How to Get Great Managed IT Services & Not Break the Bank

Nathan Kaufman // December 11 // 0 Comments

What is

Managed IT Services

If you’re wondering what Managed IT Services is or what a Managed IT Service Provider actually does for your business, this post is for you. A managed IT services company provides IT support and services to keep your business operational, optimized, and secure. They typically support businesses in the following areas:

  • Break/Fix IT Support
  • Helpdesk Support
  • Managed Backups and Disaster Recovery
  • Managed Cybersecurity
  • Managed Servers and Networking
  • Strategic Technology Planning and Digital Transformation
  • Cloud Services and Support

The Nuts and Bolts of Managed IT Services

Break/Fix IT Support

Break/Fix IT Support is when something once worked and is now broken and needs to be fixed. An example of a break/fix is when Todd the new intern accidentally deletes all the company’s treasured dog photos. A technician would determine the solution to the problem, which in this case would be restoring from backup, and solve the problem. Good thing for Todd (and the company) there was a backup of the dog photos that could be restored.

Helpdesk Support

Helpdesk Support is the first line of IT support and is typically who your staff interacts with the most. Ideally you would want the support not be an automated system with 67 menus to dial through before you reach a person that then hangs up on you because their shift is over. You want quality, fast, and reliable helpdesk support that answers the phone, is knowledgeable, and helps resolve your issues quickly on the first call, which is what we offer with our Managed IT Services.

Managed Backups and Disaster Recovery

Managed backups and disaster recovery services is taking care of the daily operations to monitor and maintain your backups. If an issue comes up with your backups the managed backup service provider would resolve the issue and provide solutions if something else is needed. The disaster recovery portion is testing backups and planning with company leadership on what they need to keep business continuity when a disaster happens.

Managed Cybersecurity

Managed Cybersecurity is crucial to protecting your data and keeping your business reputation. Managed cybersecurity, which is also included in our Managed IT Services, provides your business with the advanced protection needed to help prevent hacks and provide you with the peace of mind that your business is well protected. Our managed cybersecurity also helps meet cybersecurity insurance policy requirements.

Managed Servers and Networking

Managing your servers and network equipment can be overwhelming. That’s why there’s managed IT service providers to help keep your servers and network gear running at their best, ensure they’re backed up, and monitor your systems proactively to take care of them before any issues creep up. We can even plan for Todd the intern to upload all his college lecture videos to the share drive and stop him from doing it, so it doesn’t fill up the drive again. Poor Todd, he really should take a using a computer 101 class at school.

Strategic Technology Planning and Digital Transformation

Having a strategic technology planning partner is good for deciding what technology is best for your organization. Knowing what it will take to where you want to go and the pitfalls to avoid is not an easy task. What cloud solutions are the best for your business? Should you even move to the cloud? Can my coffee maker be monitored? These tough questions and more can be answered by our experienced IT professionals.

Strategic Technology Planning and Digital Transformation

Going to the cloud and what cloud service offerings can be leveraged by your business is always evolving. There’s new cloud services that can be utilized and which one is the best to go with can be overwhelming. Using a cloud experienced expert helps take the burden off your shoulders and can guide you in the right direction weighing out the pros and cons of each solution.

The Pros and Cons of Managed IT Services

Which One Will You Choose?

Pros

  • Experts to support your business
  • Strategic partner in planning IT
  • Peace of mind backups and support
  • Consistent monthly bill for IT service
  • Occasional free lunch specials

Cons

  • Failing at doing everything yourself
  • Not being well protected from hackers
  • Losing data from improper backups
  • Out of control & unplanned expenses
  • Employees revolting against Todd

Summary:

Choosing the right Managed IT Service Provider (MSP) can be challenging. Now that you know about the typical offerings of an MSP you can compare services of your current provider or make a better educated decision when picking one. Below are some questions to help you with the process of picking the right Managed IT Service Provider for your business.

Questions to ask an MSP:

How can your company help our business be more secure and save on costs when doing so?

With this question you want to be asked a few questions so the MSP can understand your business better. They would follow up with something like: Do you have any compliance requirements or government contracts? Do you have cybersecurity insurance, and if so, when does it renew? What do you use currently? When can we do an assessment to understand your needs more fully?

A good MSP wants to understand you first before they offer solutions. Some areas they can save money for you on is bundling cloud services with security you are already paying for or help save on hardware costs. Typical MSP's can get up to 40% to 60% off MSRP with server and storage hardware and can pass those savings on to you, if they charge a lot for hardware or want to force you in long term contracts. They probably aren't the right fit.

What are your service offerings?

Most MSP's have a few different packaged options. They are usually like the ones below:

  • Break/Fix - This can sometimes be billed with blocks of hours for retainer
  • Remote Monitoring and Management with Break/Fix
    • (Lower cost monthly per computer which usually includes basic monitoring of computer systems health, antivirus, and remote support + hourly rates) 
  • Fully Managed with Help Desk for consistent monthly costs
    • This option includes everything to support your business, Help Desk, Cybersecurity, Backups, Network support, server support, cloud support

Most MSP's offer the packages above and charge differently for Fully Managed items. Projects are usually billed separately but are sometimes included in the Fully Managed or at a discounted rate.

What kind of liability insurance does your company have?

You want to make sure the company supporting your business has the right kind of insurance. They should have at a minimum at least a general liability insurance. Additional coverages would include cybersecurity and errors and omissions.

How do you qualify your employees and vendors?

You'll want to make sure they have a policy in place to evaluate vendors they choose to do business with. Who they choose will also likely be supporting your business. You'll want to make sure they pick good, quality employees and vendors. If they don't have a policy or are unwilling to share, then they might not be a good fit. Having a good supply chain is very important now days.

About the Author Nathan Kaufman

I'm excited to serve local businesses and the surrounding communities with amazing IT service and support. I have been in IT since the year 2000 with experience supporting small businesses on up to helping support large enterprise companies like AT&T. I am very knowledgeable in meeting compliance regulations such as HIPAA and CMMC. I help find solutions to business problems using technology. Contact Ethos Tech Consulting to find out how I can help your business thrive, keep well protected, and your IT supported.

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