The Ultimate Guide to Managed IT Services for Detroit Area Businesses
The spending on IT services is expected to reach over 1 trillion US dollars in 2021. This makes the IT service market one of the fastest-growing markets in the US. The managed IT services segment, which is the focus of this article, earned a whopping 200 billion dollars in revenue in 2019.
However, small businesses with limited IT resources seemingly continue to fail to work in sync with this updated model for IT infrastructure management. Many small businesses continue to use outdated methods of managing their IT (ex. an “IT Guy”) and continue to have problems with their operational efficiency.
If you’re in this boat, you know how easy it is to fall behind. This puts your business’s systems and networks at the risk of dangerous, but avoidable breaches and can have a rampant impact on your business.
This is where Managed IT Services come into the picture. Managed IT Services allows small businesses to outsource day-to-day technological responsibilities to a third-party company – remotely managing a business’s IT infrastructure and end-user system.
What Is Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services to let businesses delegate their IT operations to an expert third-party organization. These third-party organizations are known as Managed IT service providers.
The IT operations they manage include administrative processes and support for hardware and software, tech management, and quality assurance as well as infrastructure management.
Managed IT services providers work as per the norms of a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
What is IT Support?
IT support, also known as technical support is a service that provides solutions to individuals and businesses regarding problems related to computer technology.
Companies hire IT support specialists to provide assistance and maintenance to all computer systems and hardware. Here’s a brief look at their primary responsibilities.
Managed IT Services Is All About Efficiency
- Routine Hardware Maintenance: MSPs install and configure new technologies such as hardware, operative systems, and programs for the company’s use. They also work on regular maintenance of pre-installed hardware and computer systems.
- Unlimited Helpdesk and Remote IT Support: MSPs provide unlimited help to organization’s staff or clients with technology related problems such as technological upgradation, digital attacks and malware.
- Automatic Security Patches and Software Updates: MSPs analyze malfunctioning hardware and software and replace them when necessary.
- Expert IT Consulting and Advice: MSPs create reports on the hardware and software status of the company. This helps them put the right technology at the right place and provide seamless IT services such as network application, infrastructure, and security to your organization.
Protects Your Data
- Network Security Is Part of the Package: MSPs protect your data through a layered network security solution. This helps you avoid present and future cyber threats. As a result, MSPs reduce your downtime, reputation damage, and data loss.
- Data Backup and Disaster Recovery Plays a Role Too: MSPs provide backup and recovery solutions to combat the effect of a malicious attack. For instance, if your employee clicks on a malicious link and introduces your system to a ransomware, MSPs can minimize the damage by providing you with an added layer of protection.
Gets You What You Need
- Budgeting: MSPs assist you in allocating your resources better by making strategic decisions to help you cut costs.
- Planning: They also align your business’s short term needs with the long-term goals. It helps in finding technological solutions that can scale your business.
- Implementing: MSPs provide you with all the help to implement new technology and solutions.
Helps You Innovate
- Save Time: With MSPs, you aren’t required to use your internal resources for a new IT project. You can trust your MSP to manage large or small IT projects.
- Spend Less Money: MSPs have extensive experience working in the IT industry. They also provide robust vendor partnership. This is the reason they can give you the simplest and cost-effective ways to implement new technologies.
- Avoid Downtime: MSPs implement all new IT solutions against strict SLAs. They also follow the industry best practices. This leads to increased efficiency and less downtime.
What Are the Different Types of Managed IT Services?
With the help of an impeccable managed IT service company, businesses can acquire two types of services.
- Remote and On-Site Support: MSPs provide high-end maintenance and support services by including unlimited remote and on-site support.
- Rapid Response: MSPs provide instant response to all the issues that are reported to them through their help desk portal, email and phone extension.
- Documented Solutions: They give documented solutions that can be easily accessed and read by the organization.
- Field Review: MSPs do an extensive field review to figure out and recommend solutions that line up with a business’s long term goals.
- In-Person and Remote Computer Support Services: MSPs can provide you with a dedicated team of IT professionals. They can give you in-person and remote computer support services such as malware removal, laptop repair, and computer repair.
- Access to Professional Antivirus Software: MSPs give you access to professional antivirus software that can protect your laptop or PC from potential cybersecurity breaches and threats.
- Automatic Updates for Software and Applications: They also provide automatic updates for all our common software and applications.
- Half-Yearly Computer Analysis: MSPs work with a plan of semi-annual computer analysis. It helps them figure out the issues pertaining in your system and take corrective measures for the same.
- Instant Help Desk Access: MSPs also prioritize help desk access with instant and fast responses.
How IT Support Technicians & Specialists Can Help Your Business?
Things an IT Support Team can help businesses with:
- System Upgrades and Ongoing Maintenance: IT support specialists keep a check on your systems and avoid the risk of their breakdown.
- Experienced Consultancy: IT support teams work on different projects with different businesses. This provides them with extensive experience. They can leverage these experiences to benefit your business.
- Dedicated Project Manager: Your IT support team provides you with dedicated IT project managers. These managers can give you specialized services while overlooking every aspect of your business. These services include:
- Minimizing the implementation time of projects.
- Gaining better visibility into project status.
- Achieving greater adoption of new processes and technologies.
- Third-Party Application Support: IT support teams have the ability to interface with the third-party application team. In short, they make sure you get the best possible services to run your business smoothly.
- Employee Training on Both Software and Hardware: IT support teams can help train the new employees. They can make the new employees understand their role while giving them an insight about the software and applications that they are going to use.
- Security Assessment: IT support teams can also analyze your technology practices and make necessary recommendations and changes if required.
- Implement New Technology: Businesses often need new technologies to upgrade themselves. You can implement new technologies in your business with the help of your IT support team. They will take care of all the technical know-hows on your behalf.
Why Do Businesses Need Managed Services?
The Benefits of Managed IT Services
- Scalability: Scaling networks require significant coordination, new equipment and manpower. It can often take your focus away from other critical components of your business such as security. MSPs can help you expand or upgrade your business as and when needed. You don’t require to hire or train employees you might not need later on.
- Efficiency: From routine maintenance and impeccable IT expertise to consistent remote support and reduced downtime, MSPs help you do it all. As a result, your organization’s efficiency increases.
- Compliance: MSPs have the ability to handle the complexities of compliance and auditing. They make sure you don’t violate the data security regulations such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.
- More for Less: MSPs can give you affordable server and computer support. They can also provide you with remote monitoring of critical network components such as servers, firewalls, network security, data backup and disaster recovery along with technology evaluation and planning.
- Reduced Expenditures for IT Needs: MSPs help you save significant IT costs. You can offload critical tasks to a third-party. You don’t need to train new employees and purchase expensive new hardware or software.
- 24/7 IT Support: MSPs use remote monitoring technologies to keep a constant check on your system. MSPs get real-time alerts for the problems such as cyber security attacks, data backup issues, and more. They correct these issues before they have an impact on your business.
- Enhanced Security: MSPs provide you with robust network security. They ensure that your systems aren’t compromised by malicious issues such as phishing attacks, malware attacks , and ransomware.
- Improved Productivity: MSPs take the responsibility for a predetermined set of IT services for your business. These services include routine maintenance, software protection, IT projects, and data integration. Simply put, MSPs takes off the task of dealing with complicated technological issues from you. This, in turn, helps you focus on your core business and increase your business’s productivity.
- Single Point of Contact: MSPs keep all your data and services at a single place. This doesn’t only increase the operational efficiency and productivity of your business, but also facilitates easy management of your IT system.
What’s the Difference between Hardware and Software IT Support?
MSPs provide both hardware and software maintenance IT services. Here are the major differences between the two.
- Hardware IT support include preventive and remedial measures that include contract maintenance and per-incident repair. As far as software IT support is concerned, it includes long term and pays as you go support contracts.
- Hardware support also provides online and technical troubleshooting and assistance for set up. On the other hand, software support includes remote troubleshooting and support provided through telephone and online channels.
How to Know It’s Time to Go for Managed Services?
How Managed IT Services Providers Can Help Your Company’s IT Networks?
- Security Vulnerabilities: Companies face a lot of security vulnerabilities such as malware, hidden backdoor programs, unknown security bugs in software or programming interfaces, and phishing attacks. Managed IT services providers can help businesses counter these security vulnerabilities. Here’s how MSPs reinforce IT security for businesses.
1. Remote Monitoring:
Remote monitoring keeps a continuous check on a company’s critical systems and actions of a business’ IT infrastructure. The constant analysis helps in determining if all the systems are functioning properly or not. It also identifies the risk of threats and anomaly by figuring out troublesome patterns.
2. Perimeter Management:
It is also a remote service that consists of firewalls and intrusion detection systems. The perimeter management secures installation, upgradation and maintenance processes too.
3. Vulnerability and Penetration Testing:
Vulnerability testing works towards simulating hacking attacks and software scans to address the vulnerabilities of the system. The testing process focuses on the perimeter and the loopholes that hackers may use to enter the system without any authorization.
Penetration testing is used to augment a web application firewall (WAF). It analyzes the attempt to breach various application systems such as application protocol interfaces, frontend and backend services.
This analysis helps in uncovering vulnerabilities such as unsanitized inputs susceptible to code injection attacks. The results of the test can be used to update the WAF security policies.
4. Risk Assessment:
It helps businesses mitigate risks when sharing information with third-party vendors. It also addresses new threats to help businesses counter the risks.
5. Remote Compliance Monitoring
It assists businesses in running their operations smoothly without encountering regulatory issues. It measures and monitors governance, risk and compliance and assists businesses in establishing an important connection between robust compliance processes and tangible business outcomes.
6. Endpoint Protection
It ensures that all the access points on the business’s network are protected. In other words, it makes sure that the business’s network is the same no matter how and from where its employees work.
- Less Downtime and Increased Productivity: Business downtime makes businesses lose their precious time and money. From missed opportunities and productivity loss to reputation damage and data loss, downtime can lead to a lot of issues. MSPs, with their proactive approach, reduce downtime effectively. They eliminate these issues before they occur by making use of a range of tools and services. Here’s how they do it.
1. Use State of the Art Equipment
MSPs have state of the art equipment that safeguards businesses from various threats. They make use of high-end firewalls, web-security gateways, email security solutions.
They also offer security features such as advanced threat protection and intrusion prevention systems to mitigate cyber attacks such as malware, phishing, SQL injection, and more.
MSPs can mitigate threats instantly, thereby reducing an organization’s downtime considerably.
2. Provide Seamless Data Backup
MSPs provide storage backups to address unforeseen situations effectively. They keep multiple copies of your backup data on different locations. Therefore, if your primary backup data gets corrupted , you can always retrieve them through data stored from a different location and reduce the downtime.
- Support for Employees Travelling or Working after Hours: MSPs manage cloud hosting to enable organizations to share and access resources across a remote network. These resources include databases, hardware, and software tools. They provide endless support to employees travelling or working remotely. The employees can access business data from any place and any device. This, in turn, allows businesses to function seamlessly with maximum productivity and minimum hindrance.
- Ongoing Maintenance and Updates: MSPs provide round the clock monitoring and maintenance of your network assets. They also have endpoint anti-virus and anti-malware services as a layered security approach. MSPs provide automated patch management too. It ensures that your network is up to date with the latest security features. They also provide technology roadmaps that work towards your business growth.
What Are the Factors to Consider While Choosing a Service Provider?
How to Select the Right Managed Service Provider?
- Response Times: MSPs should give you a proper estimate of their response times in any kind of situation. It will give you an idea about the time they will take to fix the issues that arise in the future.
- Longevity: MSPs can be around your business as long as you want them to be. You can analyze their history by searching for press releases , checking references and asking for financial statements.
- Ticketing System: MSPs should provide you with a consistent customer support system. This is where the MSP ticketing system comes in handy. It makes use of IT helpdesk software to manage the client’s request. The ticketing system streamlines support systems across multiple channels. It also automates repetitive tasks and assigns customer request tickets to relevant experts. It facilitates extensive collaboration between support agents and processes client requests instantly.
- Internal Culture and Company Environment: In the words of the famous management consultant, Peter Drucker “Culture eats strategy for lunch”. He meant that no matter how good your management strategy is, you will fail to achieve your goals if your organization’s culture is weak. Remember, MSPs are an integral part of your workforce strategy. They work towards managing a large population of workers who impact your business. Keep this aspect in mind when selecting your MSP. Make sure their corporate culture aligns with your organization’s culture.
- Cost of Services: You should know about the cost of services provided by the MSPs. Do not opt for MSPs who charge by the hour. Instead, choose such MSPs who charge flat fees for certain services. For such MSPs, doing their job right is more important.
- Excellent Communication Skills: MSPs are responsible for informing and educating you and your employees about the technical issues that arise. They also need to keep you updated about different devices and the latest technologies. They can do so only if they have impeccable communication skills. They should be able to make you understand everything in a simple yet effective way. It will help you have a long lasting and successful business partnership with them.
- Understanding of the industry: You must find out if your MSP has real experience working in your industry or not. For instance, if you have a restaurant, then MSPs with food service industry experience will be able to serve you better. Having a clear understanding of the industry ensures that MSPs are able to foresee potential issues while anticipating your operational needs.
- Build Trust and Local Presence: You will require a trustworthy MSP to manage your business. You must evaluate the efficiency and quality of services. You can do so by analyzing their track record in terms of performance. You should also ask them if they have a local presence or not. Local presence ensures physical availability. It is important in case you need technicians to come to your company to maintain your technology infrastructure.
Pricing Models of Managed IT Services for Businesses
Managed IT services have 7 pricing models. The pricing of each of these models depends on the services you acquire.
1. Value-Based Pricing
It is a comprehensive, flat-fee model that provides IT services for all the elements of a business.
2. Per-Device Pricing
It provides monitoring services for specific devices such as mobile devices and desktop systems. Businesses are charged with a price for each of the devices that’s combined with the plan.
3. Tiered Pricing
Tiered pricing offers a plethora of services. This plan offers a different bundle of services with increasing prices. Simply put, the prices increase with each new service that’s added.
4. Per User Pricing
It works on the lines of p -device pricing. The only difference Per-User covers the IT needs of each employee and the devices they use.
5. Monitoring Only Pricing
It analyzes the network and provides alerting services to the businesses. However, it doesn’t mitigate the issues that arise.
6. All-You-Can-Eat Pricing
It provides a comprehensive service model. It offers remote support, on-site support, and lab or bench time. All these services are available for a flat fee per month.
7. A-La-Carte Pricing
It allows businesses to pick the IT services they are willing to include in their contract. From Disaster Recovery Planning to managed backup services and patch management, it offers all the IT services.
About InsideOut Networking’s Managed IT Services
As a Metro Detroit computer support company, InsideOut Networking understands the critical aspect of managing IT services. We work seamlessly towards helping, protecting and keeping your systems updated.
Simply put, we assist our clients in focussing on their business while taking on the technological issues in our realm. Here’s a look at our various managed IT services.
- Identify that there is a good fit
- We work with companies that are looking for a true partnership.
- Our goal is to give our clients the best of IT services. We closely emulate what is like to have an in-house team. We care deeply about our clients, just like the rest of their teams.
- Our service is designed to take full responsibility for all IT issues. We directly manage and maintain the assets and processes related to network components and computers. We also manage the relationship with other technology partners, such as a phone partner, printer leasing partner, and software support partners for specific business software assets.
- Define an IT infrastructure that aligns with company goals
- We organize interviews with clients to understand their business goals.
- Further, we do a field review where our team member evaluates the company and gathers information on the current business state.
- We give an outline to our clients with recommendations to reorganize the infrastructure design in order to meet the company goals and objectives.
- Optimize and standardize all assets
- We realign all computers and network equipment based on the infrastructure design reorganized above.
- We prepare computers and servers for IT management through processes designed to optimize and secure them
- We review, optimize, and secure network components.
- We discover and document roles for critical assets. For instance, we analyze and document if a VPN is running on the primary firewall router or if the main server is hosting file sharing.
- We maintain inventory while labeling and documenting everything.
- Develop IT management procedures unique to the company
- As a managed IT services company, we understand that each client is different. As an IT department, it is our responsibility to effectively manage IT in a way that best serves the company’s overall needs.
- We work with the other teams such as Human Resource, Finance, and more to develop procedures that our team will be responsible for. These procedures include:
- New hiring procedure such as setting up email and network accounts.
- Termination procedure consisting of closing out accounts and archiving user data.
- Work from home IT policy.
- Standard workstation purchase in policy
- Manage and maintain the computer and network assets
- We offer a help desk line along with direct phone extensions and emails that reaches all members of our support team.
- Automated alerts are sent out when issues like virus activity or hardware failures are detected.
- Our entire support team works to create a ticket and respond to it as soon as possible whenever we receive a request or an alert. We respond typically within 30 minutes.
- We cover all the maintenance with our flat-rate system. These maintenance tasks can be done remotely, over the phone, or on-site. A lot of daily IT needs fall under maintenance.
- Manage IT projects (additions and changes)
- Our team provides assistance with all the IT related issues just like an in-house IT team.
- We can add to or change the IT infrastructure as and when needed by a business. We are always there to help plan and manage all the business projects.
- Planning Meetings
- As your IT team, we stay updated with the changing requirements of the company
- We are available through calls and meetings where an IT presence would be helpful, such as when choosing new ERP software.
- We schedule quarterly meetings with decision makers to solicit feedback on our performance. We also recommend and implement changes to the infrastructure.
- Data Backup
- We install and configure backup software to back up full snapshots of the system at regular intervals.
- We also take a full backup of the device settings and firmware for easy recovery of data when required.
- We store historical backups of all critical assets both on-site and off-site. It provides maximum security and protection of data.
In the End
Ultimately, whether or not to work with a Managed Services Provider is up to each individual small business. If this is something that you’d like to explore with your Detroit area business, I encourage you to get in touch with me or a team member at InsideOut Networking.
I’m Dave Goodenough. I started InsideOut Networking in 2004 with the idea that if we could cut through all the jargon and tech speak and just have real conversations about computers and technology, we could help a lot of people out and develop long-term relationships with our clients.
Today, we have over 2,500 clients who trust us to make sure their computers are always up to date and protected from security threats, allowing them to do exactly what they need. If you’d like to find out if we can help your business, please contact us today.