The answer to this question depends upon who you ask. If you ask a vendor who claims to be a managed services provider (MSP), there’s a good chance the definition you hear will sound exactly the same as that vendor’s marketing materials.
If you ask the average small to midsize business owner or IT manager, their definition of managed services will probably sound a lot like the traditional break-fix model of IT support. Instead of having an in-house IT person dealing with support issues, simply pay a monthly fee to an MSP to put out those fires.
Unfortunately, both of these explanations fail to capture the true value and purpose of managed services. More than IT support, the goal of managed services is to proactively improve the IT environment. How can we improve the delivery of IT services? How can we improve and maintain the performance of mission-critical applications? How can we improve threat detection to prevent a data breach? How can we improve the business continuity plan to minimize downtime?
Managed services is not about seeing how quickly technology can be fixed after it fails. Managed services is about continuous optimization. Through 24x7 monitoring, an MSP can troubleshoot and resolve IT issues before they have a noticeable impact on the user experience, the customer experience and everyday business functions. An MSP also recognizes how certain systems, applications and infrastructure can affect other areas of the IT environment, which allows them to reduce the risk of business disruption by connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated issues.
As a result, users will spend less time contacting support and more time doing what they’re paid to do. Not only will users be more productive, but they’ll be more confident that the tools and services will reliably support the tasks their jobs require. This reduces the risk of users obtaining their own tools and services without the knowledge of IT.
From a security and compliance perspective, an MSP has the expertise, advanced tools and investigative resources to identify both internal and external threats and distinguish legitimate threats from false positives. They can then generate and analyze regular reports and apply insights to further enhance an organization’s IT security position.
Beyond day-to-day monitoring and optimization, an MSP can play a critical role in the development and execution of an organization’s overarching IT strategy. This involves assessing IT infrastructure and services, identifying areas of need and the right solutions to address those deficiencies, prioritizing IT investments, and ensuring those investments are aligned with business goals and processes. An MSP can then help the organization implement best practices to maintain high levels of performance, maximize efficiency and reduce the risk of downtime.
Ultimately, managed services isn’t just a marketing buzzword, and it shouldn’t be mistaken for IT support. The right MSP can deliver tremendous business value that translates to a stronger brand and a competitive edge. Consequently, you should dig deeper than marketing claims and price tags when choosing an MSP. Look for industry-specific experience. Ask potential MSPs to demonstrate their monitoring, security and compliance capabilities. Request proof of their contributions to their customers’ IT strategies. Find out how accessible they are. Verify all of this information by contacting references.
Verteks helps small to midsize businesses take full advantage of managed services, both operationally and strategically. Let us show you how managed services from Verteks enables you to get more value from your IT investments while reducing risk and improving performance and productivity.