Managed IT Services

Managed IT services are essential to any company looking to focus on their core business. It is a monthly flat-rate based contract between an IT provider and an organisation; wherein the IT provider proactively monitors and maintains the organisation’s workstations, servers and IT infrastructure. A managed IT service provider’s work revolves around minimising IT / business downtime by identifying and rectifying issues before they happen.

Managed IT service providers help businesses by:

  • maintaining their workstations and IT infrastructure,
  • updating and installing timely security patches,
  • resolving network and internet problems,
  • providing backup and disaster-recovery solutions,
  • provision emails & set data accessibility restrictions, and
  • anticipate and mitigate cyber security risks.

By outsourcing your IT to a managed services provider — whether it functions as your company’s entire setup or simply supplements your current IT staff, is one of the few ways you can harness the power of technology.

Why managed IT services?

Improved operational efficiencies

A Managed IT services team ensure your business runs smoothly, focusing on removing all the IT problems and roadblocks that can disrupt day-to-day operations. This includes monitoring /maintaining backups and providing tried-and-tested recovery plans so that in the event of a disaster, operations resume with minimal hiccups.

Strategic IT planning advice

Managed IT service providers consist of a team of qualified and experience IT professionals who can help you chart out strategies to improve your IT infrastructure and software upgrades and assist you in implementing these plans.

Access to a complete IT team

When you sign up to a managed IT services plan, you have access to an IT manager, a CIO and a team of IT professionals with the single focus of improving the efficiency of your IT infrastructure. Managed IT service providers follow a proactive results-driven approach as their KPIs are directly aligned to the efficiency of the organisation’s IT systems.

How we deliver

Empower IT Solutions has a long history of building and managing IT assets for their client organisations. Since 2004, we have managed PCs, servers, networks, network devices and other IT assets with care and consideration, so that our clients can have the peace of mind that we will overcome any technical complications with speed and ease. Our managed services approach ensures efficiency by offering a variety of IT components at a fixed monthly rate. Our agile and nimble approach allows you to pick and choose the best plan for your company.

The team starts off by performing a comprehensive review of your IT infrastructure, software and systems to understand your current environment. Post review we will start fixing the high-priority issues and work towards improving the efficiency of your IT systems. Based on the service level agreement, we will perform ongoing / periodic monitoring and maintenance of your workstations, servers and IT equipment.

Our standard Managed IT Services package includes:

  • Australian IT support desks,
  • PC and mobile device management,
  • proactive IT monitoring and responses,
  • scheduled IT maintenance and upgrade planning,
  • IT security measures to counteract viruses, malware and spyware, and
  • Business data backup, business continuity planning and disaster recovery preparedness.

When you say “NO” to Managed IT Services for your IT systems, be sure you are not saying “YES” to risk.

Internal IT teams are best focused on strategic applications where a managed service is not available.  For your critical servers, routers, back-ups, internet, File Shares, Microsoft systems (e.g. Exchange Mailboxes, SharePoint and CRM systems), outsourcing your IT support and management of your IT system makes financial sense.  Many larger companies such as Commonwealth Bank already outsource non-core business functions to specialist.

Over the last 10 years, we have come across many small businesses that say “no” to managed services and try to save money by enlisting in some form of “casual support”.  We believe folks that have “casual support” are playing Russian roulette with their IT infrastructure.

Recent Examples

  1. A well intentioned CFO said he’d “wait” and do managed services “later”. (We in IT know that “waiting til later” is often a euphemism or polite way of saying “no”.) Later in the year, they had a major server outage caused by corruption of their server. When we told the MD what the CFO had said, he informed us that the CFO advised him to save money by not signing a contract.
  2. A penny pinching MD avoided spending any money on IT support.   His network and data were attacked (Malware) with the well-known Ransom virus. The virus automatically encrypted his data so that his staff could not access it. They refused to pay ransom money to “unlock” the data and their back-ups were not working. They lost some financial data and had to rebuild from scratch.

The above problems could have been avoided altogether if they had subscribed to managed services.

So What is Managed IT Services?   Why can’t my IT guy do it?

From MSPMentor 2013 report:

Generally speaking, Managed Service Providers use remote monitoring and management and IT automation software to proactively maintain customer systems (servers, desktops, mobiledevices, network infrastructure, applications, cloud services etc.).

Managed IT Services

According to MSPmentor survey of 500 Managed Service Providers, the top ten managed services offered are:

  • remote monitoring
  • managed storage, backup, disaster recovery
  • service desks
  • patch management
  • managed security
  • software license management
  • network operations center services
  • mobile device management (MDM)
  • vendor management
  • warranty management

Proactively testing, monitoring and patching are all critical devices in a network.  Service Level Agreement (SLA) specify response times for minor or major faults, keep track of warranties and licenses are all part of what differentiates Managed Services from Casual Support. Critical devices include Servers, Back-up systems and Routers, but can include mobile devices in some businesses. A pro-active plan includes a back-up restore test to ensure back-ups are really working (e.g. data not corrupted) and frequent checking of error logs, hard disk space, CPU capacity and other indicators of network or hardware issues.

Casual Support –

Another word for casual support is “Reactive”.   Effectively, this is “set-up” and forget til something goes wrong. This is very much an Australian “She’ll be alright” attitude. No Server Level Agreements with Casual support means you have no guaranteed response or resolution times from your supplier.

Why you can’t say no to Managed IT Services

  1. The Casual support person/team will not be familiar with your network or your applications.   This means it will take them longer to support you and they could potentially make matters worse by “following standard procedures”. (An example of this is to apply all the updates, not realising that one of them can bring down your network.)
  2. You will not have the latest patches and therefore will be vulnerable to virus attacks
  3. When you call for support, the person is not able to help you or you because you are not a priority.
  4. Many of the “failures” are avoided when proactive steps are taken
  5. Risk Mitigation. Any good business should have a plan to manage risk. For a list of common risks or potential failures, see here.

References