What Is Managed IT? What’s Included? What Does It Cost?
Your organization’s IT infrastructure is vital to achieving business goals. Whether you have an internal IT staff or rely on outside resources, the care your IT receives can be the difference between success and failure.
If you have an internal IT staff, you may be looking for resources to supplement them. If you have no internal IT staff, you may be looking for an organization that you can rely on to manage the care and feeding of your entire IT function.
Either way, managed IT may be the solution you need, but you may not know what exactly managed it is, what’s included, or what it costs.
Here’s where I need to be honest: I work for a managed IT services provider. Now, before you assume that my job is to sell you on working with our company or another managed IT services provider, let me reassure you. I’m not here to sell you anything and I don’t get a commission if you read this article. I will provide unbiased information you can use.
The truth is, at Kelser, we understand that managed IT isn’t right for everyone. Why try to convince you to work with us when there may be a better solution for you? Working with an IT provider that isn’t the right fit is not a long-term solution. It doesn’t make sense!
Rather than try to sell you something that may or may not be the right fit for you, we believe in providing the information you need to make the IT decision that is right for your business.
In this article, I’ll explain all about managed IT so that you can walk away with a full understanding of what’s involved. While our 40 years in the IT business would suggest that provide solid solutions for our customers, it’s more important that you know have reliable information that can help you evaluate whether managed IT is right for you or not.
What Is Managed IT?
Managed IT is a proactive, subscription-based approach to IT service. With a predictable monthly cost, you get the services you need to keep your business running smoothly and safely.
It is different from the traditional model of break/fix IT providers, which are a pay-as-you-go service in which a provider comes out to fix (or has you bring in) items that are broken.
Both IT solutions have their place.
What Is Included In Managed IT?
Services that may be included in managed IT are:
Technology Experts & Strategic Planning
Many managed IT providers offer the services of technology experts as part of your monthly package. These can include a virtual chief information officer (vCIO) and technical alignment manager (TAM) as well as a technical solutions architect and service delivery manager (SDM).
These experts provide technical, strategic planning, project management, and budgeting advice.
Service (or Help) Desk
Technical issues experienced by your users are handled by dedicated support staff. Some providers handle this internally and some outsource it.
Managed Servers & Networks
Servers and networks are proactively patched and updated, keeping them working efficiently and free from bottlenecks, congestion, performance issues, and failures.
Managed disaster recovery ensures your data is backed up properly, verified, and can be restored quickly in the event of a cybersecurity incident or data breach.
Managed Workstations With Automated Patching
With automated patching, workstations are kept secure, up-to-date, and working efficiently. Security vulnerabilities are closed and updates are applied without downtime. The health of your devices is monitored, and plans are made ahead for upgrades, replacements, and asset disposition.
Automated tools and systems monitor your IT environment continuously. The provider is notified of unusual activity and can react quickly to resolve any issues.
Managed IT typically includes the management of email and support for related technical issues that may arise.
Managed DNS-Based Protection
DNS-based (Domain Name Service) protection ensures that web addresses you think you are going to are safe and have not been compromised before you get there. It protects against phishing attacks and can keep mobile users safe on and off your local network.
Managed Spam Filtering And Protection
Anti-spam filters check emails against industry-standard and organization-defined criteria for spam and virus controls. Inbound and outbound items that fail these checks are quarantined and not delivered, reducing dangerous and unnecessary email and preventing the distribution of malware, spam, and viruses to your contacts.
Scheduled automatic maintenance happens behind the scenes and keeps systems up-to-date while minimizing downtime.
Some providers offer management of all of your licenses seamlessly, freeing you up to manage your business.
Anti-malware thwarts attacks that standard antivirus software doesn’t. It defends before, contains during, and helps remediate after an incident. It constantly tracks programs, so you know exactly what’s running where and when across your endpoints and sends alerts if a program suddenly turns malicious.
Managed Employee Awareness Training
When it comes to cybersecurity, users can be the weakest link. By training your team to learn how to identify and recognize common threats, how to protect your company information, and understand their role in the security of the business, you can significantly reduce the possibility of your greatest asset becoming your weakest link.
What Does Managed IT Cost?
Just like any other purchase you make, the cost is a factor in working with a managed IT provider. Nobody has resources to waste.
Most managed IT providers charge between $100 to $200 per employee device/computer user per month. So if you have 10 employees who use computers to do their work, you can expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,000 per month for managed IT.
(There also may be one-time setup fees during the onboarding process and for projects that fall outside the scope of regular monthly fees.)
For some readers, that may seem like a lot, but when you factor in the unpredictability and total expense of other IT solutions, licensing fees, and the expense of fielding a staff of IT experts in-house, managed IT provides a reliable, cost-effective, predictable option for many organizations.
And, you have a second set of eyes providing a proactive look at your infrastructure providing performance and safety upgrades that might not happen otherwise.
In the same way that leasing a car provides the advantage of planning ahead and budgeting for a fixed, reliable cost each month, managed IT provides a consistent, forward-looking IT plan for many organizations.
What’s The Bottom Line?
After reading this article, you have a full understanding of managed IT. You know how it works, what’s included, and what you can expect to pay.
At Kelser, we know that managed IT isn’t the right solution for everyone. We provide articles like this to provide unbiased information business leaders like you can use to make the best IT decision for your organization.
Managed IT is likely not a good solution for large organizations that have a full complement of IT professionals on staff.
Small and medium businesses might not have the resources necessary to onboard a full staff meaning that managed IT would be an effective way to gain access to the IT expertise they need at a fraction of the cost.
To summarize, break/fix providers work fine for some companies depending on how much they rely on technology to run their business, how long they can wait for a solution, and their level of cybersecurity risk. For other businesses with complicated infrastructure and challenging business processes, managed IT can be the right choice.
Wondering how internal and managed IT compare? Read this article: In-House IT Staff vs. Managed IT: Efficiency
Or take the short quiz below to find out if your organization would be a good fit for managed IT.