Types of managed services

The scope of IT has widened significantly over the last few decades. It has undergone a massive shift from managing a handful of computers to managing company-wide usage of technology and instituting policies to safeguard the information exchanged between the client company and the managed service providers. This IT industrial boom has prompted most companies to outsource their IT departments to MSPs or create a separate branch for cybersecurity, maintenance, and management to help reduce the pressure on existing departments.

In this article, we explore the different types of managed services to conclude why an MSP is the way to go for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and large-scale businesses.

What are managed services?

Managed services are outsourced tasks that are carried out by managed service providers (MSPs). Most industrial sectors rely upon MSPs to ease their operations. It is a practice of availing managed services that include the responsibility of maintaining as well as improving operations, functions, and expenses of the client company or organization.

The functionalities of managed services allow client businesses to concentrate on mandatory operations and pivotal tasks while these service providers support the background work of managing other daily tasks. This consists of regularly updating and improving suggestions, infrastructure, connections, efficiency, output and reduces the risk of incidents.

IT managed services are utilized immensely nowadays. It is incredibly popular in the Industry with 64% of the companies and organizations utilizing managed services for a minimum of one IT functionality task.

Here are the ten reasons why one should avail the services of IT managed services.

  • Tackle the lack of having an Internal IT Team - IT service providers take care of all the technological and digital aspects of the client companies.
  • Increased Accessibility to cloud services - IT managed service providers increase the scope to avail cloud benefits.
  • Proactive approach to IT issues - dealing with IT issues is best done by experts and professionals. MSPs provide the clients with this service.
  • Access to cutting-edge technology and information - modern technologies and software are most efficiently deciphered and used by IT individuals which the MSPs provide with.
  • Lower workload on existing staff - the increased workforce of the MSPs reduces the workload of the employees of the client companies.
  • Peace of mind - assigning a certain workload to the managed services with the assurance of having them perfectly delivered provides the clients with peace of mind.
  • Remote handling of IT issues - even if some task has to be completed after work hours, remote handling of cases is facilitated by the MSPs. Their 24-hour work structure is super helpful in managing remote teams with round-the-clock support.
  • Cost savings - outsourcing work to managed service providers saves the cost of setting up in-house IT teams for the client companies.
  • Less business downtime - Managed service providers facilitate the tackling procedure of client companies in case they face downtime.
  • Improved security - MSPs with stringent asset policies, government compliances and state-of-the art network monitoring tools can greatly boost the network's security and safety.

Types of managed services

1. Cloud-based Service

Cloud-based managed services provide crucial IT support following a cloud model. They offer assistance in IT troubleshooting, data monitoring, responsive support, network building, and cybersecurity.

Cloud-based computing makes it very easy to store and access data as demanded. The data can be accessed on multiple devices without directly being managed by anyone in particular. Large clouds that are storing data are usually spread over several servers that are placed in different locations. This is done according to the convenience of scale that depends upon client business performance.

Clouds are robust technology enabling companies to run and operate their application faster without a constantly managing hand.

Related reading: How to become a cloud-first MSP

2. Data analytics services

Businesses that are looking for services to monitor data management use data analytics. These services provide business intelligence to target specific projects by creating a roadmap for increased efficiency and performance.

All  IT infrastructures and networks operate on large amounts of data that is gathered and organized in a format that is easily accessible in a large database (DB) or a compilation of databases. There are two major types of databases – first being relational databases (or SQL) that are available in table formats and contain sensitive information data like company sales or clients interaction; the second being non-relational databases (NoSQL) in which data is stored in a non-tabular format. NoSQL is used for detailed documentation of various kinds of data.

3. IT managed services

IT Managed Services models operate in planning the outsourced work of certain IT functionalities. It includes looking after the help desk or security services. These services are backed by a contract known as the Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The SLA guarantees that a certain level of service is provided to the client company or organization. They provide reconciliation services that follow any critical issues, downtime crises, or long-term problems.

The MSP operates with the tasks of updating, monitoring, and managing IT functions. MSPs also offer reporting services for technical tasks to ensure the maintenance of IT solutions. They provide reports on the intelligence data, and IT activities. This enables client’s business to profit and helps them make informed decisions. Managed service providers in recent years have spent enormous time and dedicated effort in widening the interactive time spent with their customers, investigating strategic issues apart from daily technical and IT issues.

4. Software as-a-Service (SaaS)

SaaS providers offer a software platform that is typically a subscription-based plan for client businesses. For example- Office 365, anti-virus software, and universal communication software.

5. Wireless mobile and computing services

An MSP that provides managed wireless and mobile computing services will carry out the tasks using wireless connections. This service is mostly useful in businesses that lack the capital and resources to invest. Plus, client organizations can use this service for managing internal networks.

6. Communication services

This service provides a wide range of infrastructure revolving around communication platforms like messaging software, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), data, or video. An MSP can operate as a third-party call center as well.

7. Network and IT infrastructure service

An MSP handles all of the network-related tasks for their clients. These include establishing LAN or WAP networks, various wireless connections, and required wireless infrastructures suitable for the client’s business. They can also manage the company’s backup and storage options.

8. Print services

Managed print services allow remote monitoring, updating, and management of a client organization in aspects of documentation. It also ensures transparency and control over client business printing services, allowing increased cost-efficiency as well as environmental sustainability.

9. Security services

This is an all-encompassing service for remote security infrastructure. It covers everything from basic data security solutions to anti-malware options. MSPs keep them updated on a regular basis to prevent any vulnerabilities.

10. Automation services

To stay competitive in the industry and increase client satisfaction, companies prefer to avail of automation services because it is pivotal in streamlining and expediting IT processes and IT infrastructure. This results in automatic updates, prediction and calculation of mandatory costs, the effectiveness of the schemes and projects, and shorter execution times of outsourced tasks.

Automated services help in channelizing important human energy and expertise to be directed towards other important functions.

11. Integration services

Enterprise application integration (or EAI) is one of the most important processes in an organization. It ensures a consistent flow of information across various systems and networks. EAI is user-friendly because of the consistent digital application interface that allows access to concerned and required data, helping the users to concentrate on other significant core activities.

EAI brings along a lot of crucial advantages, one of which is the provision for availing of instant real-time access to information. It also streamlines processes. Furthermore, the entire development and maintenance of the client company’s concerned operations are made easier and more convenient. This ensures smooth integration of the client business and IT processes. This also accelerates business by driving the innovations forward and helping in looking after the daily activities effectively and productively.

12. Support Service

This option typically covers all services related to IT assistance, starting from minor troubleshooting to dealing with advanced technical concerns.

Advantages of managed services

Managed Services has grown as an industry because outsourcing work has facilitated seamless functioning of the IT industry. Therefore, there are many advantages to an MSP. It is especially beneficial because MSPs allow a massive workforce to operate efficiently through division of labor. What's more, this gives rise to a better network and quick connections. Overall, both clients and service providers benefit mutually.

Let's look at the top advantages of investing in managed services:

  • Better cost control

The IT department consists of cost components that include buying and maintaining equipment, providing training to freshers, and personnel. These services are provided by the MSPs. The tasks carried out are charged monthly to the client company. This helps in the effective budgeting of the client companies and predicting the expected expenditure. This allows the client companies to decide whether to cut off on the outsourced projects and assignments in accordance with their available resources. It mitigates the risks involved in tackling the turnover losses.

  • Improved risk management

There is a certain amount of risk involved in businesses. This can be lowered by limiting all the individual risks involved. Managed service providers can help reduce several such risks by giving their inputs regarding their working methodologies. They can also provide access to contemporary infrastructures and networks. This is accomplished by:

  • Having industry-specific knowledge, especially regarding security and compliance matters
  • Guiding the clients in the best manner by familiarizing them with practices that help avoid risks involved
  • Ensuring increased availability, productivity, and overall efficiency.

In an organization, the productivity rate is usually measured by the amount of work delivered and the rate at which it is done. The efficiency of managed service providers is measured by the availability and productivity rate.

Top organizations are always on the look-out for software and tools that provide full-time availability of resources and end-systems. They seek 100% uptime to avoid wastage of time and loss of data.

What's advantageous about MSPs is that client companies experience better and efficient performance from managed service providers with minimal downtime.

6 Features to Look For in Managed Services Providers

Managed service providers have critical aspects of their client companies to take care of. Their responsibilities comprise administering IT systems, managing related costs, and managing specific sectors of operations while ensuring top-notch functionality. Thus, there are a few important aspects MSPs must work on to establish competitive leverage and deliver the best of services.

  1. Instant responsiveness: Managed service providers must be responsive. They must be available with a 24-hour support system. The faster they deliver proper work, the better their quality.
  2. Various network options: Reliable MSPs must meet different client needs and provide multiple resources or network connections to ensure all-inclusive service.
  3. Service Level Agreement pricing: A trustworthy provider would offer flexible prices according to the needs and resources of the client companies.
  4. Top-notch security: MSPs must leverage advanced, best-in-class security measures to combat cases of crisis, data breaches, or loss of data.
  5. Backup recovery options: If MSPs face downtime, it is their responsibility to ensure that client companies can access backup data to carry on with their operations.
  6. Accessibility: Shared client information must be accessible and transparent to both parties. There must be daily secure back-ups carried on the cloud.

How can you choose an MSP?

More and more companies are now outsourcing IT management tasks to secure their operations and confidentiality in times of crisis. This means they are able to accomplish a range of IT tasks without having to contact multiple service providers; all they have to do is subscribe to an MSP for the long term.

This not only ensures time management and resource management but also provides consistency in the work delivered. Thus, there is a chance of improved quality and cost-efficient operations at the company.

MSPs can help client companies to create a more proactive plan to prevent future risks and mismanagements. The variety of services provided by MSP continue to grow with services such as compliance assistance, strategic consultancy, and cybersecurity being added to their portfolio.

Here we look at the key aspects companies should consider when choosing an MSP:

What types of services do they provide?

Research and contact managed service providers that meet the roster of services you require. If you are looking for a specific task to be fulfilled, you can research accordingly and find one that caters to your needs. The idea is to effortlessly fill the gaps that you are lacking in your business through MSPs.

Go through the type of managed services we've listed above and direct your efforts into finding a combination of services that best serves your business needs.

1. What kind of security do they promise?

Not every MSP prioritizes security. So, while choosing an MSP, make sure you analyze the protocols of security the MSP leverages to ensure security of their client’s data. Thoroughly scrutinize how your information will be handled, managed, and transmitted. Information security is a very important and crucial aspect to check while choosing an MSP.

2. Do they carry expertise and experience?

Ensure that you select a Managed Service Provider with experience and expertise. If an MSP has worked with cases like yours, there's a better chance that they'll understand your needs and deliver efficiently. However, keep in mind that your decision doesn't stifle creativity and innovation.

3. How effective is their customer service?

Apart from a legal contract, there should be scope for dialogue and communication between the MSP and the client company regularly. It is important to be transparent to ensure maximum efficiency. The MSP needs to have a reliable, readily-available, and responsive customer service system where clients can address their queries.

4. Do they provide customization?

MSPs usually offer custom services. They should be open to customizing their tools, plans, and strategies based on client needs. Companies should sit down with MSPs and discuss their needs to find out if the MSP is well-equipped to deliver effective results.

5. Are they time and cost-efficient?

Make sure that you negotiate elements pertaining to time and cost before signing up with an MSP. This includes onboarding time, cost of hiring, maintenance, and so on. Ask all necessary questions before subscribing to their plan. Thereafter, ensure that what was promised is being delivered with utmost precision.

(Oh and if you're an MSP looking to create more value to your customers, here's what Giovanni Sanguily, Founder of Honey CRM had to say on the SuperPod — The no-filter MSP show.)

Opt for cost-efficient managed services

Managed services are incredibly beneficial to client businesses for several reasons. They facilitate cost-efficiency, increased productivity, and higher profitability with respect to outcomes.

Managed services provide support for the growth of the client organization. Their services help clients stay at the forefront of the industry on grounds of technical capabilities and sustainability.

Which is why its' important for clients to find a managed service provider with a competitive and flexible pricing that complements the growth of your business. Clients can pay for the managed services with monthly subscription-based service plans. These terms can change from each month to annual plans. Some MSPs also offer a payment scheme of an as-you-go service.

So, make sure you research the type of managed services you are looking for and determine a pricing model well-suited for your requirements.

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