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    What is a Managed IT Service?

    Definition and History of Managed IT Services

    A managed IT service is an information technology (IT) task provided by a third-party contractor and delivered to a customer.

    In a managed service arrangement, the managed service provider retains responsibility for the functionality of the IT service and equipment.

    The customer typically pays a monthly fee for receipt of the service.

    The managed services model involves offloading general tasks to a third-party expert to reduce costs, improve service quality, or free internal teams to focus on business-specific work.

    The goal of a managed IT service is to transfer the burden of maintaining IT from the customer to a service provider.

    Evolution of Managed Services

    The origins of managed IT service providers date back to the 1990s and the advent of application service providers (ASPs). Managed services providers have played a crucial role in the evolution of managed IT services by offering foundational services like remote monitoring and management.

    ASPs offered remote application hosting services and set the stage for companies that would provide remote support for customers’ IT infrastructure.

    The managed IT service model has evolved over time to include a range of services, including managed security services and cloud services. The evolution of managed IT services now prominently features cloud services such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and managed public cloud services in conjunction with cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google, and Microsoft.

    Types of Managed IT Services

    Cybersecurity Services

    Managed security services are becoming increasingly popular, as customers demand IT security assistance and support services from their service providers.

    Cybersecurity management solutions are an essential part of a managed service provider’s (MSP’s) service offerings.

    Key aspects of these services include threat detection, incident response, and compliance management.

    Cloud Services

    Cloud services help clients transition to a cloud environment, offering a number of services, including implementing cloud-based remote monitoring and management (RMM) software provided by services providers.

    Cloud services are software offerings managed by vendors and delivered to customers on demand.

    Cloud services generally include vendor management of application, data, and platform services, but usually don’t include management of the customer workload itself.

    Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)

    RMM software allows MSPs to proactively and remotely monitor and optimize client networks and endpoints.

    Specific services an MSP might offer as part of RMM solution could include routine tasks, network health assessment, and issue resolution.

    Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR)

    BCDR software solutions help clients prepare for drastic events, reducing downtime and expediting recovery of data.

    MSPs can provide services such as routine system tests, data backups, and disaster recovery procedures.

    Benefits of Managed IT Services

    Reduce IT Spending and Improve Operational Efficiency

    With managed IT services, small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can reap the benefits of IT support at a much lower cost than creating a comparable internal team. Managed print services can help reduce printing-related expenditures and improve operational efficiency by enabling remote monitoring, support, updates, upkeep, and repair of hardware. Managed IT services can help organizations improve their overall IT infrastructure and reduce the risk of downtime or data loss.

    Leverage Expert Knowledge and Bridge the Talent Gap

    MSPs bring a breadth of expertise to a client organization, including cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, and industry knowledge.

    High-level IT roles are becoming more challenging for companies to fill internally, and managed IT services can be an attractive, low-cost solution.

    Dependable Service and Better Internal IT Productivity

    • Partnering with a third-party MSP can make services more dependable and reduce interruptions.

    • Bringing a third-party vendor on board to handle managed IT services can boost client productivity.

    Manage Expenditures and Reduce Upfront Costs

    • A pricing strategy is just as important to MSP success as the menu of services and customer service.

    • With managed IT services, businesses can keep their critical networks, endpoints, and data operating smoothly and securely.

    Ensure IT Infrastructure Availability 24/7

    • Managed IT services utilize remote monitoring technologies to manage your IT systems round-the-clock.

    • MSPs are not tied to the same schedule as organizations’ other employees, which means providers are often able to perform system updates and maintenance during off-hours.

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    Choosing the Right Managed Service Provider (MSP)

    Assessing Current IT Systems and Identifying Needs

    • Taking a thorough assessment of organizations’ current IT needs and costs is the first step to finding an MSP.

    • Organizations need to understand what infrastructure and workflows they need managed, what resources they currently have, and what their budget is for management.

    Evaluating MSPs: What to Look for in a Service Provider

    Organizations should ensure that potential MSPs properly enforce data protection and privacy standards. Managed services providers offer foundational services like remote monitoring and management, and they differentiate their offerings through managed security services, cloud services such as IaaS and PaaS, and managed IP telephony services. Organizations should also ensure that MSPs have the necessary expertise and resources to manage their IT needs.

    Considering Scalability, Flexibility, and Accountability

    • When assessing potential vendors, organizations should pay attention to the capacity of the services they can supply.

    • Providers should be able to scale with organizations and ideally should have more bandwidth, service hours, and expertise than they need.

    Managed IT Services Pricing and Models

    How are Managed IT Services Priced?

    • A service provider can charge for a managed IT service in a number of ways, including per-device, per-user, and all-inclusive pricing.

    • Per-device pricing may be used for remote monitoring and management services.

    • Per-user pricing may be used if a customer’s users work with multiple devices.

    • All-inclusive pricing establishes a flat fee for all of the managed IT service offerings a service provider delivers to its client.

    Understanding MSP Pricing Models

    • MSPs offer services at a flat, recurring rate in tiered levels, with increasing automation and management per specified service level agreement (SLA).

    • IT managed services enable partners to run their businesses more smoothly and efficiently.

    Overcoming Challenges and Ensuring Success

    Addressing Lack of Accountability and Insufficient Attention to Business Needs

    • Outsourcing your IT duties to an unreliable vendor results in dissatisfaction and financial losses.

    • MSPs must assist with the strategic planning of infrastructure enhancements, configuration updates, and enhancements.

    Mitigating Cybersecurity Risks and Cost Overruns

    • Many MSPs do not specialize in cybersecurity, leaving businesses susceptible to cybercriminals.

    • The primary motivation for contracting a managed IT services provider is to stabilize and protect IT investments.

    Best Practices for Working with an MSP

    Effective Communication and Clear Expectations

    Managed services are the bread and butter of any MSP’s offerings, and best practices include understanding customer needs, offering customized solutions, and providing excellent customer service.

    Regular Assessments and Evaluations for Ongoing Improvement

    MSPs have a range of IT expertise and tools to resolve issues efficiently, including remote monitoring, cybersecurity management, and robotic process automation (RPA).

    Conclusion

    Recap of Benefits, Considerations, and Best Practices for Managed IT Services

    • Managed IT services are essential for the modern enterprise.

    • By outsourcing IT tasks to a managed service provider, organizations can reduce IT spending, leverage expert knowledge, and ensure dependable service.

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