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Part 3 Of The Buyer’s Guide To Managed IT Services: How Are Managed IT Services Delivered?
In the last section of our buyer’s guide, we covered what exactly managed IT services are. If you missed it, managed IT services involve a service provider, known as an MSP (managed service provider), assuming ongoing responsibility for the IT functions within a business – handling the monitoring, maintenance, troubleshooting, and other elements of any systems within the environment. For a more detailed outline, as well as a detailed description of the various components of managed IT services, click here to check out the last section we posted. In this section, we’ll be taking a look at how managed IT services are delivered.
What Makes a Business Decide to Have Managed IT Services Delivered in the First Place?
There are many reasons a business may decide to have managed IT services delivered in the first place. For instance, technology advances at a rapid rate. For many industries, technology can make a world of difference when it comes to maintaining a competitive advantage. If you don’t have the latest technologies in place, you’re at risk of becoming obsolete. In addition, many industries face various compliance regulations wherein they’re required to have a higher level of security measures in place. It’s typically easier to outsource the management of your technology than hope you’re getting it right in terms of protecting confidential data.
In other cases, a business may simply have grown beyond what used to fit them perfectly fine. For instance, the business may already have an in-house IT person or a break/fix support company that handles their technology, but as time goes on, they’re no longer able to get by without the help of an entire IT department that’s dedicated to them. An MSP, on the other hand, is able to provide all of the services and support they need at a flat-rate monthly fee – making it a cost-effective choice.
When you choose managed IT services, you have access to an entire team of well-trained technology experts who are able to better understand your technological infrastructure – helping to provide guidance and support whenever necessary. They proactively monitor your systems, in order to catch and resolve issues right away. This greatly minimizes potential downtime wherein staff members aren’t able to get their work done.
How Does an MSP Deliver Their Managed IT Services to End-Users?
It all starts with a contract designed to outline the managed service terms. You will receive an MSA (master services agreement) and an SLA (service level agreement) – two documents that define the relationship in terms of the services delivered and the requirements. The MSA will outline the scope of services that are being delivered from the service provider to the client. This should include:
- Data privacy requirements
- Service methods and processes
- Any applicable financial penalties for failure to deliver
The SLA outlines any sort of performance guarantees the client can depend on in relation to the services provided. This should include:
- Infrastructure uptime and/or availability
- Data recovery time objectives
- Service incident response time
You may agree to a flat-monthly or a pay-per-use billing model, however, managed IT services are typically done on a flat-rate monthly basis. The cost may vary depending on a number of factors, such as:
- Number of users and/or workstations
- Number of services managed
- Any other features and/or service delivered
Once you’ve finalized the contract, it’s time for the MSP to deliver the services agreed upon. Typically, they will start by installing an RMM (remote monitoring and management) software that helps them keep an eye on endpoints, networks, and computers from any location. This will be deployed through an agent and installed on all servers, workstations, mobile devices, and other systems. This enables the MSP to gather insight into your network as the agents send information back to them, including:
- Machine status
- Machine health
- And much more
They’re also able to use these agents to keep systems up-to-date – applying patches and updates, installing and configuring software, and more. This RMM is a huge part of what makes MSPs so proactive in the way they manage your technology.
What About Onsite Support? How Does That Work?
In the event that onsite support is needed because remote support doesn’t resolve the issue, an MSP will send a technician out to your office to take a look at the problem. Typically, you would call or email the MSP with a detailed explanation of the problem you’re experiencing. As mentioned above, your SLA will outline how fast you can expect a response and/or resolution to this problem.