If there is one certainty in IT, it’s that things are uncertain. Computers crash, software doesn’t work as it should, and problems occur. And when they do, the way that you respond can be the difference between a minor hiccup and a full-blown business interruption.
That is where Managed IT Services offered by a Managed Service Provider (MSP) comes in. In short, managed services is a term that refers to the practice of outsourcing your company’s IT.
What does this mean for the small business owner? Managed Services is a full IT department that is proactively monitoring, managing, protecting and resolving issues that may arise at a pre-determined budgeted cost every month.
Here is a list of some of the features that may come with a Managed Services program.
Network Monitoring and Care: Your MSP keeps tabs on your network activity around the clock, and when a system or function fails, support teams immediately jump in to investigate. Once the problem is identified, the fix will be implemented — in many cases, before you’ve even realized there’s an issue.
Preventative Maintenance: Preventive maintenance service for desktops and servers regimentally monitors and addresses common problems experienced by users. Whether it’s getting rid of viruses, attacking spyware issues or installing patches, it is all handled in the background while your employees remain productive. Even when systems aren’t actually down, they can still run slowly or inefficiently. Preventative maintenance will maximize the value of your IT investment.
Security: Including Antivirus and Antimalware software that is monitored and the moment a computer or system is compromised, the software automatically begins to remediate the issue while an engineer is actively monitoring the progress and ready to react further if necessary.
Firewall Security: The firewall is the business owner’s first line of defense from the internet. Firewalls are no longer the install-and-forget-it device. They are critical to the safety of an organization. Proactively maintaining and monitoring the security features within the firewall is critical. In addition, protecting your small business from your employees’ activities can help prevent a PR nightmare.
Email Spam and Virus Filtering: One of the main entry points for viruses and malware entering a company’s network is through email. Scanning every email for viruses and spam before they arrive to your cellphone, tablet or computer will help minimize the risk of an attack. Also scanning email that is coming out of your organization helps mitigate the embarrassment of explaining to your clients and vendors that the email they just received is not legitimate or worse contains a virus.
Business Continuity and Data Backup: As the last line of defense, data backup and continuity solutions ensure your critical information is secure, backed up and accessible whenever you need it – even during a network failure or a disaster.
What are the benefits?
Every investment your business makes carries a certain risk. Government regulations, changes in technologies, financial conditions and markets all change at a rapid pace. When you utilize an MSP, they manage a lot of this risk for you because of their experience, training and expertise in areas such as compliance and security.
Level the Playing Field
Larger companies typically have in-house support services with a team of full-time IT professionals. Small- to medium-sized businesses can’t afford that luxury on their own. One of the benefits of managed IT services is that outsourcing helps to gain the expertise and the insight that larger companies have. This can help level the playing field between you and your competition or be a strategic advantage for your organization.
Compliance and Security
When you outsource to an MSP that is familiar with PCI and HIPAA compliance standards, it minimizes the risk related to credit card numbers, client data or any other sensitive information.
Lower Costs and Predictable Spending
The ultimate benefit of a managed services model is its ability to lower business costs. One of the costs that businesses don’t always remember is that MSPs help minimize the chance of expensive network disasters. In addition, knowing what your monthly IT spending is going to be, eliminates those unexpected IT costs.
Access to IT Professionals
An MSP is essentially an in-house IT TEAM at your disposal, but without the cost.
When a business has limited resources, it limits the time and attention of every owner and manager. A key managed services benefit is helping you stay focused on your business needs and lets the MSP deal with the complex IT situations. Your business deserves to run at its highest efficiency, and that can only be done when your networks are operational. QCBN
By Theo Soumilas
For additional information or to schedule an appointment for a free assessment, call 928-719-7724 or visit northernazit.com.
Theo Soumilas is the owner of Northern Arizona IT servicing the Quad Cities and Northern Arizona.