Managed IT Support: A Proactive IT Strategy For Connecticut Businesses
If you are exploring the possibility of external IT support, you likely have a lot of questions. You are not alone.
Some of the common questions we hear from customers include “What is managed IT? What does managed IT include? What are the advantages and disadvantages of managed IT?”
In this article, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the concept of managed IT. What I won’t do is try to convince you that managed IT is the right solution for your organization. At Kelser, we pride ourselves on providing honest answers to IT questions without pressure.
We know that there are many IT service solutions out there and that finding the right one is important. It won’t do either of us any good to work together if we aren’t the right fit, so we focus on answering questions and trust that if we are the right fit to work together, we’ll figure it out along the way.
So, after you read this article, you’ll have a complete understanding of the concept of managed IT. You’ll know what it is and what it includes. We'll give you an honest overview of the advantages and disadvantages of this approach to IT support.
What Is Managed IT Support?
Managed IT support is a system of complete proactive care for your technology infrastructure.
The world has become more dependent on technology. And, whether your infrastructure supports a large organization or a small one, it needs the same elements of care, just on a different scale.
What Does Managed IT Support Include?
The exact elements that are included in managed IT can vary from provider to provider, but most comprehensive managed IT support services offerings include:
1. IT Expertise
With fully managed IT, your network gets all of the attention and services it needs from a full complement of IT professionals who serve as an extension of your internal team (or can function as your entire IT support staff). These most often include a:
Virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO)
Your vCIO provides strategic guidance to ensure that your technology strategy aligns with your business goals.
This is most often achieved through regular reviews of your technical road map and budgeting assistance (as well as discussions to identify and plan for strategic technology improvements) that ensure you have the tools you need in place when you need them.
Related article: Why Is It Important To Align IT And Business Strategy?
Technical Alignment Manager (TAM)
Your hands-on expert who learns and maintains a detailed understanding of your specific infrastructure, identifies possible risks, and keeps watch over your IT environment through a combination of on-site or virtual visits and proactive maintenance and services.
Service Delivery Manager (SDM)
This team member provides project management skills and acts as a liaison for services outside of regular help desk support. They translate technical talk into business language and vice versa to ensure that you get the tools you need to keep your business safe, available, and efficient.
2. Managed Support
The managed part of your IT support services typically includes full care for your:
These services should cover backups and disaster recovery, automated patching and updates, and automated monitoring of your entire IT environment.
Other services that are often included in managed IT support are:
- Domain name services (DNS) protection (which ensures that web addresses accessed by users are legitimate and have not been compromised and protects against phishing attacks)
- Automated monitoring (including incident notification and remediation)
- Managed antivirus, anti-malware, and spam filtering
- Software licensing management
- Ongoing employee security awareness training
3. Technical Support
Most providers provide live assistance to handle technical issues that arise. When your technology acts up, you have resources to help. Some key considerations are:
- Are you charged per call or do you have unlimited access to assistance?
- Will you pay a premium for after-hours support?
- What if you need on-site support?
- Where are the support professionals located?
- What kind of response time can you expect?
- What is the average resolution time?
What Are The Advantages Of Managed IT Support?
Here are four of the prime advantages of managed IT support:
1. Full Complement Of Experts
While many large organizations can afford to hire a full complement of IT professionals to care for their network, most medium and small businesses don’t have the same resources.
Does that mean that small and medium businesses don’t have the same technology needs? I’d argue no. That’s where fully managed IT comes in. You get access to all the technology experts you need under one roof. It’s one-stop shopping!
2. Lower Cost
We find many customers are surprised that managed IT support can be a cost-effective option when they take into account all of the technology expenses that hit their balance sheet.
Between OpEx and CapEx expenses (not to mention the intangible cost and lost productivity associated with downtime,) technology costs are spread out throughout an organization’s budget and difficult to fully quantify.
With fully managed IT, small and medium organizations get all of the IT services their network needs while sharing the cost.
With managed IT support, you pay the same monthly fee for comprehensive, proactive support. You will pay separately for projects that fall outside the scope of your monthly service agreement, but there will be no surprises.
Related article: 6 Hidden External IT Costs To Anticipate
Just as preventive healthcare mitigates issues before they grow into something more serious, proactive IT service and maintenance helps ensure that your network and infrastructure needs are met before they impact your users.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Managed IT Support?
We wouldn’t be telling the truth if we didn’t include the fact that there are disadvantages to managed IT support. Here are three:
Most managed IT support providers operate under a one- to three-year contract. There are usually clauses included so that you can break the contract if you are unhappy with service, but you may need to pay a fee.
2. Lack Of Control
No matter what form of external IT support you choose, there will be a certain lack of control.
Pay attention to the terms of your service level agreement (SLA) so that you’ll have a firm grasp on what is included and what is out of scope. This will give you insight into the response and resolution times you can expect when making a service request.
It’s important to know that your provider will be in touch on a regular basis. This includes regular on-site visits to perform routine maintenance, but also to interact with your users and leadership team, so that they can anticipate the needs of your organization.
You want a provider that’s going to be an extension of your organization and is plugged in to what you need.
Related article: What Is An IT Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Why Is It Important?
Is Managed IT Support My Only Option?
No. Managed IT support is not your only option. Traditional break-fix IT support is another possibility, but as the name implies, this form of support is reactive rather than proactive.
Related article: Break-Fix vs. Managed IT Support: Which Is Right For My Business?
What’s The Bottom Line?
Here's the thing: only you can decide what type of IT support is best for your organization.
The good news is that after reading this article, you have a complete understanding of managed IT support. You know what it includes, the advantages and disadvantages, and your other options.
Not sure where to start? Here is some criteria you can use to select the right IT provider.
Already begun your search? Make sure to explore several options. We take this advice so seriously that we've even done some of the legwork for you. Read this article to learn how Charles IT and Kelser compare (based on publicly available information from the websites of both organizations).
Visit our Learning Center for other comparison articles.
If you are just beginning to explore external IT support and wonder if managed IT is right for you, click the button below for a checklist you can use to assess whether it might be a good solution for your organization.
Or, if you just want to talk to a human, we understand. Click the button below and one a member of our team will reach out to schedule a 15-minute phone conversation to explore your current technology situation, your business goals, and your technology pain points and questions.