Have you been considering a managed service provider for your business? Are you struggling with your current internal IT services and wondering if there are other options? If either of these questions applies to you, here are some answers.
What is managed service?
Managed, or Flat Fee IT, service is the provision of continuous monitoring and maintenance for your business-critical IT functions, including servers, firewalls, remote offices, desktops, and business applications. Rather than simply addressing problems after they have been detected, this continual monitoring and maintenance allows detection of potential problems before they create downtime.
How will managed services help my business?
The benefits of managed services fall into three categories: efficiency, predictability, and the intelligence of the services provided.
- Efficiency: Managed services increase uptime, therefore also increasing productivity. If you are wondering whether or not a small percentage increase in uptime is essential, consider the example of 90, 99, and 99.99 percent uptime. At 90 percent uptime, you are looking at 16.8 hours of downtime per week, and 72 hours per month. At 99 percent, downtime is decreased to 1.68 hours per week, or 7.2 hours a month. At 99.99 percent uptime, your downtime for the week is just over 6 seconds, and monthly it is under half a minute.
- Predictability: With flat fee services, you not only know what you are getting, but how much it is going to cost you. Your IT budget is not left to the whim of the problems that arise and how long it takes to fix them. Further, the continual monitoring and maintenance that is giving you increased uptime are also giving you the increased peace of mind that the technology you rely on for your business is up and running 24/7, 365 days a year, no surprises.
- Intelligent: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to business, nor is the IT needs of a business exactly like the needs of any other business. Likewise, technology itself doesn't remain the same over time either. Managed services provide intelligent services, giving you what your specific business requires, with the ability to change when necessary and when new solutions become available.
What happens if my business needs change?
Intelligent services mean flexible services. If your business grows, or the IT needs of it change, your managed service provider should be working in partnership with you to ensure that the Flat Fee services you are receiving continue to be a tailored fit and that changes in your plan happen seamlessly.
What are some additional questions to ask of managed service providers?
- What is your experience level, and have you obtained certifications with the technology developers for the products that I use?
- What is your track record? Can you provide me with references from companies that are similar in size and scope to mine?
- How important is IT security to you?
- Do you offer both remote and onsite support?
- How can I communicate with you if I have a question or a problem?
- What is your standard time frame for service responses? Describe your service ticketing system.
- What is your procedure for notifying me of alerts, and what is the contingency plan if a network issue arises?
- If there is a problem between applications supplied by different vendors, how do you manage that problem? How do you work with multiple vendors to obtain a solution?