What managed services include?

What managed services include?

“Managed Services” is a vague term that can cover a multitude of things. In this guide, we will explore the world of Managed Services in the context of IT. In IT, Managed Services refer to a third-party IT provider or Managed Services Provider (MSP), managing some or all of a business’s IT needs.

As with most business solutions, there is no “one size fits all” answer in Managed Services. A company can outsource to an MSP for one IT need, say Security as a Service, or they could outsource for all their IT needs, with Managed Packages that are designed to act as a full tech team.

Managed services is a somewhat vague term to describe a wide range of business and technology services, typically outsourced to a contractor. For our purposes, we’ll stick to managed services as a subset of IT services. Managed services in IT may include services, backup, data security, data storage, databases, Internet, monitoring, network management and systems management.

Managed service providers can augment or supplement an existing IT department. MSPs can prove useful to a corporate or government client in a variety of ways. 

This guide aims to cover everything a consumer needs to know about Managed Services, from the different types of solutions available to the pricing models providers use. Once you have read the Complete Managed Services Guide, you will be able to make an educated decision on whether or not Managed Services are for you.

How does it backup as a service?

Backup as a Service centre on backups and recovery. With managed backups, all the data stored on your infrastructure will be duplicated and stored on a secure off-site server. The frequency of backups is dependent on the recovery plan.

Managed Services Providers can help you save your data with BaaS. A recovery plan, or disaster recovery plan (DRP), lays out what will happen when/if your digital environment goes down, setting specific expectations for a Managed Services Provider. Recovery plans revolve around the Recovery Time Objections (RTO) and Recovery Point Objections (RPO) that you set with the MSP. The RTO is an easy concept to grasp. It is just how quickly you expect to have your systems restored.

The RPO is a little more complicated. The Recovery Point Objective is the age of the files you expect to be restored. A provider will base how often they run backups off of the RPO you set. For example: if you expect the files restored to you after a backup to be no more than an hour old an MSP should be running backups at least every hour. By backing up more frequently, you are ensuring that, if the worst were to happen, your most recent work would be saved.

Your IT company shouldn’t only be concerned with supporting you while everything is working properly. They should also have plans in place to address your data and business-wide continuity in the event of data loss, power outage, inclement weather, or otherwise.

If your IT company uses the cloud for backup purposes, you’ll want to know:

  • How secure is their cloud backup solution?
  • Is their backup hosted on a public or private cloud server?
  • If they use a public cloud, will they consider using a private cloud for your backups?
  • If your data won’t get backed up in the cloud, where are the backups getting stored?
  • Furthermore, check the service agreement to make sure a disaster recovery plan comes standard. If it’s not mentioned in the agreement, ask to have it added.

A comprehensive and detailed disaster recovery plan must be included so that when disaster strikes your business, you’ll know you’ll have immediate access to your backups and a recovery plan that will get you back online quickly.

Ensuring the integrity and safety of a company’s data is another key role MSPs fulfil. Making sure that they have adequate backups and that data is able to be recovered in the event of a disaster is critical to this.  

Frequently Asked Questions

The managed services model is the process of proactively outsourcing business processes to reduce the costs of maintaining a process in-house.

Managed IT services is the outsourcing of your company's information technology management and maintenance to an external provider. In the most simple terms, it's paying another company to look after the IT matters in your business.

Technology service providers offer technology services, often Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), to specific market segments or industries serving hundreds of thousands or even millions of customers per year. These services typically include document-based transactions that require signature.

An information technology (IT) solution is a set of related software programs and/or services that are sold as a single package. ... For example, a vendor may call its antivirus software a solution because it helps to solve a particular problem.

How desktops serve as a service?                              

With Desktops as a Service (DaaS), a third party hosts the back end of a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). So, when you log in to your DaaS, the entire operating system is being run from the MSP’s virtual cloud infrastructure. DaaS can be accessed by software on a computer, or online. Not only is DaaS easy to access, but the VDI ads an extra level of Security. It is an excellent solution for companies who work with very sensitive data, have to Bring Your Own Device policies, and/or have a lot of telecommuters.

DBA911 is a managed service that provides 24/7 proactive support to ensure the optimal performance of your database systems. This service offers the expertise of certified professionals who will monitor your databases regularly, provide technical assistance to your in-house staff on all database-related problems, and assist you in the event of a database failure. Our administrators will complement your existing staff whose role involves basic operation functions, including database startup, shutdown, and running pre-defined backup procedures.

What are cloud-based managed services?

Beyond traditional MSP models, cloud-based services are growing in use as well. That’s because the adoption of cloud models for tech businesses is increasing, and as such, need accompanying support. 

Cloud managed services fit the model of crucial IT support, but do so following a cloud model. Cloud-based managed services offer remote assistance with things like IT troubleshooting, network building, cybersecurity, responsive support, and data monitoring. Companies can augment their staff and infrastructure in areas which are lacking, while also providing a proactive approach to their framework. 

For example, data monitoring handled by a cloud-managed service can help monitor the use of company bandwidth. Or, security monitoring keeps a business network safe by searching for unusual activity and malware intrusions. 

The cloud is only getting bigger and bigger, and therefore so are cloud-based managed services. 

This is a catch-all service for remote security infrastructure. It covers everything from BDR solutions to anti-malware options, keeping them updated in real-time. 

The cloud continues to be the focal point for cutting-edge managed services, with many MSPs and solution providers looking for ways to differentiate their Microsoft Azure and Office 365 businesses and move more end users into the cloud and digital technologies.

This is where the MSP manages your organization’s computing, storage, network and operating systems. It also may include managing the tools and application stacks (e.g. databases, e-commerce platforms and DevOps tools) that run on top of that infrastructure. Typically your organization has control over which functions are outsourced and which are kept in-house.

If you care about the Security of your information while needing it to be accessed by numerous people anytime and anywhere, the cloud is your choice. Managed cloud services allow you to keep all your cloud operations at the highest level.

By choosing the right managed cloud service provider, you are simplifying the transfer of your data to the cloud and getting access to the tools you need to work with it. You can outsource only a part of the function to the managed cloud service provider and keep the rest in-house.

How does Data Analytics work?

With Data Analysis as a Service, a provider will monitor, capture, and analyze network data to help clients implement more effective business solutions. Proposed solutions can lead to anything from a change in procedure, to an increase in revenue.

Businesses looking for monitoring services for data management and use will want data analytics. This service encompasses business intelligence to target specific trends, creating roadmaps for increased business performance.

The next wave in business intelligence is capturing and analyzing data that reveal trends and patterns for clients so they can take appropriate steps to further their business goals.

Finally, one thing every MSP should provide is regular reporting in the form of data analytics to help customers evaluate their network performance and other KPIs. You can prove your worth as an MSP by providing an unbiased snapshot of workflows and suggestions for improvement. 

How managed-services manage communications?

Managed Communications, or unified communications, combine voice, video, chat, and email into one service. This way, all your employees are connecting on one platform, instead of logging into a bunch of different applications. Managed Communication packages include such things as:

  • Instant Messaging
  • Hosted Phones
  • Video Conferencing
  • File Sharing
  • Email
  • Virtual Rooms or Spaces
  • Calendar Sharing
  • Administrative Portals

Managed Communications can streamline employee engagement and makes telecommunication a breeze.

We are keeping You Informed and Updated. You’ll never be in the dark with what’s going on with your IT infrastructure with monthly ticket reports, quarterly service reports and an annual Managed Service review.

This managed service merges data, voice, and video services on the same IP network. This service could also mean using a managed call centre.

Some IT managed services companies can choose to offer communications support such as data, VOIP, or video as part of the provided and managed services package. Others will be able to support software applications that are hosted on their own servers and offered on a subscription basis. You may consider providing 24/7 support, either remotely or via a help desk. 

How do they manage wireless and mobile computing?

Gives your organization wireless capabilities without having to endure the cost and implementation within your business.

How do they manage website services?

Regardless of the nature of your business, you can’t make money without investing it in a website. While website design can be outsourced to a company, some businesses try to maintain it on their own.

As a result, they face mistakes, downtime, interface problems, and more. Outsourcing website management services to another company allows you to breathe easier, knowing that your site is always in top-notch shape.

As your company grows, develops, and expands, you are likely to need additional website improvement services.

How do Managed IT maintain networks and infrastructure?

Networking and infrastructure can mean a couple of things. Some Managed Services Providers will maintain servers virtually, conducting maintenance and backups off-site. Others will host and maintain servers in their own data centres or will rent space on their own servers. Knowing which option is best for you rests on how big your company is and/or how much data you are looking to store. Purchasing and hosting your own server is easily the more expensive of the options, considering you have to replace the hardware approximately every five years.

Just as your infrastructure and staff need support, so does your network. Control plays a critical role, especially when you consider how network vulnerabilities can disrupt your network. You need to have a remote monitoring solution put in place and personnel responsible for tracking any suspicious activity and addressing it according to cybersecurity best practices.

This eliminates the cost of owning and operating a data centre. Instead, you would use an MSP and contract a service level agreement with them. This type of service could include managed hosting, managed storage backup, WANs, and LANs. They also manage backup and storage options. 

Monitoring is a time-consuming task for a business. As an MSP, you can take on the role of monitoring an organization’s network performance, quality, and downtimes, remediating issues quickly when they arise—often before end-users realize there is an issue. This can all be done remotely via a remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform. Over time, you can gather data that helps you improve the infrastructure, optimize performance, and reduce costs. 

How do managed-services give security?

Cybersecurity is top of mind in the business world today. More and more breaches are occurring as cybercriminal tactics become more common and more effective.

Security as a Service is an outsourcing cyber-security model. Most SaaS solutions are deployed via the cloud, but some providers will also install a physical component in a company’s environment. At a minimum, a Security as a Service package should include:

  • Anti-Malware (protects from viruses, malware, and other cyber-attacks)
  • Patch Installation Verification
  • Security Reporting
  • Log Management and Analysis
  • System Monitoring, Testing, and Remediation
  • Firewall settings
  • Intrusion detection
  • Intrusion prevention
  • Encryption at the file level
  • Service delivery specifications

This is a catch-all service for remote security infrastructure. It covers everything from BDR solutions to anti-malware options, keeping them updated in real-time. 

Other MSPs have focused on enhancing Security through cyber threat monitoring or behaviour analytics, or trying to help end-users be more efficient through application modernization, robotic automation or unified communications intelligence.

An MSP can protect an organization against the latest malware threats, provide software patching and maintenance, monitor application compatibility, and perform other key parts of risk protection and cybersecurity. MSPs also manage organizations’ email security and help safeguard other data from cybercrime.

What software do managed-services provide?

With Software as a Service, Managed Services Providers distribute applications via the cloud, and then act as the go-between for your company and the software developer. Sometimes you can go directly through the software developer. Still, by going through the MSP, you’re guaranteed to always have the newest updates at no extra cost, and a more personalized customer service experience. It is the difference between buying groceries at the supermarket and ordering them directly from the wholesaler. 

With this type of service, providers offer a software platform, typically subscription-based, for businesses. A few examples include Office 365, universal communication software, and anti-virus software. 

The provider hosts and delivers the application to the customer and makes sure that it is constantly updated and improved. In some cases, the MSP is the SaaS provider, and in others, it resells the services and assists with integration to other on-premises and cloud applications.

How does managed IT give support?

Support Services cover helpdesk and troubleshooting needs. They are one of the most popular Managed Services on the market. With Support Services, the MSP takes care of everyday problems like password resets, or software updates. Most Support Services will cover mobile devices, tablets, and printers. Some will even provide on-site solutions when necessary.

It may not be as exciting as cybersecurity, but administration for your infrastructure is just as important. Don’t forget that your infrastructure is the backbone of your IT environment; it needs to be well maintained to keep your business functioning.

That’s why all managed IT services should include basic server maintenance, network administration, storage maintenance, and typical network issues.

The most common type of managed services. This includes traditional help desk responsibilities, including support tickets for help with IT problems among employees and network equipment.

Helpdesk Support

This seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many service contracts don’t include Helpdesk Support, or do, but impose extreme limits of its use. It could be that hours of operation are only at specific times of day, or that any overage amounts to extreme additional charges.

Either way, it’s worth checking to make sure that you’re getting the support you need at a reasonable rate. You’ll want to have access to support via phone, email, online ticketing system, and even Live Chat if available. 24/7 availability is a bonus, but will often come at an additional cost. If your business doesn’t operate after hours or on the weekend, you probably don’t need 24/7 support.

We also offer helpdesk support to help you maximize business continuity. Incidents can be reported through our Service Desk 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We provide end-user technical support ranging from self-service tools to proactive issue avoidance and real-time remote problem resolution. Our Service Desk is finely tuned and customized to the specific needs of your business and end-users—whether it’s planning, delivery operations, or overall infrastructure management—to give your workforce the best IT support experience.

What are the packages offered by managed-services providers?

This option is common among managed providers. It typically covers all services related to IT help — from troubleshooting to dealing with advanced issues. 

Managed Packages are full service managed solutions, designed to act as an In-House IT team. These packages combine multiple Managed Services solutions. At a minimum, they should involve some sort of Security, backup, monitoring, and full Support Services.

As an MSP, you will work with individual organizations to understand their unique requirements and ensure that their IT systems fully support their business objectives. As part of this, you’ll need to keep an eye on more general industry trends to make sure your customers remain on the cutting edge. As an MSP, you may be required to set up a cloud or other outsourced infrastructure, wireless and mobile networking, and virtualization solutions. 

Policy Development & Implementation

IT isn’t just about technology. It’s also about how it’s used and how it is maintained. Over time, your business will change, and so will your IT infrastructure. As it does, those old policies will need to be re-written and updated, or new ones will need to be created, especially if your industry has mandatory compliance regulations.

Make sure to request that any and all new or updated documentation covers Security, data monitoring, and BYOD. Policy creation and updates to current literature need to be defined in the managed services agreement.

Termination of Service

There’s always the possibility that, after trying it out for a few months, you’ll determine that managed services aren’t the right fit for you. Maybe it’s your budget, and maybe it’s your size, maybe it’s your needs – there are plenty of reasons why managed services aren’t the right call.

As there’s a possibility that you’ll have to terminate your managed service agreement, it’s best to check ahead of time what will take place. You don’t want to incur any undue penalties for cancelling your contract, so make sure to verify under what conditions you (or IT company) can cancel the agreement on their end.

Non-Solicitation Agreement

Last but certainly not least is the non-solicitation agreement, which should protect both you and the IT company against the other’s attempts to hire each company’s employees. Make sure the IT company also agrees not to sell your information to other companies, especially when they might be seeking to establish a service agreement contract with you. Be sure to check the documentation to see if it gets included. If not stated, ask to add it.

IT is a necessary beast. Technology drives the modern enterprise. Even the smallest of networks need some level of IT support — it’s an essential function. However, for a variety of reasons, IT support isn’t always easy to attain. 

Luckily, managed providers are plentiful and competitive, offering all the vital infrastructure to not only keep business data safe but also growing. 

If you find your company consumed by IT problems, be it small troubleshooting errors or massive drops in performance, it’s worth looking into an MSP. Options are expansive and flexible, meaning you don’t have to be the next tech monolith to afford superior services. With so many evolving options at your doorstep, the possibilities are truly limitless. 

There are many reasons why an organization may decide to turn over some or all of its IT functions to an MSP. Typically the main reason is to reduce costs and secure predictable pricing for routine IT expenses. If your organization can receive top-notch service and Security, maintain network uptime, and gain peace of mind knowing an expert is looking out for you at all times, why wouldn’t you be utilizing managed services? If you are interested in Managed Services, talk with an MSP to further understand all the types of applications you could be used with this model and what might make the most sense for you. You don’t have to dive in and start using each item on the list at once but can gradually introduce them into your workplace at the pace you are comfortable with.

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