What are IT Managed Services?
by TUCU Managed IT Services in Toronto
In this post we break down what are IT managed services versus hourly IT services. As IT consultants and Managed Services Providers, we get this question often. Let's break it down.
Hourly or "Break & Fix IT support" equates to little or no IT planning, prevention, security, management and just band aid solutions when things fail. This model of IT services puts business owners and IT providers at odds, and leaves the best interest of both wanting. IT Managed Services aligns them.
When it comes to IT management, the best interest of any company like yours is to fix underlying issues, close security gaps, reduce risk and prevent problems. The best interest of any good IT provider is to uphold best practices which prevent cyber threats, attacks and problems. IT Managed Services allows companies of any size to adopt an IT department for comprehensive and continuous IT management and support including improving IT security and threat monitoring, ransomware prevention, applying data security policies, using Identity & Mobility solutions to control access to company accounts, and providing IT support to staff. In this way, both parties work towards common interests and best practices. Both parties avoid the scramble of emergency services. Both parties are doing more than bare minimums, and putting forth their best work.
Sometimes, business owners who are first exploring IT Managed Services will be enticed to pre-purchase a block of time for the year, perhaps at a discount, instead of moving to a true IT management solution. Blocks of time are no different from break and fix support. The two companies are still not aligned - it's still a race against the clock.
True Managed IT Services remove the clock, and allow the IT provider and business to work at a deeper level. This allows for better problem resolution, best practices to be setup and maintained, full IT systems documentation and management, fast response times, work flow improvements for the business - and more.
You can focus on company initiatives while your managed IT services provider gets busy applying efficient automations to your small business - and managing your technology.
Learn more about these differences below - or get in touch to schedule your discovery call.
The Managed Services Model
Ok, so what is managed IT services?
Managed IT Services refers to an effective model of IT management where a network is first optimized and then proactively maintained by highly trained outside IT providers. It is ideal for small business without IT staff in house, enabling them to use a Managed IT service provider for all IT management needs, including increasing security and threat monitoring, controlling access to company accounts, and providing IT support to staff.
Managed Services are different from the old “break & fix” model where help is only called in after a problem has already occurred on an hourly basis, and the business is looking to pay the least amount of service hours, so the IT provider needs to bandaid fix things and move on.
Break & fix IT support puts the business and IT provider at odds, and leaves the best interest of both unattended to.
The best interest of the company is to fix underlying issues and close security gaps to prevent problems. The best interest of the IT provider is to uphold best practices which prevent emergency problems. This way, both companies are avoiding the scramble of emergency services and putting forth their best work.
Sometimes, business owners will look to pre-purchase a block of time for the year, usually at a discount, instead of moving to a full IT management solution. Blocks of time are no different from break and fix support. The two companies are still not aligned - it's still a race against the clock.
Managed IT services remove the clock, and allow the IT provider and business to work at a deeper level. This allows for better problem resolution, best practices to be setup and maintained, full IT systems documentation and management, fast response times, work flow improvements for the business- and more.
The Break & Fix IT Model
An old method of IT management is known as the “break & fix IT” model where help is only called in after a problem has already occurred.
The problems with "break and fix" are many. You’re left open to more security vulnerabilities. It’s reactive - by the time you’re experiencing a problem, you have also already lost time, data or both. You’re more vulnerable to major crashes which are more expensive to fix, and can leave your business non-functioning for days.
Managed Services eliminate those problems.
Break & fix models were popular when most of the working world got by just fine with pen & paper, cyber threats were minimal and ransomware did not exist yet.
Today, you rely on technology to compete and succeed, and a single network or security breach can devastate your business.
The old reactive IT method is outdated and insecure. Managed Services are considered to be the only wise alternative to in-house IT support staff.
In fact, IT Security experts recommend that all companies today, regardless of size, must have a CIO - Chief Information Officer. But when it comes to small teams, a CIO on payroll is not in the budget. Nevertheless, cyber threats keep rising and the ever changing technology landscape is increasingly difficult to navigate.
This is why Managed IT Services make sense for small business.
Do you need Managed Services?
Small teams with inadequate IT Support are frequently frustrated and delayed by computer problems, and are more vulnerable to IT security threats. Managed IT Services for small business address both these problems.
If the following sound familiar or ring true for you, it may be time to explore Managed IT Services.
- Team is frustrated with computer problems.
- Tired of waiting 2 or 3 days for computer help.
- Recent computer virus.
- IT network setup by a friend or someone who is not available to provide support or network management.
- Uncertainty about server management, network security or user and data management.
- Unsure how to check if backup is running or if data can be restored.
- Would like more access to tech support but do not have budget for an IT employee.
Common Cyber Security Threats To Small Business
Small Business IT Security threats are real and rising.
The most common successful threats result from malware, phishing and vulnerable software being exploited - like Adobe.
The most expensive successful threats are employee fraud, network breaches and cyber espionage.
Nearly all threat types have doubled or more since 2013. We are in a period of acceleration in threats. IT Updates and support services are needed.
Data backup statistics tell us that the average cost of a small business data loss event is $3400 + the IT service invoice.
Kaspersky reports that the average cost of recovering from an IT security breach for a small business is $38,000. By comparison, common IT Security upgrades to significantly improve protection for a small business with up to 25 employees come in at only approximately $6,000.
New network breach reporting rules in Canada make it even more important to invest in protecting your client and company data.
Painful IT Problems You Can Avoid
A Data Loss Event
The server backup fails to run for several weeks. No one on your team notices. Then, a hard drive fails. During the repair, your IT Provider has to be the bearer of bad news - you’ve lost weeks of work, invoices, orders and client communications. It will be difficult or impossible to recover the data. This is preventable with backup testing via managed services.
A Ransomware Infection
The server antivirus expired four months ago. No one noticed. A virus comes through and all your files are encrypted. A ransom is demanded to unlock them. No one can work. Removing a ransomware virus can be a full day of work or more – a very expensive IT repair. Preventing a virus is much less costly, stressful. Reduce your risk with managed services.
A Spambot Infection
You’re using a modem from your ISP or a big box store, not a commercial grade solution. It allows a spam bot on to your network which begins using your Exchange email server to send spam. Your ISP cuts off your internet, leaving your team unable to work. And your work domain is blacklisted, which means your emails are now going straight to everyone’s spam folders. Your communications just took a big hit. This mess can take days to clean up. Prevent it with better tech support.
Internal Data Theft
A disgruntled employee plans to leave and launch a competing business. They are biding their time, forwarding themselves important documents, valuable contact information, and protected data. You have no idea because you are lacking the security tools to protect you from this common internal data theft.
Losing Business To Competitors
Businesses with as few as 1-2 employees are being asked to prove their cyber security posture in order to maintain existing contracts or win new clients. Information Security Screenings are becoming common in the market place. From the basics to NIST compliance and beyond, lucrative business deals are being awarded to security conscious companies. Your Managed Service Provider can help you achieve and maintain IT compliance solutions and win more business.
Are you ready to delegate your IT management?
Managed IT Services cost less than a data loss, network breach or hiring an in house IT employee. For the small or medium sized enterprise, a managed services provider will add value by providing you with superior IT security, support and management than most SMB's could implement on their own, or by hiring or assigning a single employee to manage technology for the business.
Technology management is complex and requires time, skill, attention and daily practice to stay on top of the ever changing IT landscape.
Any independent professional or business owner should seek out hourly IT support to properly set up their business.
Once a second employee is to be hired, the business should again hire an IT consultant to advise on best practices for sharing data with an employee or across multiple devices (and restricted or revoking sharing upon employee exit).
Once a company begins to grow to in size and activity, Managed IT Services should be considered to protect company data and provide support to the team so they can work without interruption. It used to be that Managed Services were reserved for large corporations with in house IT departments who would save costs by outsourcing some or all of their IT operations. However, as technology has evolved and been adopted in to every aspect of our personal and work lives, companies of every size are using Managed IT Services to protect against cyber security threats and maintain IT and cloud systems, accounts, security settings and best practices.
TUCU is a Managed IT Service Provider in Toronto ON. We support SMB and non profit teams of 2-100 employees. Schedule your free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
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