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Karen Cohen

By: Karen Cohen on February 25, 2023

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What Services Do External IT Support Providers Offer?

Managed Services | IT Support

If you are considering outsourcing some or all of your IT support, you may be wondering what services external IT providers offer.

In this article, I’ll explain the kinds of support you can expect

I work for Kelser Corporation, a managed IT support provider. Don’t worry though, this article isn’t a sales pitch for our services. 

We realize that managed IT isn’t the right solution for every organization. While we believe in the strength of our offering, the most important thing for us is to provide honest information you can use to make the best IT decision for your organization

It doesn’t do us or you any good to claim to be the perfect solution for every organization for several reasons: 

  1. It’s not true.

  2. We need to know more about your business and needs to determine whether we’d be a good fit to work together. 

  3. If we aren’t the right fit to work together, our partnership will fail.

  4. If our partnership fails, you are right back in the same spot you are in today: shopping for an IT provider. That’s not good for you or for us.

We know this is a different way to approach business, but the truth is there are plenty of organizations looking for IT partners and we are the right fit for some, but not for all. 

If you are looking for an honest evaluation based purely on the services offered by different types of IT providers then you are in the right place. 

In this article, I’ll present just the facts in an easy-to-understand format so that you will have all of the information you need to make the best IT decision for your organization. 

What Are Your Options For IT Support? 

There are two options for external IT support

1. break/fix (reactive or traditional)

2. managed (proactive)

What Services Do Break/Fix IT Support Providers Offer? 

As the name implies, the break/fix IT support model is based on hiring an external provider to fix problems as they arise. It is often referred to as a “pay-as-you-go” option. 

Whenever something breaks, you call the IT provider who comes to get your equipment back up and running. 

What Types Of Organizations Might Be A Good Fit For Break/Fix IT Support?

Break/fix is often used by owners of small businesses with a small staff of five or fewer. Small organizations like these often don’t have the financial resources to support a full-time IT employee.  

This option is best for companies that have a few individual workstations and maybe a small, simple network structure

These providers typically specialize in hardware repairs but may provide help with simple network issues as well.

But, you are at the mercy of the provider’s schedule which can lead to longer downtime for your organization. If your entire organization is down you may be able to request faster service, but you may incur pricey emergency service premiums

What Services Do Managed IT Support Providers Offer? 

Managed IT providers offer a full complement of proactive IT support services including:

  • Strategic Guidance From IT Experts

Managed IT includes the strategic planning and budgeting services of virtual chief information officers (vCIOs) and proactive oversight of technical alignment managers (TAMs)

In addition to regular support, quarterly business reviews ensure that the provider and customer are aligned in adjusting the technology infrastructure to best support the unique and ever-changing short- and long-term goals of the business.

Often a dedicated service delivery manager serves as a liaison between the customer and the IT provider’s staff, smoothing and coordinating service requests that fall outside the routine issues handled by the service desk. 

  • Proactive & Ongoing Patching, Monitoring & Maintenance

In the same way that routine maintenance for your vehicle or preventive medical care can minimize the impact of a catastrophic system failure and an expensive repair or hospital bill, managed IT provides ongoing care for all of the elements of your IT infrastructure via a partnership with your IT provider. 

Managed IT support services include the comprehensive, continuous care every network needs to be safe, available, and efficient. 

Among them are:

    • managed servers, networks, and workstations 
    • automated patching and monitoring  
    • email support 
    • managed Domain Name Services (DNS)-based protection
    • managed spam filtering and protection
    • automated maintenance
    • incident notification and remediation
    • license management
    • managed anti-malware
  • Managed Employee Security Awareness Training

Employee security awareness training ensures that your employees are empowered to recognize and report the latest cyber threats. This knowledge provides an extra layer of security for your data and networks

Related article: Employee Security Awareness Training: An Honest Cost-Benefit Analysis

What Types of Organizations Might Be A Good Fit For Managed IT Support? 

Small and medium-sized businesses with 5 or more employees, a more complex network structure, and those that handle sensitive business or customer information are often a good fit for managed IT support. 

Related article: Is My Business Too Small For Managed IT Support? 

Which Type Of IT Provider Is Right For You? 

Choosing the right IT provider is similar to deciding whether to perform proactive, regular maintenance on your car or waiting until one of the systems fails, leaving you stranded somewhere when you least expect it. 

When your car is new, you might opt for less routine maintenance. But as your vehicle ages, you might spring for some additional routine checks to ensure that you have a reliable means of transportation when you need it. 

As the wear and tear add up and your repair bills become more frequent, you also may decide that paying for preventive maintenance is less expensive and a more manageable approach than facing large, unexpected repair bills. 

Similar considerations apply to your choice of IT support including:

  • the age and complexity of your infrastructure and devices
  • the cybersecurity risks your business faces
  • contractual or regulatory requirements
  • the ability of your organization to withstand downtime
  • the sensitivity of business and customer data

Related article: Break/Fix Vs. Managed IT: Cost, Reliability, Security, Productivity

What’s The Bottom Line? 

After reading this article, you have a full understanding of the services different types of external IT support providers offer. 

You know that break/fix providers are reactive: fixing equipment as it breaks. 

You know that managed IT is proactive: providing ongoing monitoring and support to keep systems available, safe, and efficient.  

You also know the kinds of organizations that are the best fit for each type of IT support provider. 

At this point, you have the information you need to choose the best type of IT support provider for your organization. When you start evaluating IT providers, we encourage you to explore several options to find the provider that is the best fit. Learn 10 best questions to ask any IT provider.  

While you are exploring IT providers, make sure your business has everything it needs to keep your data and infrastructure protected from the latest cybersecurity threats. Click the button below and receive the free cybersecurity eBook so you can learn 10 actions you can take right now to protect your organization including:  

✔️Updating applications and operating systems

✔️Maintaining current backups

✔️Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA)

✔️Password protecting mobile devices

✔️Restricting access

Get Your Cybersecurity eBook

About Karen Cohen

Karen brings unending curiosity to her role as Kelser's Content Manager. If you have a question, she wants to know the answer.

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