In our article ‘Everything you need to know about managed IT services’, we briefly discuss some examples of managed IT services.
In this article, we will go into more detail, explaining the outline of each plan and providing examples of where these services may be useful.
This way you can get a better understanding of what a Managed Service Provider can do for you and make a more informed decision on what services would best suit your business.
The main thing to keep in mind is that Managed IT Services are delivered within a structured service agreement and at a fixed monthly fee, as opposed to ad hoc or break/fix services which are ‘pay as you go’.
A full suite Managed Service plan encompasses all the following services with the exception of the Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan, which can be added on to further protect your business.
That said, if your business doesn’t quite need the full suite just yet or are looking to target specific elements of your IT requirements, each of these programs are available as a standalone service plan, or as a combination, and you can increase or decrease your plan depending on your business journey.
Here’s 6 examples of Managed IT Service plans so that you have an idea of options that a Managed Service Provider such as IT for Business can provide.
Managed IT services are ideal for medium to large businesses that require their IT infrastructure to support their business in a way that is up to date, secure, and facilitates high performance. An all-encompassing service plan is generally referred to as a “Managed Service”.
A Managed Service plan will vary in its features and price depending on the size and requirements of the business.
One of the most prominent benefits of using a Managed Service Provider (MSP), is that they are proactive, meaning that issues are often resolved before the user even detects them, removing the headaches associated with trying to troubleshoot a problem and the resultant downtime.
In contrast to the break/fix service model, where the business would engage someone to resolve errors and issues in an ad hoc manner, MSPs install software agents on all devices to aid in monitoring, maintaining and reporting on the health of the system, with the aim to prevent issues before any ‘fix’ is required.
As MSPs monitor your devices 24/7, they can provide ongoing maintenance, updates, and security. You also enjoy the benefit of a team of experts who have the breadth of skills and experience not accessible with the sole reliance on your own inhouse IT department.
MSPs also provide regular scheduled onsite visits and monthly management meetings as part of the all-inclusive fixed plan.
Dedicated Account Managers are assigned to a Managed Service plan and scheduled monthly meetings provide partnership with your own strategic consultant who understands your business and how IT can be deployed to meet your business goals, security and governance.
Monthly reporting and analysis is generated from the monitoring agents installed and provided to you for your insight and advice.
Speaking with an experienced Managed Service Provider (that’s us!) to assess your business needs and establish a detailed service-level agreement will ensure that you get the right solution for your business.
2. Managed Service Plan – Lite
Not to worry if you’re a smaller business or feel your organisation doesn’t quite need the full suite of features included in a Managed Service plan just yet. A cut down version of the full suite, the Managed Service Plan – Lite has you covered.
Similar to a full suite service plan, Managed Service Plan – Lite will provide you with ongoing IT support but on a smaller scale and without onsite visits.
Like with all managed IT service plans, Managed Service Plan – Lite is a proactive service and will give your business the performance edge and peace of mind it needs to keep moving. Monitoring and maintenance agents are still installed on servers, desktops, and laptops in this service plan to ensure your IT system is kept up to date and working at full performance.
Because small to medium businesses still want to increase productivity and reduce downtime, right?
As Managed Service Plan – Lite operates on a smaller scale, onsite visits and monthly management meetings aren’t included but access to remote support via the help desk is all inclusive. This reduces your fixed monthly fee while providing you with many of the benefits of managed IT services.
If you’re interested in Managed Service Plan – Lite, get in touch with us today.
3. Monitoring and Maintenance Plan
One of the most important examples of services that a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can offer is a Monitoring and Maintenance plan, and some businesses prefer this program as a standalone service from a Managed Service Provider.
Active and accessible 24/7 via installing software agents on your devices, an MSP will consistently manage servers, desktops, printers, and network devices, providing patches and updates, maintaining, and freeing storage, and identifying and patching potential issues.
Friendly and supportive staff operating the help desk also ensure that users can ask for help if they have any questions regarding their Monitoring and Maintenance plan.
4. Back Up and Recovery Plan
By now, most of us have a horror story or two about how we learned the importance of backing up data. Hopefully you haven’t had to experience this within a business setting and please heed our warning, this is something to sort out BEFORE things go wrong.
If something does go wrong, having your data backed up can mean the difference between a minor inconvenience and a critical incident, and save your business time, resources, and heartache.
Another standalone program provided by an MSP, is where you can get your valuable data backed up regularly to a secure network-attached storage unit at a remote location such as a data centre or a cloud backup solution, with the ability to restore your data via this backup.
This helps you develop a convenient and compliant backup process that suits your business, allowing you to protect your data with automatic backups to a secure location, giving you flexibility and peace of mind.
5. Managed Firewall Plan
Firewalls are a critical aspect of online security, helping you to protect network traffic and prevent security breaches and data theft.
Businesses who don’t have an in-house resource to manage their firewall or other security infrastructure can enlist the help of a Managed Service Provider to look after their data security.
Some companies may outsource to an MSP for Managed Firewall Services for compliance purposes, or simply to ensure the highest level of security and best practice data protection. Others may have existing IT staff but choose to complement their role with an MSP to allow them to focus on other business needs and objectives.
A Managed Firewall plan includes firewall installation and configuration, remote monitoring, and management, identifying and responding to threats, real-time monitoring of your gateway end points and activity within your corporate network and regular security reports.
6. Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Plan
As a business owner, it’s important to have a plan just in case something goes wrong.
Ranging from cybercrime to natural disasters, there are issues out of your control that can potentially have a massive impact on your business.
This is where an MSP comes in. An MSP will provide you with a business continuity plan (BCP) and disaster recovery plan (DRP) to help your business recover in the case of a crisis.
A BCP focuses on helping your business keep its regular operations active during and after a crisis, while a DRP details how your business can restore its information systems. The program allows for periodic simulation testing of restoring your data.
This way your business can bounce back stronger than ever without any major losses. Again, this is something you need to have in place BEFORE you need it.
If you’re interested in learning more about a BCP or DRP, get in touch with us today.
Alternatives to Managed Service Plans
While consulting and ad hoc IT services have their time and place, they are essentially the opposite of a Managed Service plan, and that’s why they haven’t made the official list.
Some businesses might feel they are in a position that requires them to use an ad hoc service over a Managed Service plan. Perhaps they are looking for project-specific consultation or are working up to more comprehensive services.
Having a full suite Managed Service Plan negates the need for ad hoc services, as does having a Managed Service Plan – Lite in most cases, as your Managed Service Provider is accountable for all your IT requirements according to your SLA.
However, if you wanted to combine other service plans, such as a Managed Firewall plan or Backup and Recovery plan for example, with some ad hoc break/fix services, then you’d be more than welcome to.
Ad hoc services are problem-specific and generally reactive services, there is no monitoring or maintenance, no greater responsibility than the problem at hand, and no ongoing collaboration or partnership.
For us, at IT for Business, it’s the partnership we are always working towards. Whether you are on a full suite Managed Service Plan or a Monitoring and Maintenance Plan, it’s our job to mitigate risks and reduce downtime for your business.
We may offer ad hoc or break/fix services to our clients to cover peak periods or staff absences, but any ad hoc services we offer are with a view to return to, or to work towards, a Managed Service plan, for the simple fact that it is proactive, preventative, and efficient, and therefore better for your business.
Want to learn more about Managed IT Services?
When it comes to managed IT services, it’s not an all or nothing service. There are many options to suit your business and your way of working.
If you think a Managed Service Provider may be of use to your business, get in touch with us to talk about your business IT needs.