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Everything You Need to Know About Managed IT

By: Mark Sheldon Villanueva

In an ideal world, your network never goes down, all your devices are optimized, and you wouldn't need to spend a dime of your organization's hard-earned profits to keep them that way. In reality, however, IT costs are steep, and your network and devices require constant care to keep them running optimally. 

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Everything You Need to Know About Managed IT

In 2018, a study conducted by Markets and Markets found that many businesses spend 65% of their IT budgets just to "keep the lights on." In addition, companies managing their own IT often find that keeping up with tech issues is a never-ending struggle that can bog down their productivity. 

At ITS, we've helped hundreds of businesses thrive with technology. That’s because we believe that your technology shouldn't be working against you--it should be making work easier for you. That's what managed IT services can offer. 

What You’ll Learn

Finding an MSP for your business isn't as easy as looking up the most popular one and going with that. It's all about acknowledging your needs and finding the right fit. Read on to learn everything you need to know before getting started in choosing the right MSP for your business. 

Who is this Guide for

This guide was made for businesses that are looking for a way to streamline their IT processes and help them make the most of their technology. It's not just for company decision makers, it's also for people who are looking to learn what an MSP is and how it can help them. 

What is Managed IT Services

What is Managed Services?

Managed IT Services is the process of delegating your IT tasks to an expert third-party organization that specializes in those responsibilities. These organizations are known as Managed IT Service Providers (MSP). They can take up anything from portions to all of your IT operations as agreed upon in your Service Level Agreement (SLA). 

Introduction to Managed-IT Services

What is Managed IT Services

Types of Managed Services

MSPs offer many different types of services. Some of them specialize in or are better equipped to provide specific ones, which should factor into choosing the right service provider. 

Here are some of the most common managed services offered by MSPs:  

Managed Communications Services 

This type of service provides a broad range of options, from video calling and messaging software to email services. Some MSPs can act as a third-party call center for their clients looking to outsource this aspect of their business. 

Managed Security 

In 2020, cybercrime rose by 600% since the pandemic began. Almost half of those attacks were aimed at small businesses. Regardless of the size of your organization, it is vital now more than ever to secure your network.

With that in mind, MSPs often offer critical security services, including managed firewall, intrusion detection, a virtual private network (VPN), and antiviral services. They can also help scan your network for vulnerabilities and recommend solutions to bolster your cybersecurity efforts. 

An MSP will also be monitoring your systems to help you stay on top of potential internal or external attacks. 

Data Analytics 

Data analytics is one of the top three services small to medium businesses (SMB) seek from MSPs, and for a good reason. According to a study by MicroStrategy, 64% of the companies that utilize data analytics reported that it helped improve their efficiency and productivity. Over half of the respondents believed it allowed them to make more effective decisions faster and led to better financial performance. 

Some MSPs are equipped with the tools and services that can help you tap into the benefits of effective data analytics. 

Managed Print Services 

An MSP offering this type of service can help remotely manage your print operations by providing services to help cut down on many hidden costs. Some of these services include: 

  • Device support 
  • Device maintenance/repair 
  • Printer upgrades 

Hosted Cloud 

Cloud-based services are the perfect solution for organizations that need mobility, like those opting for remote offices. It allows your team to share files and access data anytime and anywhere. Some MSPs offer a cost-effective cloud solution that can help you access your information securely. 

Managed Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing 

Connectivity is a must in today's business landscape. Having your network managed by an MSP means less downtime, more security, and improved connection quality. Simply put, it helps your business stay connected, reducing your headaches and allowing you to focus on issues that matter most, like growing your business. 

Managed VoIP 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that lets anyone place phone calls over an internet connection. It provides a host of capabilities analog landlines can't offer and does it for less than half the cost. With features like video conferencing and mobile device integration, VoIP has become the most popular telephony solution for businesses. 

Whether you need a physical receiver or just software, an MSP can host the service and tailor it to your specific business needs. 

Read More on MSP Types

Why You Need Managed IT Services?

Your business can gain a wide range of benefits from partnering with an MSP. Take a look below at some of the most common ones you can take advantage of: 

Expertise and Experience

Proactive Monitoring and Issue Fixing

Improved Cybersecurity

Single Point of Contact

Predictable Spending and Scalability

Why Use a Managed Services Provider?

While all businesses have something to gain from managed IT, not everyone will get the same benefits. It's all about finding the right fit.  

Take a look below to learn the reasons why you should use managed IT services: 

You Need to Comply with Regulation Requirements 

Do your business operations require audits from regulatory bodies? Whether it's the government or other third-party regulators, an MSP can help you stay compliant. 

An MSP can keep you updated regarding the state of your technology to help ensure it's always in optimal shape to perform the roles you need it to. They will also let you know when your tech is due for an upgrade so you can comply with current regulations. If your technology is up-to-date, auditors take that as a reassuring sign that you take the state of your technology seriously. 

You Need to Save Money 

An MSP can offer a lot of opportunities to save money and improve revenue for your business, especially if they do their job well. These opportunities include reducing costly downtimes and helping your team focus on growing revenue instead of keeping track of your IT infrastructure. 

In a study by ReportLinker, it is estimated that successful deployment of managed services can help organizations reduce their IT cost by 25-45% and increase operational efficiency by 45-65%. That means your business not only saves more money but earns more of it too. 

You Want to Improve Your Cybersecurity 

According to a study by Accenture, almost half (43%) of all reported cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. These days, the size of your business doesn't matter. No one is safe from cyber threats. 

An MSP can help prepare you for the current threat landscape. If you want to improve your organization's cybersecurity efforts, an MSP can point out vulnerabilities in your network and provide recommendations to fix them. Also, they will ensure that your systems are up-to-date and up to current security standards by implementing patches, updating your devices and software, and much more. 

You Need 24/7 Support 

Not all businesses need their network up 24/7. But for those that do, hiring an MSP is a great option. Not only can they provide round-the-clock monitoring of your network, but they can also supplement your internal IT and cover for them when they're unavailable. Filling in those gaps is something that MSPs can do really well. 

In a study by CompTIA, more than half (53%) of companies that leveraged managed services kept their internal IT headcounts exactly the same as they were before onboarding their MSP. That's because a vast majority of companies see MSPs as a way to help IT reprioritize and supplement its role. 

You Need to Backup and Protect Your Data 

The effects of data loss can be catastrophic for businesses. In fact, a study by the University of Texas found that 94% of companies that suffered from catastrophic data loss do not survive. 43% never reopened, and 51% shuttered within two years of the incident. That is how vital a proper backup and disaster recovery system is. 

An MSP can help you set up and manage a backup and disaster recovery system that's up to industry standards. Service providers typically have a lot of processes and a team of people dedicated to ensuring your backups work successfully.   

 Furthermore, an MSP can also help assess whether your existing backup has vulnerabilities and provide recommendations on how to improve it. They can also help you test whether your backup systems will actually work when a disaster does strike. 

Security Benefits of an MSP

Why Choose Managed IT Services?

There's no single IT solution that fits all kinds of businesses. Whether your company will benefit more from managed IT, break-fix transactions, or creating your own internal IT department, it will all depend on your specific needs. To help you get a better understanding, we'll compare managed IT with alternative solutions. 

Managed IT vs. Break-Fix 

As the name suggests, the break-fix model refers to the fee-for-service method of providing IT services to businesses: no break, no fix. That means it is a project-based model; wherein break-fix companies offer their services only when something is broken or needs attending to. A provider performs services only as needed then bills the customer for the work completed. These services may include repairs, upgrades, or installations. 

On the other hand, managed IT is a model that focuses on preventive, proactive, and real-time maintenance. It doesn't look at a single issue in the IT infrastructure but rather views it as a whole. Through this process, an MSP can effectively prevent issues, reduce downtime and keep your network running more smoothly in the long run. 

As you can see, the main difference between the two is how they approach IT issues. While break-fix is cheaper because you only pay for services when you need it, in the long run, managed IT can be more cost-effective as it nips most of those problems in the bud before they become issues in the first place. 

While managed IT trumps break-fix models in the long term, it doesn't necessarily mean project-based IT services don't have their rightful place. In specific use cases, break-fix transactions are the best choice for your company. Take a look at some of the characteristics of businesses that might get the most out of the break-fix model: 

Qualities of Businesses that Use Break-Fix Companies 

  • Not overly reliant on technology 
  • IT issues are not recurring 
  • Simple IT necessities in the company (i.e., tech is only used for emails or printing) 
  • Limited budget for technology
  • Minimal technology users 

Managed IT vs. Internal IT 

Let's get this out of the way first; this is not an either/or decision. When it comes to choosing an MSP or hiring an internal IT team, many prefer using both options at the same time. 

In a recent survey conducted by CompTIA, only 6% of companies that hired an MSP eliminated their in-house IT team. The study also revealed that over half (53%) kept their internal IT headcounts the same, while 15% of respondents had no IT personnel, to begin with. That's because a vast majority of companies see MSPs as a way to help IT reprioritize its role. 

However, for the sake of differentiating both options, we'll go into the unique benefits each one can offer your business. 

Unique Benefits of Having Internal IT 

  • On-site technician day in and day out - On-site technicians can address your IT issues as soon as they're available, and they can do it in person. That can reduce wait times for problems that can't be resolved remotely. 
  • More control over your data without relying on an external organization - Businesses that are particular about privacy might feel a bit uneasy relying on an external third-party to handle their sensitive data.  
  • IT team with full awareness of the unique needs of your organization An internal IT team will be fully aware of the idiosyncrasies of your IT and understand how you use your resources. 
  • A "down-the-hall" relationship with IT technicians - One of the main benefits of having an internal IT department is the personal touch that they can bring to your organization. Having that close relationship can be helpful in boosting morale and camaraderie within your organization. 

Unique Benefits of Having an MSP 

  • Access to trained and certified experts in many different IT fields - Managed IT services can offer a wide breadth of knowledge that is very difficult to find in the job market. In a report by Fortunly, about 46% of companies that hired an MSP say outsourcing lets them access skill sets that aren't available in-house. 
  • 24/7 IT support - MSPs can offer round-the-clock support which means they can help resolve IT issues during off-hours. A boon for organizations that operate 24 hours a day. 
  • Can give you a fresh perspective on your tech - An MSP can provide you with a different perspective that can give you insights into improving your technology and processes. They are also capable of recommending advanced technological solutions that can help keep your business ahead of the curve. 
  • Flexibility and scalability - MSPs offer flexibility and scalability, which means if your business is growing at a fast pace, your technology will be able to keep up. 

While both options can bring great value to your organization like we've said above, choosing to use both is also a great choice. One of the important things you should take note of is that managed IT, and internal IT complement each other very well as both solutions can supplement the weaknesses of the other. 

MSP vs. Break-Fix Model -Who Benefits?

How to Choose a Managed IT Provider?

Once you've made the decision to partner with an MSP, it's vital that you find one that you can trust and rely on. So before signing that contract, take the following into consideration before hiring an MSP: 

Do you know whom you're working with? 

It's important that you know whom you're working with day-to-day. If possible, try to visit your MSP's office or at least have a video conference with the team involved in providing support for your company.  

Do you understand their hours of support? 

Does your MSP provide support 24/7 or only during office hours? Knowing your MSP's hours of support can ensure you get the help you need during emergencies.  

Do you understand how their billing works? 

Are you being billed per hour or a flat fee? Understanding how a provider bills you for their service will help you manage your IT budget and determine whether an MSP fits your business needs.   

Do they keep you in the loop? 

A lot of the time, it's difficult to tell what an MSP does, especially when your technology is working properly. That's because a lot of what they do goes on in the background. It's vital that your MSP keeps you in the loop via regular reports so that you know what they're doing for your business.   

Will they meet with you on a regular basis? 

Depending on your availability, you can meet with your MSP monthly, quarterly, or even annually. The important thing is that you can sit down with them regularly to discuss where things are going right and where things can be improved.  

Do they have a written guarantee on their agreement? 

No matter what you're buying, it's important to check the paperwork and the guarantees. It not only tells you what level of service you are entitled to but also empowers you with what actions you can take when things go wrong.  

Do they have a feedback system? 

We're all human beings, and mistakes are inevitable. When that happens, ensure your MSP has a feedback system so you can voice out your concerns and see what their process is like to address the situation.   

4 Things to Look for in an MSP Questions to Ask When Choosing an MSP

Who are the Top Managed Service Providers?

It's near impossible to list down the best MSPs for your business because it's all about finding the right fit. What's best for some may not necessarily be the best for you. However, to help you make an educated decision, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most reputable MSPs in the four different locations we operate in. 

How Much Should Managed IT Services Cost?

All businesses want to cut their expenses one way or another. The problem is many of them often forget that paying less doesn't mean you're earning or saving more. That's especially true when it comes to technological solutions. With that in mind, you shouldn't think of managed IT services as a monthly expense but rather an investment for the future. 

Managed IT Cost

 

Managed IT Services is an Investment 

In a report by Fortunly they found that the most widely cited reason (49%) US companies seek to outsource IT functions is to free up resources so that they can focus on their core business. Saving money was secondary. That might be because managed IT doesn't just save money; it helps you focus on the things that matter. 

In fact, according to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC), organizations experienced savings related to the reallocated staff resources as well as the reduction of additional staffing costs, which translated into a 42% average increase in productivity. 

In the same study, the IDC also reported that the average investment per organization was $274,326 per 100 users. And, in a span of fewer than six months, those organizations achieved an overall ROI of 224%. That is how MSPs can help you not just save more money but earn more of it. 

Cost of an MSP 

However, you don't need to spend that much to get good returns. The cost of your managed IT service will depend on what your organization needs. Choosing the right plan can help you manage the cost so you can make the most out of your partnership. 

MSP prices range from $30 to $50 per user per month for an essential plan and up to $150 to $180 per user per month for an all-inclusive plan. 

Some companies only need a foundational level of support. That includes the basics, like antivirus, onsite and offsite backups, software updates. Any additional support you might require will be charged on an hourly basis.  

Other companies, however, might be looking for an unlimited plan. That is often charged with a flat monthly fee for each user. It is easier to budget this billing plan as the rate is fixed, and customers can simply add new projects when they come up.  

Lastly, some businesses might need a full-on "all-you-can-eat" service. That is typically called an all-inclusive plan that uses a fixed fee per month but also includes all projects and day-to-day support.  

Managed IT Services Cost in Las Vegas

Ready to Get Managed IT?

Managed IT services can offer a wide range of benefits that can help you make the most out of your technology. It gives you the opportunity to outsource IT functions so that you can focus on growing your business. However, it's important to note that while it's a great solution, it's not perfect for everyone. 

Finding the right provider can mean the difference when it comes to success. At ITS, we make sure that we can meet our clients' needs and that we are a good fit for their business before taking on any project. 

Want to find out if you're a good fit for managed IT service? Fill out our form for a free tech assessment. 

Schedule a Meeting See Pricing

Managed-IT-BOFU

Ready to Get Managed IT?

Managed IT services can offer a wide range of benefits that can help you make the most out of your technology. It gives you the opportunity to outsource IT functions so that you can focus on growing your business. However, it's important to note that while it's a great solution, it's not perfect for everyone. 

Finding the right provider can mean the difference when it comes to success. At ITS, we make sure that we can meet our clients' needs and that we are a good fit for their business before taking on any project. 

Want to find out if you're a good fit for managed IT service? Fill out our form for a free tech assessment. 

Schedule a Meeting See Pricing