The Separate Components of Managed IT Services
Your IT infrastructure includes the composite software, hardware, network resources and other services needed to operate and manage an enterprise IT environment. Every business needs some type of IT infrastructure, and large companies like Amazon and IBM have quite extensive IT resources. They need the biggest and best hardware because they run large software programs that handle services for millions of customers.
Today there are over 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers, so you can just imagine the level of services that Amazon must supply to its customers each day. Your business may only have a few thousand customers so you won’t need that level of IT infrastructure in order to meet their needs. However, it’s important that your customers get their goods and services on time.
That’s how you build your business; by delivering great products and services in a timely manner. So, no matter whether you have 1,000 customers or 50,000, you must provide excellent service and reliable products. In order to do this, you’ll need the right hardware, software and network services.
How Do Managed IT Services Work?
The field of Managed IT Services was developed to help companies manage their IT infrastructure. The reason for this is simple. You may be a great business owner with lots of experience in your field, but chances are that you don’t know a thing about Oracle servers. You may not even know the difference between a proxy server and an email server. This is a very specialized field that takes years of training and education, and most business owners would prefer to focus on running their company.
Of course, you can hire a couple of IT people and designate one area of your workplace as the IT department. This is originally what some business owners do. But over time, it often becomes too expensive. IT professionals usually want high salaries. They want vacations, sick leave, and insurance; plus they need regular training and certification courses so they can stay current on the latest technology breakthroughs.
Is There An Alternative?
Managed IT Services in Boston give you the opportunity to have an entire team of well-trained IT gurus working for you for one predictable monthly price. You can reclaim that space in your building or just keep one or two IT people around for day-to-day issues, like when a computer freezes up. Many company owners have found that they benefit from having a professional team of IT people when they need them without the cost of huge salaries. And, outsourcing your IT needs means that you can always count on having the help you need when it comes to your IT infrastructure.
You might need help migrating your data to the Cloud. This isn’t a problem for an experienced Managed IT Services company. Or you may need advice about the best CRM to improve your day-to-day operations.
Below are a few more services that most IT service companies offer:
Helpdesk managed support is standard in many contracts. However, you’ll need to know if the managed services company is local or if they only provide remote support. If your current IT services are cloud-based, then remote support should be adequate.
Also, pay close attention to the hours of Helpdesk Support stated in your Service Level Agreement. If they don’t offer 24/7 support, then you need to confirm that their support covers your business hours and weekends if required.
Security is so important these days. Your Managed IT Services provider should have a comprehensive plan detailing how cybersecurity is addressed. Their procedure must include:
- Firewall settings
- Intrusion detection & prevention
- Encryption at the file level
- How those services are carried out
Every part of your IT system, including network monitoring must be covered under the Service Level Agreement. Control plays a critical role, especially with network vulnerabilities that can disrupt your network.
The Managed IT Services provider will typically remotely monitor your IT system for reliability and security. However, you’ll want to ask if this covers mobile devices, virtual machines, and remote users. Network monitoring must also include intrusion detection and prevention, along with firewall control and configuration.
Disaster Recovery Plan
Check the Service Level Agreement to make sure a disaster recovery plan comes standard. If not, ask to have it added. A complete per-location, disaster recovery plan is a must. If disaster strikes your business, you’ll want immediate access to your backups and a recovery plan that will get you back online quickly.
When reviewing Managed IT Services agreements, always ask how your data is backed up and stored. You may have an on-premises physical backup, but many providers back up data both on-premises and in the Cloud. These are areas that will be important if your system is affected by a data breach or physical disaster like a fire in your office. If the provider backs up your data to the Cloud, you’ll want to know:
- How secure the cloud backup solution is.
- If their backup is hosted on a public or private cloud server.
- If they use a public cloud, will they consider using a private cloud for your backups?
- If your data isn’t backed up in the Cloud, where will the backups be stored?
What Other Questions Should We Ask?
When discussing what’s covered in a Managed IT Services contract, it would help to create a list of questions to ask beforehand. Below are just a few you might consider:
- What is the expected level of performance?
- How often is maintenance performed?
- What type of damage does and doesn’t get covered?
- Who performs the maintenance, and how do they do it?
- If you are assigned a dedicated technician, how can you stay in touch with them?
- Who is responsible if the equipment gets damaged during maintenance?
When you’re in the market to hire a managed service provider, remember to ask them to explain how each service component will be delivered to your organization. It’s important to understand everything so that your relationship will be positive and long-lasting. You want the assurance that whoever you select will meet and exceed your expectations. This will give you the peace of mind you need to stop stressing over your IT and return to running your company.
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