A History of Managed Services
To provide some background on how Managed Service came to exist.
Our customers often start with small networks which in the past have been hamstrung by the lack of tools to help with problems. These networks developed as simple systems, usually built by a self-taught network amateur-turned-pro. Maintenance was break-fix only, meaning when something broke, they called a company like ours and we came running to fix it… hopefully.
As time went on, the best of the support people developed procedures and programs to periodically come on-site to do a system review of logs and user information looking for hints of issues before they became big problems.
The problem of course, was that the support people could only see what was happening on that particular day. If something happened later, they would never know about it … unless the customer called.
Traditional backup procedures were manual and rarely, which frequently resulted in days or more of missed backups. The process was prone to other human errors and when recovery was needed, the harsh reality of the problems were exposed.
Managed Services for small to medium sized businesses
The Managed Services software that is in place today allows providers to work towards two major goals:
- Everything on your network that will result in a user symptom or risk will send an alert before or when it happens, and the TBI NOC will know about it.
- Every alert we get is something important and needs to be addressed.
The more closely we can get to these two goals, the more we can get away from treating “everything being an emergency” situations.
Why the hype?
Just like larger companies, small businesses need technology to operate efficiently and effectively. But as reliance on IT grows, the resources needed to support this increasingly complex IT environment may not. In many small businesses, IT resources are limited and can be quickly overwhelmed.
If you fall behind in keeping up with things such as backups, patches and security, the odds greatly increase that you’ll face an IT outage or another problem down the road that will negatively impact your business. For instance, if your Email server, financial application or network goes down, you will likely face substantial productivity and revenue losses as a result.
Managed Services vs. The Break-Fix Mentality
Managed services require a philosophical change in the way that a business deals with its technology. Instead of following the old-school tradition of break-fix (literally meaning wait until the server, desktops or other critical networking devices fail, then scramble to fix them), a business operating with TBI focuses on the prevention of these issues before they disrupt employees, management and/or clients.
Break-fix is no longer good enough for your business
Today, no business can really afford the risk and uncertainty of relying on a “Break-fix maintenance service” because your business is too dependent on having a reliable IT system. Furthermore, having separate suppliers responsible for different parts of the system puts you in the difficult position of trying to decide who should be delivering the service you require. You simply do not have time for this.
Do Managed Services Cost More Than Traditional Break-Fix Services?
Actually no! Surprisingly most managed services cost less than traditional break-fix services, especially when including the true cost of downtime. Remote monitoring, remote maintenance and the prevention of major issues allow a managed services provider to be more efficient than a similar break-fix company who is constantly rolling a truck to visit customer sites. Therefore the managed service company can offer a “better” service without charging more.
The Real Benefits Of Managed Services
Put in simple terms – one of the biggest benefits of Managed Services is discovering and fixing problems before they can negatively affect your business.
A well maintained, proactively serviced computer network will always run better than the alternative. With proactive network monitoring, patch management, and desktop optimization performed on a regular basis, you will notice a tremendous difference in operations… and you will reap the benefits of preventing fires, rather than fighting them.
Reduced costs: Businesses are also able to control and reduce their overall operating costs with the flat-fee billing model. Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support is a reality
24-hour monitoring: Because the Managed Services provider also manages all of your vendor relationships, issues with internet slowness/outages, printers, phones, cell phones, websites are dealt with directly with the vendor by the Managed Service provider. As a result of this “always-eyes-on” network monitoring 24 hours per day, businesses experience an additional level of comfort and security.
Benefits Of Managed Services:
- Increased operational efficiency
- Reduced operating costs
- Cost-effective access to enterprise-level support
- Minimized downtime
- Allows the focus to be on running the business, and not the technology
adding another monthly fee wasn’t exactly what you were looking for …?
We can clearly understand and relate to that mode of thinking. In this day and age it feels like every company we deal with is trying to figure out a way to squeeze more money out of us — especially on a monthly basis. IT support services is not immune to this change in business climate.
But that being said, Managed Services is a way for businesses to eliminate problems before they ever occur, manage their IT budgets better, and create a solid long-term partnership with an IT firm that is protecting one of their most important assets… their data.
Which type of maintenance do you currently have?
If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, you are utilizing a break-fix methodology to maintain your network, and may benefit from a managed service methodology without costing you more.
- Do you find out immediately if your data back-up fails to run?
- Do you know which equipment on your network is aging and might need replacing in the next 6 months?
- Do you know if your server and all of your desktops have the latest anti-virus updates installed and are functioning correctly?
- Do you know if the latest security patches have been installed on your network?
- Do you know who the heaviest internet users are, and whether they are downloading large files which can slow down the network, or accessing inappropriate web sites?
- Do you know which PCs are running out of memory, affecting user performance?
- Do you have one number to call for all of your technology service requirements?
- Do you only hear from your computer guys “after” things break?