Few businesses can keep IT fully in-house. Most do not have the skills to handle the day-to-day management of a modern cloud-based infrastructure. Even multi-national corporations will outsource those projects that their internal team can’t manage with their available bandwidth. Managed IT services providers exist to bridge the gap between the technological skills you have in-house and the expertise and support you need to run a successful business.
Like any third-party partner, whom you choose matters. Use this FAQ as a guide to understand what managed services providers do, set criteria for evaluating potential partners and clear up any confusion about what you can expect when you outsource your IT.
What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services are a way for businesses to outsource some, or all, of their IT responsibilities. Some companies use a managed services provider to augment their internal IT team. Others rely entirely on the third party for everything from cybersecurity to managing Microsoft Teams.
What’s Included in Managed IT Services?
Every managed services provider will tailor the services they offer to their areas of expertise and solutions. At Nortec, many clients work with us to fully manage their IT. Other clients ask us to:
- Design, implement and manage the cloud
- Build sustainable remote-work solutions
- Establish a modern workplace using Microsoft 365
- Leverage Microsoft solutions
- Improve collaboration through Managed Teams
- Secure their environments
- Provide comprehensive data center services
6 Key Benefits of Managed IT Services
- Economies of scale
A full-time IT department is an expense few companies can manage. Instead, they end up with an in-house IT team that are:
- Often overqualified (and overpaid) for basic troubleshooting
- Generalists, meaning they are out of their depth with specific aspects of IT, like cloud migrations and cybersecurity
- Unable to balance daily tasks with long-term strategic initiatives
Unless your company is a larger corporation and you’ve prioritized staffing your IT department, you likely don’t have the full support you need. As a result, gaps emerge. With managed IT services providers, you get a team of experts for a fraction of the cost of internal IT.
- Expert IT advice and partnerships save you money
Software licensing is complex and costly to get wrong. Managed IT providers with strong vendor partnerships, such as a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner, know the ins and outs of different agreements. Your provider will help you select the right licensing for your users.
- Squeeze the most out of your technology
A strong managed IT partner will work with you to design, implement and manage solutions. Through training and support, they’ll show you how to take full advantage of features that often go ignored or unused. By leveraging their expertise, your team becomes more productive and your infrastructure becomes more secure.
- Faster resolution of IT problems
When an employee working from home can’t access documents or your server starts malfunctioning, you want someone deeply familiar with the specific technologies involved to jump in and quickly resolve the issue. If you have an IT generalist, they’ll have a basic understanding of what to do. They may be able to solve the problem, but it will take longer than it should.
The extra time it takes to solve the issue results in lost productivity and missed opportunities. If Jenna in sales could have completed the proposal and delivered it to a prospective client before the day ended, you could have won a new account.
- Cybersecurity expertise
Remote work opened the door to novel cyberattacks. Criminals preyed on uncertainty and distracted employees and wreaked havoc on unsuspecting companies.
Once inside your network, hackers can steal all your data and destroy your company.
Outsourcing IT to a provider with cyber experts on staff, that offers cybersecurity as part of your managed IT services, mitigates this threat. Look for a Certified Ethical Hacker and cybersecurity-specific certifications. Your IT partner should deploy a suite to protect your organization, like identity and access management or the defensive tools available in Azure.
- Proactive support prevents problems
When someone actively manages your technology, you experience fewer issues. Your day isn’t interrupted by minor inconveniences, like a computer that won’t connect to a printer. The risk that you’ll experience a cyberattack can decrease too, if your provider continually monitors your systems.
Why Choose Managed IT Services?
You shouldn’t take on extra IT responsibilities or muddle through with less support than you need. With managed IT services, you and your team access the solutions and support modern businesses need.
When you work with a managed IT services provider you:
- Aren’t left wondering when (or if) your systems will be back
- Won’t be forced to solve the problem on your own
- Will experience fewer issues
- Will spend less time thinking about IT
A reliable partner in turbulent times
2020 was a year of upheaval. Businesses with managed IT partners had someone to assist them in their rapid transition to remote work. Setting up work-from-home was one less concern for the leadership team that was able to focus on how they’d pivot their business and what support their staff needed.
How Do I Pick a Managed IT Services Provider?
Select your provider based on the services they offer and qualities they possess. To get the right services, consider:
- All aspects of your business
- The software and hardware you use
- Where you most need IT support
Consultations with prospective providers will help you identify areas where you need assistance. The sessions will give you a chance to ask questions about the people who will work on your account, their credentials and what level of support you can expect.
Plan for the present and the future
You want a responsive partner who will take the time to listen to your goals and help you pair IT solutions with actual objectives. Look for a provider capable of addressing your immediate and future business needs. You don’t want to be in a position where you quickly outgrow your provider and are forced to restart the search. Today, you may be focused on getting help desk support, but down the road, you may want assistance at a more strategic level through virtual CIO services.
How Much Should Managed IT Services Cost?
What you pay for IT services depends on the following factors:
- Services you outsource
- Type of support you’re looking for
- Experience of the team
- Solutions you want the provider to implement and manage
It’s a multi-point calculation. Online tools, like this cloud cost calculator, are a good starting point but not as accurate as a quote from a provider. Talking to providers is the only way you’ll get a full picture of what they charge and how you’ll use their solutions.
Outsourced IT is less expensive and a better value than in-house
Compare the different providers to each other and what you’d pay for the same level of service and expertise from an internal team. When calculating costs to keep IT in-house, don’t forget to factor in overhead, paid time off and benefits for each additional employee you’d need to reach parity with an outsourced solution. The breadth and depth of a third-party team is always less expensive.
Tip: Control costs by scaling resources
Managed IT services scale with your business. You can add capacity as you grow and shrink if you downsize.
We’re Here to Make IT Work for Your Business
At Nortec, we eliminate IT friction for our clients through flexible solutions and reliable support. When you work with us, we’ll secure your technology, help you develop a winning strategy and provide a straightforward working environment for your team. Call us to get started.