Your complete guide to Managed IT Services

Your Complete Guide to Managed IT Services … how much are inefficiencies really costing your company?


Fast, reliable IT is the cornerstone of every modern business. But what happens when your technology falls over, or its performance starts to slow down operations? With the average SME suffering 45 minutes downtime each week, inefficiency is a real – and costly – problem.

Many companies don’t realise the true cost of sub-par IT services; perhaps because you’re still trying to manage everything in-house using non-technical staff, or you’ve outgrown the capabilities of your current external support service.

Outsourcing your IT requirements to a leading Managed Service Provider (MSP) is the simplest, most cost-effective way to ensure your business is being powered by top-flight tech at all times.

Want to know more about outsourcing your IT services? Read on to discover how an expert partner can help you run a smoother operation, increase productivity and accelerate business growth.

 

What are Managed Services?

The IT landscape is becoming increasingly complex, with companies relying on multiple systems, processes and hardware to keep your businesses in operation. This can be challenging to set-up, maintain and repair using in-house resources – particularly for SMEs with limited manpower.

In light of this, many businesses choose to outsource requirements to an IT Managed Services Provider (MSP), who can help you establish and run technologies in the best way for your organisation.

You may be new to this concept; you may already have some experience with an outsourced partner. Either way, we want to help you understand the full scope of IT managed services, so you can choose the right provider for your needs.

 

A smarter, cost-effective alternative to employing in-house staff

Signing an ongoing service agreement is much simpler than finding someone to fix an IT problem every time something goes wrong – and it’s more cost-effective than hiring a full-time IT manager.

IT Managed Service Providers can also proactively monitor your IT software and systems, resolving issues before they become problems. Additionally, they can make recommendations that help your company run quicker, scale easier, and operate more productively.

 

Why should I outsource my IT support services?

Companies of any size can benefit from outsourced IT managed services, but MSPs are particularly popular among SMEs. That’s because the outsourcing model ensures a secure, slick technical operation, without having to rely on the skills of a small in-house team.

You may have been managing your IT infrastructure internally so far, but your company is fast outgrowing in-house capabilities, and you need next level support. Alternatively, you may be outsourcing your technical support, but it’s time to upgrade to a more capable partner. In both scenarios, it’s worth considering a change of set-up.

 

Here are 7 reasons to make the switch to outsourced IT Support Services:
  1. It takes the pressure off internal staff – with outsourcing there’s no need to employ dedicated IT personnel. Equally, you don’t have to put extra demands on non-IT staff, requiring them to gain specialist technical knowledge.
  2. You’re always in line with industry regulations – with outsourcing there’s no need to employ dedicated IT personnel. Equally, you don’t have to put extra demands on non-IT staff, requiring them to gain specialist technical knowledge.
  3. You’re benefitting from best practice – external companies have more industry experience, as they are dealing with multiple clients. Because they’ve seen more technical scenarios, they can solve issues quickly and provide effective solutions.
  4. It adds value – a good provider will recommend new products and processes to enhance your operational speed and efficiency. They should work flexibly with your company’s needs, carrying out proactive maintenance and supporting you during restructures.
  5. You have a platform for business growth – with IT being taken care of by an expert, you can focus on your people, in order to grow your business with a scalable infrastructure.
  6. It’s cost-effective – outsourcing is less expensive than employing a full-time IT manager or paying through the nose for emergency help. Plus, if your chosen IT Support Services company offers 24/7 help, it reduces costly downtime.
  7. It puts you on the front foot – an IT support provider’s job is to keep your business running. Because they’re accountable for your technical operation, a good partner will respond quickly to any glitches, and proactively upgrade you to the newest technology.

HOW TO WIN WITH IT SERVICE MANAGEMENT READ NOW

 


 

What IT managed services can I outsource?

IT support services should be more than just a helpdesk. The right managed services provider will provide business insights to help you run better – and the technology plans to scale your infrastructure as you grow.

It’s important to look for a managed services provider that offers a comprehensive range of services, including technical assistance, security, regulatory compliance, performance monitoring and business insights. Even if you don’t require all these services to begin with, it’s better value to choose an MSP that can increase its remit as your business develops.

 

A good Managed Service Provider will offer…

Security monitoring It’s important to protect your business against hazards, by meeting the latest requirements around issues such as cyber security and GDR compliance. Make sure your managed service provider supports encrypted systems, offers firewall protection, and can tailor its support to your company policies and business goals, in order to offer full security coverage.

Round-the-clock support services Technical glitches can happen at any time, and many MSPs provide the option to take out 24/7 technical monitoring and support. In any case, system maintenance, updates and backups can be scheduled outside of peak business periods to ensure the smooth day-to-day running of your business.

Strategic management and support An external partner should offer you a full business assessment as standard, providing complete strategic planning and risk management to analyse and enhance your IT infrastructure.

Leading-edge MSPs use sophisticated business insight tools to benchmark your technical capabilities against industry standards, producing fully transparent managed support services reports that show how your IT is performing, identify where resources are best focused, and help with future budgeting and growth.

Additionally, some MSPs will be able to offer you the services of a part-time Chief Information Officer (CIO), who can provide ongoing advice at board level, and/or step-in to help with business transformation projects.

 

What are the Pros and Cons of outsourcing?

IT managed services has its pros and cons – it’s about weighing them up to decide whether the benefits of outsourcing outweigh any potential drawbacks.

 

→ PROS

Cost-effective — outsourcing is cheaper than hiring an in-house IT person, and can be available outside standard office hours if 24/7 support options are needed

Expert resources — you’ll get access to highly-trained people at the cutting edge of technology, who understand the latest products and upgrades to optimise your technology performance. They are also up-to-date on legal and compliance requirements

Complete accountability — outsourced providers take on your technology risk; it’s their job to keep you up-and-running, and to respond to any problems as quickly as possible

No more burdening staff — your workforce don’t need to take on IT jobs. They can focus on the tasks at hand, which increases their productivity, happiness and loyalty

 

→ CONS

Entrusting data to others — there’s always a small risk when someone else looks after your data, but a good provider will have industry credentials and protection practices in place to mitigate risk

Infrastructure control — a small minority of providers use outsourcing as an excuse to upsell their own proprietary software. However, most will work with the platforms you have in place already, only recommending upgrades where they are relevant

Outsourcing complex IT functions — simple infrastructures are relatively easy to hand over to providers, but with complex set-ups you must take your time to find the right provider, who will be easy to work with and add value to your operations

 


Which industries can benefit most from outsourcing IT support services?

External IT support services can have a positive impact on any company. However, there are certain industries where data protection and technical excellence is critical. Being able to easily prove compliance can also make the process staying aligned and tendering

for new business contracts much easier. In these sectors, outsourcing IT support to a managed service provider can safeguard the way sensitive information is processed and protected…

 

icon legal paper and pen

Legal Industry

Client trust and confidentiality is critical to the legal sector, so solicitors, legal services etc. need a watertight IT infrastructure, which is best provided through managed IT services for law firms. Just as your team understands the intricacies of the law, it’s the IT services provider’s job to know the finer details of your technology setup, staying abreast of the latest industry standards, cyber security risks and software applications for the legal sector.

 

PHARMACEUTICAL

Pharmaceuticals

Pharma companies have a huge volume of testing & clinical trial data to assimilate and protect, and digital transformation is key to making this simple and secure. A strong outsourced IT set-up will keep your business in line with the latest sector regulations, and its cost-effective approach can reduce time to market while protecting profit margins.

 

RECRUITMENT

Recruitment

In an industry where mixing up sensitive data can permanently damage an agency’s reputation, there’s a huge benefit to considering a managed service provider in recruitment. Outsourcing IT protects your complete data universe, ensuring the latest safety protocols and GDPR compliance are in place, for complete client confidentiality.

 

FINANCIAL-SERVICES

Financial Services

Industry legislation is constantly evolving in finance, and regulation changes often impact IT infrastructure and data storage. By working with a strategic technical partner, it becomes an expert’s responsibility to maintain compliance, while ensuring optimal speed of performance for the fast-paced finance industry.

 

Related post:

How much would one hour of IT downtime cost your law firm?

Are your staff leaving your pharma business vulnerable to cyber criminals?

Protecting your recruitment agency’s data

How does outsourcing boost compliance in financial services

 


How do I choose the right Manages Services Provider (MSP)?

We’ve shown you the impact of outsourcing your IT support – and the potential is compelling. But you will only enjoy the full benefits if you find the best-fit managed service provider for your needs. So, how do you choose the perfect partner?

To steer you in the right direction, here are some questions to ask the list of IT managed service providers you’re considering:

  1. What services do you offer?

We talked earlier about the types of IT support that can be outsourced, from security protection to system maintenance, service provision and strategic development. Understand how broad each provider’s scope is, even if you’re only looking for one element of these services to begin with (you never know when you’ll need the rest).

  1. What’s your track record?

Some MSPs are great at fixing problems, but they won’t help you to get the most out of your IT network. Look for a provider that offers proactive services, finding ways to optimise performance speed and reliability, and to seek out the latest products and upgrades to keep your business running at the cutting edge.

  1. When is your support desk open?

IT issues can happen at any time, so ideally you want to partner with a provider that offers 24/7 support – and make sure you check whether this comes as standard, or you need to select it as an additional service desk option.

  1. How proactive are you?

Some MSPs are great at fixing problems, but they won’t help you to get the most out of your IT network. Look for a provider that offers proactive services, finding ways to optimise performance speed and reliability, and to seek out the latest products and upgrades to keep your business running at the cutting edge.

It also pays to find out about the structure of their team, particularly if you want a company with a personal approach. Find out who you are likely to be dealing with day-to-day, and if you will be given a dedicated account manager.

  1. Do you have the specialist expertise I need?

A good provider can demonstrate industry credibility; they will have been in business for several years and have a strong client roster. If you work in a data-intensive sector such as pharma, legal or recruitment, look for an MSP that has proven track record in your industry.

What is their track record in working for companies with similar needs such as auditable processes and proven regulatory compliance.

  1. What are your security credentials?

Every business manages confidential information, so you want to ensure that your data is being protected as fiercely as possible. A reputable MSP should take security seriously, with physical and digital precautions in place, and regular analysis of how to manage & mitigate risks.

They will be able to explain their data storage protocol to you, showing you how they safeguard/backup information for complete protection.

  1. How do you measure/prove performance?

It’s important to establish what you want an outsourced IT partner to do, and how you will judge their success. This will enable you to set clear expectations, which they should be able to measure and report on when required, and also reveal further insights to optimise your IT set-up.

  1. How are your services priced?

Remember, the cheapest isn’t always the best! However, it’s vital that you find a provider with a price structure that suits your set-up and is flexible to fit your needs.

Find out whether the IT managed service provider model you’re considering has a minimum contract length, and if the company works on a set fee or subscription basis. It’s also important to review the terms of agreement to ensure there are no hidden costs.

A good provider will be able to create customised packages to suit your needs, which can be flexibly evolved over time as your requirements change.

 


 

Deeper dive

Download our free e-book: “5 questions to ask an IT managed service provider”

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Interested in outsourcing your IT operation? Book a complimentary call with Epoq IT to see how our managed services can save you time, money and stress – while accelerating your business growth.

 

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Epoq IT

Written by Epoq IT

Epoq IT builds long-term relationships with businesses that want their IT systems and technology to support their stability, growth and competitive edge. We specialise in helping organisations to achieve and demonstrate regulatory compliance with services that span IT Strategy, IT Security, Continuity, and Support solutions using our proven processes. A complete solution for managing your IT strategy and effectiveness, compliance, risk management and cyber security, our award-winning IT support and consultancy services are flexibly designed to meet your business needs.