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What Is Managed IT Services?

by Edvard Berlusconi

Operational efficiency is vital to any business regardless of size and industry. One critical component is its IT infrastructure. Unfortunately, not all enterprises are equally capable to maintain their IT. Many small businesses operate on limited resources and are unable to meet their IT needs. Any IT glitch increases the risk of a breach or outage. Managed IT service is one way these businesses can address their technology needs.

The origins of managed services

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Managed services date back to the 1990s. Back in the days, businesses relied on the break-fix model, wherein an IT specialist will be called up only when their machines are down. Initially, this model worked but as technology began to ramp up and business operations become dependent on technology, its glaring deficiencies became more apparent.

It could take months or a major malfunction before an IT specialist was called in to check IT systems. And since the machines needed more troubleshooting, it often cost hefty bills and required long repair time and downtime. Simply put, the break/fix model was unreliable, costly and inefficient.

Realizing the changing IT needs, many break/fix IT companies started to offer continuous service delivery payable at flat rate fees and came with service-level agreements. This guaranteed businesses continuous IT management at a justifiable cost.

This new business model proved beneficial to both parties. Managed IT service providers found more incentives to keep their clients satisfied. On the other hand, companies benefited from fewer malfunctions and downtime, improved efficiency, and increased productivity. Considering the numerous advantages of managed IT services, its rise to popularity is not entirely surprising. And while technology has radically evolved, this model has remained unchanged and is still proven effective.

Nowadays, the managed services market is among the fastest-growing IT sectors. In 2019, the managed services market was valued at around $186 billion and is estimated to grow to $356.24 billion by 2025. Aside from major tech companies such as IBM and Accenture, there are many local service providers that cater to numerous small- and medium-sized businesses.

Why are managed IT services so wildly successful? Let’s take a deeper look into it.

What is managed IT services?

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According to Verticomm, basically, managed IT services allow an organization to outsource its IT operations to an expert third-party provider, also known as Managed Services Provider (MSP). MSPs specialize in handling business IT systems, either its entirety or portions of it. Service Level Agreement (SLA) outlines the duties and responsibilities of the MSP and client, the degree of coverage, and metrics for evaluating the success of these services. The cost of service is also defined in the SLA. Usually, MSPs charge a flat fee payable over an agreed period of time.

Typically, MSP provide round-the-clock maintenance, monitoring, troubleshooting, reporting, and other IT-related services as agreed in the SLA. Some of the most commonly outsourced computing and IT related processes include managed IT security, IT infrastructure, and cloud computing.

According to a specialist at Firewall Technical, MSPs are able to resolve issues more efficiently because of the combined expertise of their team alongside the enormous investment they put into upgrading their capability. Unlike break/fix providers, MSPs utilize the latest software and strategies to proactively monitor IT system, keeping them updated and preventing issues.

Aside from the day-to-day tech concerns, managed IT services can provide business owners and decision-makers with useful insight on their IT systems based from traffic patterns, data, and activities. This allows you to make proactive and strategic decisions that can boost your business performance. MSPs work closely with their clients to craft strategic projects to address both the current and future IT needs of the business. Through these meetings, they can plan for future needs and align their technology with the overall goals of their clients.

How are managed IT services delivered?

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There are three primary ways MSPs deliver their services. The most common method is through remote access. The MSP monitors your on-premises IT solutions and network remotely through the use of electronic “agents” embedded into your IT system. This technology collects trending data, checks for issues, and sends reports to the MSP’s data center for continuous monitoring. Some MSPs use advanced remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) platforms to manage your IT systems and their internal operations.

Another method is through cloud-based infrastructure and application services hosted from the MSPs data center. In this method, businesses can access the infrastructure via the Internet. Last is the hybrid delivery method that combines on-premises monitoring and cloud-based technology.

The advent of cloud computing has even broadened the capabilities and reach of MSPs. The adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies, as well as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), allows managed IT service providers to work remotely with clients, even beyond borders and regions. It also enables MSPs to scale their services at a dramatically larger and faster than break/fix providers and in-house tech departments can offer. In fact, according to CompTIA, the majority of MSPs (about 96%) support cloud-based services.

Final Thoughts

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Managed IT services is a continuously evolving industry that continues to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses. Its advantages over break-fix methodology and in-house IT department are easy to see. Managed services offer cost-efficiency in terms of personnel, hardware and software costs; collaboration with experienced IT specialists; access to highly-specialized and superior technologies; and timely update, maintenance, and troubleshooting of your technologies. Ultimately, by outsourcing IT operations to a reliable tech provider, you can focus on more important matters instead of being hindered by recurrent IT concerns.

Managed IT services sector is growing at an unprecedented rate. And as businesses migrate to cyberspace, the demand for managed services is expected to grow even more in the years to come. The cutthroat competition within the market pushes MSPs to invest heavily in their capabilities and infrastructure to ensure forward-looking technologies and guarantee the best services to their clients. This proves advantageous to customers as they get quality, cost-effective services.

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