New technological developments can promote innovation and efficiency, but they can also cause significant IT headaches. This is particularly true for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), which are rarely equipped to handle the complications of modern IT. Hence, the value of managed IT services, which are increasingly relied upon by businesses across a vast range of industries.
Companies that once depended on in-house IT teams now often look to managed providers to handle a variety of time-consuming tasks. This market has expanded significantly in recent years and will likely continue to see impressive growth.
Those who rely on managed services often highlight the flexibility and cost-efficiency of this approach. Others are primarily determined to ramp up business security – an understandable concern, as recent cybersecurity reports reveal that half of SMBs suffered breaches within the past year. The beauty of managed services? They can address both goals, while also allowing SMBs to focus on a myriad of other IT priorities.
Regardless of your organization’s current objectives, you only stand to benefit from implementing managed services into your overarching IT strategy. However, you’ll first want to understand the vast array of services available – and which are most capable of addressing your company’s current needs.
Common Types of Managed IT Services
Managed services can take many forms. While they generally involve assistance from outside IT experts, their purpose may differ considerably based on the specific needs of the organization in question. The following are among the most popular offerings for SMBs:
Network and System Monitoring
Far too many businesses rely on reactive measures, only addressing IT concerns after they require costly fixes. With network and system monitoring, emerging issues can be caught long before they cause significant problems.
Often, effective system monitoring is achieved through an approach known as remote monitoring and management (RMM). This proactive solution allows IT service providers to monitor networks and devices from remote locations via locally installed agents that can be accessed as needed. With RMM, it’s possible to configure devices, install patches, complete diagnostics, and provide reports from afar. This streamlined solution provides a more affordable means of keeping tabs on IT concerns.
Digital threats are everywhere, with news of major breaches hitting headlines almost every day. While small business breaches receive less publicity, they are often more damaging. According to the U.S. National Cyber Security Alliance, an alarming 60 percent of small companies go out of business following an attack. Thankfully, a proactive security protocol can greatly reduce the potential for data breaches.
Managed service providers (MSPs) play a vital role in implementing and maintaining essential security solutions, such as:
- Malware Detection and Remediation
- Installation Services for Secure Business Firewalls and Routers
- Endpoint Security for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Facilities
- Email Security Services (ESS)
- Software and Hardware Updates
Security and threat assessments may also be provided to ensure that businesses are equipped to handle tomorrow’s most urgent concerns. This forward-thinking approach to security can help companies avoid an ever-expanding array of digital threats.
If your business is struggling to keep up with a multitude of necessary software and firmware updates, you may benefit from managed system upgrade services. This solution can dramatically improve overall efficiency while also ensuring that your network remains fully equipped to handle emerging security concerns. Upgrades are notoriously time-consuming and can be difficult to roll out. As such, business software often remains woefully out of date. However, if MSPs handle this essential task, internal employees will have more time to focus on other important matters.
Business Data Backup and Disaster Recovery
While security management and system upgrades can play a key role in reducing the potential for breaches, they may not address all potential sources of data loss. Natural disasters, for example, can easily wipe out data that has not been properly backed up. Unfortunately, many busy professionals fail to complete full backups nearly as often as required, leaving their data vulnerable. Likewise, theft can cripple SMBs that only utilize on-premise storage solutions.
In the worst-case scenario, backup and disaster recovery (BDR) can spell the difference between an annoying but manageable situation – and a complete catastrophe. Managed cloud backup ensures that sensitive data is always available, regardless of the current circumstances. This grants business leaders considerable peace of mind. Plus, cloud storage solutions are far more cost-effective than physical onsite backups.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) can deliver easy access to a variety of programs for a fraction of the usual cost. This represents a highly affordable solution for small businesses that require – but cannot afford – comprehensive software solutions. In addition to removing the upfront cost of installation, this pay-as-you-go approach allows companies to avoid the waste of underutilized licensing. Considerable time savings are also available under SaaS, which streamlines both installation and maintenance. Furthermore, this tactic minimizes the potential for compatibility issues between departments.
In today’s data-driven environment, businesses can benefit significantly from managed analytics, which delivers valuable insights without requiring significant time investments. Equipped with detailed data, companies can better understand the various strengths and weaknesses of their current IT solutions. From there, business leaders can make informed decisions regarding software updates, security protocols, and other essentials. Analytics help businesses understand what’s working now – and how they can plan for the future.
Factors to Consider When Selecting Managed Services for Your Business
Not all managed service provisions are strictly necessary for every business. Ideally, your company will turn to an MSP that offers a customized approach. That way, you can select the exact solutions your business requires, rather than waste your limited resources on redundancies. As you make this important decision, keep the following factors in mind:
- Does your organization currently employ any IT professionals? What do their responsibilities entail? Could a managed service provider cover any gaps – or do you require a more comprehensive solution?
- Where can internal IT staff members shift their focus if specific tasks are handled via managed services?
- Does your potential MSP offer a wide range of solutions? Are advisory services available to help you determine which offerings will prove most valuable for your business?
- Which services are most valued within your industry? Is your preferred provider equipped to handle the unique concerns related to your sector?
Ultimately, the ideal managed services setup will allow your business to achieve peak efficiency and security while keeping long-term costs to a minimum. Whether you run a law firm or a construction company, your MSP should be capable of addressing your organization’s specific IT concerns. Think carefully about which services can provide the greatest return on investment – and what the potential cost could be if you neglect to invest in critical IT solutions.
NerdsToGo Provides Top IT Services for Small Businesses
Are you ready to get started with managed services? Look to NerdsToGo for assistance every step of the way. We offer a variety of small business IT solutions designed to make your life easier. Check out our IT support FAQ or contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about our approach to remote monitoring services.