoot of handing over the responsibility to an expert. You are free to focus on doing what you do best – your core business operations. IT operation is a full time job and unless you have a reliable expert handling it, you cannot take your attention off it. Managed services offer 24x7x365 IT monitoring and support. So, you can even take off on vacations knowing that the IT of your business is in good hands.
Help desk and support
If you or one of your employees requires technical support, all you need to do is call your managed service provider. These services specialize in remote handling and remote troubleshooting. You get reliable support 24x7x365.
In addition to these services, managed IT providers also offer virtual desktop management, network operations and remote IT project management among others. Remote IT project management is much sought after service by small and medium businesses. Under this service, the managed IT providers make it easy for you to handle individual projects by sharing some of the crucial tasks such as status updates, software installation, antivirus scans, migrations, network operations and others.
How do you choose?
The requirements of every business are different. As a business owner, you are the best judge about the kind of services you require. So, begin by analyzing the requirements of your business.
Managed IT services have made life easy for small and medium businesses. By leveraging the benefits of these business, you can make the most of technology, enhance the quality of customer support and watch your business grow.
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