What Are Managed IT Service Providers?

Businesses of all sizes sometimes need to supplement the capabilities of in-house IT teams. Start-ups and companies that are gaining ground may need to farm out technology duties altogether. Managed service providers help augment internal skill and resource gaps and reduce overhead expenses. Sometimes it is more cost-effective to let a vendor manage a service desk and network security.

Organizations that partner with managed IT service providers typically sign service level agreements. These agreements outline a provider’s responsibilities, such as maintaining a 24/7 help desk. This article explores the types of managed services and their benefits.

Managed IT Service Providers

Types of Services

External vendors can provide a variety of Managed IT Services, such as remote network monitoring. Other common services include hosting applications, managing hardware assets, and communications support. Cloud-based services and Software as a Service (SaaS) applications often fall under the umbrella of hosting services. For example, a school district might enlist a vendor to provide web-based library management software.

Managed service providers could perform a hardware audit and make recommendations on what equipment an organization should upgrade or replace. Once the provider gets the green light, they purchase and swap things out. Communications support entails VoIP (phone over internet) services and mobile devices.

Vendors also typically offer a range of cybersecurity and customer support. Cybersecurity services could include testing and monitoring a company’s network, looking for vulnerabilities and designing an incident response plan. Customer support might include taking over a help desk line after business hours.

Benefits of Managed Services

Companies can realize three benefits from partnering with managed service providers. These benefits are cost savings, more dependability, and added expertise. Managed providers have the resources to focus on delivering IT-related services. Many businesses have in-house knowledge and skills, but it’s not necessarily in information systems. It’s often more cost-effective to let the experts do it than it is to train internal staff.

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Managed IT services can also scale to a company’s size and needs. This helps keep a lid on technology expenses and increases a business’s agility. Since managed providers usually have years of experience, they can offer more oversight and reliability. They’re there to monitor and fix problems when in-house employees are not.

How to Determine the Need for a Managed Service Provider

Assessing the need for a managed provider comes down to resources. Companies that lack the know-how, equipment, and staff can greatly benefit from managed IT services. Leaders sometimes approach the decision using a simple food analogy.

While some individuals find it worthwhile to assemble and prep separate ingredients to cook their meals, others prefer to order takeout. The latter gain convenience, save time, and avoid potential cooking errors. An IT vendor is the better choice when their value exceeds that of internal resources.

Managed providers deliver IT-related services that close skill gaps and increase cost-savings and reliability. The built-in scalability of these services helps all types of businesses increase flexibility and respond to changing demands. Companies can often choose between a la carte or full-scale options.

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