What Are Managed IT Services and How Can They Help Your Business?
January 13, 2023
By Rahul Mahna
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at least 93% of small businesses use at least one technology platform. Of these, 86% say they wouldn't have survived recent economic challenges without it.
Information technology is indispensable for business in the modern era. It's central to every aspect of your success, including communications, strategy and day-to-day operations. Yet few businesses have the expertise and manpower to harness the full potential of technological advancements. Managed IT services offer abundant solutions for small-to-medium businesses in this regard.
Defining Managed IT Services
Technology offers numerous answers for modern business operations, but still presents challenges for business owners. Networks and other technology need ongoing maintenance, repairs and stringent security solutions to operate at maximum efficiency. Managing all these aspects is not viable with the limited resources available to small businesses. A managed services IT provider helps fill the gaps for these enterprises.
Managed services fulfill a host of important measurement, management and monitoring functions. They take the load off of in-house teams, managers and business owners by taking care of:
- Asset and device management
- End-user support
- Communications networks
- Network administration and security
- Cloud computing
- Data backup and disaster recovery
- Data center solutions
How Can Your Business Benefit from Outsourced IT?
Whether you're a seasoned IT professional, business executive or fledgling business owner, you can benefit from managed IT services. Here's what you stand to gain.
Outsourcing IT might seem like yet another costly budget item until you do the math. These services offer abundant cost-savings for every kind of business.
Costs Involved in Hiring an In-House Team
Every business has a host of IT needs that increase with growth and expansion, including:
- Website development;
- Software administration;
- Helpdesk facilities;
- Data backup and recovery;
- Networking and communication;
- Hardware updates;
- and Cybersecurity.
In light of this, you need more than one IT professional to cope with the average business's needs. You'll likely also need a senior team member to keep everything on track.
Hiring, paying, and retaining IT professionals is expensive. Because this is a high-demand profession, you also face the risk of team members receiving a better offer and moving off to greener pastures.
Apart from IT team salaries, you'll also need to consider the costs of:
- Paid vacation time;
- Office space;
- Office equipment;
When you engage with managed IT services, you get a full range of expertise for a fixed monthly cost. The IT firm handles the employment and retention, meeting clients’ needs without interruption. Cost of Downtime
Computer downtime can cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue, missed deadlines and unhappy customers. It causes untold frustration for your employees, which can erode motivation and hamper productivity.
A major security breach or missing the mark on a service level agreement (“SLA”) can lead to a costly lawsuit.
User errors, system overloads and security breaches can cause your systems to go offline. A managed IT services provider can help prevent and mitigate all these occurrences before or as they happen.
If you experience a computer issue while a key IT employee is on vacation, you'll need to pay them overtime to assist with the matter or await their return. However, managed IT services are online 24/7 to assist with unplanned outages, system errors and user difficulties.
Managed Services Free Up Your IT Team
In many cases, in-house IT teams find themselves swamped with menial repairs and assisting employees with minor issues. These tasks are a waste of their valuable time.
Managed services include assistance with these basic functions. A managed IT provider can streamline your operations by upgrading equipment, automating some tasks and redesigning workflows. They also provide 24-hour helpdesk services so your employees can reach out for help at any time.
All this frees your IT team to focus on projects that help grow your business.
Outsourced Services Grow with Your Business
As your business’s needs increase, your IT teams find themselves with an ever-increasing workload. Eventually, you'll need to add to your team. This often comes at a cost that exceeds any financial benefit you may gain due to expansion.
It's difficult to predict the costs involved in upgrading your IT infrastructure and hiring key personnel. Managed service providers (“MSP”) provide predictable operating expenses thanks to fixed monthly rates.
Most IT providers offer scalable packages that allow you to use only the services you need, as you need them. In this way, you get the additional manpower you need at a fraction of the cost to hire extra in-house team members.
When you work with a nationwide IT provider, there are no limits to your expansion plans. These MSPs offer remote services that allow them to monitor your networks and assist you wherever your base your new outlets.
This is by far the most cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of increasing your IT infrastructure to support business growth.
Information technology is a diverse field with many areas of specialization. These include:
- Application development;
- Software engineering;
- Website design and development;
- Database administration;
- IT support services;
- IT project management; and
- Information security analysis.
You can't hire one person to fulfill all these duties. Unless you're an IT expert, it's difficult to know which certifications and expertise are necessary when interviewing candidates for any vacancies in your IT department.
Working with an outsourced MSP removes all these unknowns from the hiring process. You can rest assured that each of their employees is a good match for your needs, with the necessary qualifications and experience.
IT providers share the costs of their employees among all their clients. Thanks to this, they can afford to hire the best candidates for the job and also employ a greater variety of experts.
With an MSP, you don't need to hire new employees or train your existing ones when you undertake a special project or install new technology. Your managed IT service is bound to have the skills you need on board already.
You can use their services for as long as you need and move on to your next project without the ongoing costs associated with a new hire.
Small businesses often find themselves limited by a break-fix approach to IT, calling an IT expert when problems occur. Calling in IT on an as-needed basis may be budget-friendly in the short term, but businesses should consider the long-term financial effects. As previously stated, unexpected costs, coupled with costly downtime, can have a significant impact on your productivity and your customer service.
By utilizing managed IT services, your business is able to take a proactive approach at the outset. An MSP will audit and review your existing systems and offer suggestions for improvement.
They can upgrade your systems, keeping future expansion in mind and then monitor everything to prevent failure. This means less downtime and enhanced productivity for all your teams.
By building the anticipated cost of hardware breakdowns, repairs and maintenance into your monthly fees, you don't face unexpected costs when these issues arise.
The most important benefits of managed IT services are stringent security measures. These proactive defense measures protect your business and your customers from the growing risks associated with cybercrime.
The Latest Technology
In many cases, business owners aren't aware of the latest cost-effective technologies available. A managed IT services provider can introduce you to these innovations and orchestrate a seamless upgrade for your systems.
Their expertise ensures you don't need to worry about investing in a system that doesn't work out for your business.
Once implemented, they'll see to it that these new technologies stay updated behind the scenes. You don't need to waste hours waiting for updates to run.
Managed services partner with you and serve as a single point of contact between your in-house team and technology vendors. You benefit from their well-established relationships with these businesses.
Managed IT services employ remote monitoring technology to scan your systems constantly. They use real-time alerts to warn of any glitches or security threats.
In this way, they can take immediate action to remedy these issues before they disrupt your business productivity or infiltrate your cybersecurity defenses.
Network issues easily occur after hours without constant monitoring. If your systems go down when there's no one around, it can take hours before anyone discovers the problem.
Non-stop security monitoring ensures your system stays safe from prying eyes, ransomware and viruses, preventing catastrophic data breaches and downtime.
Comprehensive Auditing and Compliance
Every company's data is subject to many regulations meant to safeguard sensitive information.
Managed IT services professionals are equipped to implement the latest standards of compliance applicable to your business. They'll also implement measures to ensure your teams are well-equipped to comply with these regulations to the letter.
The following legislation is most applicable to businesses:
- PCI DSS - Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard; and
- HIPAA - Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
Any deviation from compliance regulations can result in hefty fines, not to mention reputational damage and the resulting business losses.
Managed IT services providers implement widespread IT governance solutions comprising established objectives, performance targets and policies for employees, stakeholders, and third parties.
Without these measures, it's impossible to manage the risks associated with implementing technology and stay compliant.
Managed services providers see to all the complexities of researching, implementing, and enforcing data security regulations. They provide regular reports to prove your business compliance and ensure you achieve exemplary business audits.
Managed IT Reduces Your Business Risks
According to the Computing Technology Industry Association, the United States is the most highly targeted country for cyberattacks.
At the outset, a managed IT service will look into your security measures, identify vulnerabilities, and eliminate them right away.
After that, they provide consistent professional protection from cybercrime, malware and viruses. An MSP enhances your business network and online security in the following ways:
Up-to-Date Security Standards
Due to rapid advances in cybercrime, no business can afford a set-it-and-forget approach to its security. An MSP will protect you from data loss, hacking and other hazards by consistently updating your defenses to meet current threat levels.
Cyberattack Prevention and Rapid Response
Having the latest protections in place ensures non-stop monitoring of your networks and consistent vigilance against threats. If a security incident threatens, your MSP can quickly assess the situation and mitigate the damage.
By ensuring you comply with PCI requirements, your MSP helps you avoid risks related to information breaches regarding sensitive information.
In this way, they safeguard your business from regulatory shortfalls and keep your customers' sensitive information safe.
IT Solutions for All Businesses
Implementing and operating all the above is impossible or expensive without managed IT services.
When you hire a team of experts to bring your business up-to-date and keep it safe from modern-day threats, you're freeing yourself and your in-house teams to focus on doing what you do best.
Outsourced IT professionals will take care of all your security and software needs in the background and can also augment your IT department's functions when necessary.
In short, managed IT makes sense for businesses of all sizes in today's competitive environment.