Many business owners don’t even know the IT managed services definition, much less what it offers a business. Without understanding the IT managed services definition, it is difficult to make an informed decision on whether it is beneficial to outsource all or part of a business’s IT services. If you are a business owner who is unfamiliar with the IT managed services definition, stand by for a full overview.
Three Parts of the IT Managed Services Definition
There are a hundred and fifty different possible items on a list of IT services; and every contract that every business makes with it managed services providers is as unique as a snowflake. If this article was the length of an old set of encyclopedias, it still wouldn’t completely cover every service that an IT managed services provider offers. However, the basic definition includes three umbrella categories:
- Service Desk
The service desk in a company’s IT department handles the day-to-day IT support. We’re talking computer support when someone in the Human Resources department can’t figure out how to install updates for Microsoft Excel. We’re talking computer repair when an executive’s hard drive crashes in the middle of a meeting. We’re talking help with password changes and basic computer issues that drive us all crazy.
By outsourcing this function, a business can potentially save thousands of dollars when compared to the total cost of ownership of staffing a service desk in-house. Any full-time employee that a business brings in is a long-term commitment and cost. In addition, the services provided by the help desk are limited to what skills the help desk employees have. As technology evolves and progresses, the company must bring on more employees to support additional skills, or invest in training so that in-house IT staff gain new skills.
By outsourcing the service desk, the IT managed services providers can offer varied skill sets as they are needed, instead of requiring new staff or training when a new skill is required. Additionally, the company pays for the services it uses, rather than paying for benefits and expenses of full-time employees. Some businesses who have a small IT team add an outsourced service desk to meet all of their needs.
- IT Security
IT security is without a doubt the greatest challenge of the modern age. Enormous companies like SONY and Target, and even governments have been compromised and brought to their knees by security breaches. Suffering from a security breach costs a company millions of dollars and — more damaging — destroys their reputation and consumer faith. If a huge enterprise like Target is not safe from cyber attack, small companies certainly aren’t. Having an IT security team to protect a business from compromising sensitive information in a cyber attack is not optional; however, hiring IT security professionals in-house is often not feasible. Many companies find the best solution is to outsource the security of their vital data to an IT managed services provider. IT managed services providers often offer security services such as remote monitoring, penetration testing, and disaster recovery to protect businesses from the threat of cyber attack.
- Vendor Management
Unless you just stepped out of a time machine from another era and have zero knowledge of modern technology, you probably have a good idea of what the cloud is and how prominent it is becoming. The cloud gives a business unmatched access to IT vendors and services. No longer is the capability of the actual hardware a business uses a factor in selecting IT vendors. If a computer has access to the internet, almost any IT application can be run on it. While this opens a world of opportunity to small businesses, it also is difficult to manage, particularly if the business is so small it has an IT army of one (or less) at the IT steering wheel.
A good IT managed services provider will partner with their clients to develop the best IT vendor strategy, and then manage service level agreements on their behalf.
IT managed services come in all shapes and sizes. However, the basic definition of the most common IT managed services can fit into the umbrella categories of service desk, security, or vendor management.