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Managed IT Services + Hardware-as-a-Service
In the last section of our buyer’s guide, we covered the benefits of managed IT services. If you missed it, managed IT services involve a managed services provider assuming ongoing responsibility for your infrastructure – handling the monitoring, maintenance, and support of all systems within the environment. The benefits are huge – offering you a flat-rate monthly fee, a proactive approach to security, and much more. So what happens if you want the benefits of managed IT services without having to buy all of the hardware? In this section, we’ll be reviewing how managed IT services + hardware-as-a-service works for those who don’t want to outright purchase all of their hardware.
What is Hardware-as-a-Service?
Hardware-as-a-service is a procurement model wherein the hardware belongs to a managed service provider while the organization leases it for their own use. Essentially, an MSP installs hardware at an organization’s site with a service level agreement in place to outline each party’s responsibilities in regards to the hardware. You might pay a monthly fee for the hardware in particular or you might include the cost of using the hardware within your managed IT services plan that covers installation, monitoring, and maintenance.
If you’re in the start-up phase, this is an incredibly appealing option because you don’t need to pay the upfront cost associated with building an entire infrastructure. In addition, the monthly payments are considered operating expenses under the tax code as opposed to capital expenses. Hardware-as-a-service may apply to:
- Computers: Your MSP helps you find the right computers for your unique requirements in terms of processor, RAM, hard drives, peripherals, and more. They’ll take your number of employees, budget, and more into consideration to make the right choice, then install them for you.
- Virtualization technologies: If it makes sense for you, you can virtualize your desktops and servers. This is the process of running multiple machines on a single physical machine (stored at your MSP’s location) to consolidate the number of machines you’re running while helping to operate more efficiently.
- Firewalls: Firewalls that help you stay protected against advanced, evolving cybersecurity threats can be expensive. You might choose to include firewalls in your hardware-as-a-service plan to keep yourself safe against threats without spending a fortune.
- Servers: Servers can be one of the most expensive types of technology when you’re starting out. Typically, when you choose to procure servers through hardware-as-a-service, the MSP will offer a higher level of support. Often, they actually surpass the manufacturers terms and conditions.
- Switches and routers: These devices are used to communicate and route data within your business and any connected devices. An MSP can help you select and configure the right switches and routers for your environment – lowering costs while ensuring great performance.
- Storage devices: If your storage appliance runs out of space, you’re at a stand still. After all, you need to store your saved files, data, and backups somewhere. A larger, more expansive storage device can be obtained through hardware-as-a-service to give you greater space.
Hardware-as-a-service makes it possible for small to midsize businesses or those in the start-up phase to compete with larger organizations. They’re able to access innovative technologies without spending a ton of money upfront. Plus, hardware-as-a-service minimizes the risk of organizations operating with old, outdated equipment that’s likely riddled with vulnerabilities waiting to be exploited.
What Are the Benefits of Hardware-as-a-Service Within a Managed IT Services Plan?
When you bundle your hardware into a managed IT services plan, the benefits are vast – allowing you to take advantage of innovative technology without having to worry about monitoring, maintaining, and supporting it with an in-house person or team. You end up with the following:
- More physical space throughout the office: As technology evolves, it’s getting smaller and more compact. Rather than having outdated hardware on premises, you can switch to more recent technologies that give you a bit of office space back. This is especially true in the case of virtualization.
- Less capital expenses: You’re able to conserve capital because you’re paying a monthly fee rather than outright purchasing the equipment. You can use your additional cash flow to invest in other areas of your business. For start-ups, this might mean more money available to market.
- Greater security against threats: It’s almost impossible to stay safe against the latest forms of malware if you’re using outdated technologies. This is because outdated technologies are often unsupported – meaning there are no patches or updates to resolve vulnerabilities.
- More scalability whenever needed: If you hire new staff, change applications or require more storage, it’s a phone call away. Your MSP will work with you to accommodate your requirements in terms of scaling your environment up or down as needed.
Naturally, it’s a lot of stress taken off your plate because you don’t have to worry about the cost of purchasing hardware OR the hassle of installing, monitoring, and maintaining it yourself. Everything is taken off your plate so you can focus on what’s important: finding new customers and/or taking care of the customers you have.
If you have any further questions, contact us to learn more.
In the meantime, keep an eye out for the next installment of our buyer’s guide! We’re going to cover a range of topics in the coming weeks – from what to look for in an agreement to the primary challenges involved with choosing managed IT services. Don’t miss out. Let us know if you want to receive updates as we release installments.