Outsourced IT has been a major trend for businesses over the last decade. SMBs commonly partner with an IT support company, because it is the most cost effective way to get reliable support for their users. However, there are many of distinct differences between IT support and managed services.
Many organizations would benefit from Managed IT Services, especially SMBs, because they can get excellent services without having to investing in the infrastructure themselves.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed Services are designed to manage the daily operation of a business’ technology stack – most commonly, this involves supporting their IT infrastructure, managing their applications and software, and possibly even providing cyber security to them. Business outsource the responsibility for managing, and anticipating the demand for all kinds of technological processes and functions – the goal for implementing managed services is usually to improve cost efficiency, and make business operations run more efficiently.
Managed services are generally the next step up from IT support services that rely on break/fix models, and also on-demand outsourcing, where an IT managed services company deliver on-demand services, bill customers for the work. With managed services, the provider generally uses a subscription model – so customers pay a monthly bill to have access to whatever services have been agreed between them and their managed service provider (also known as an ‘MSP’).
A managed services contract between a business and the provider is usually bound by a service-level agreement (SLA) – this is legally recognized commitment on behalf of the provider, which concerns the quality and availability of their services, as well as the responsibilities of both themselves and the customer.
IT Support vs. Managed Services
Most businesses have an IT department, which is concerned with the maintenance and support of a business’s information technology – this may include PCs, servers, storage arrays, software and applications, Cloud computing platforms, and network infrastructure. In other words, any tech or digital system that a business runs will be managed by the IT department.
IT support typically involves working at the frontline of a business’ tech infrastructure – depending on the size of the business, there could be a continuous list of support cases that need resolving. The typical responsibilities of IT support specialists include installing and configuring computer systems, and diagnosing and troubleshooting hardware and software faults.
Managed IT Services
If a business wishes to outsource more responsibilities than the ones associated with IT support, they will opt for managed services. The main areas of managed IT services include running an IT helpdesk, and delivering technical support – in other words, they provide everything that would be covered with IT support. Managed services also covers the setup and maintenance of a business’ network connectivity – this may include setting up broadband, and VPNs.
Managed services are also proactive in nature, meaning they implement network and infrastructure monitoring, in order to detect technology faults as and when they occur. Other important services include business continuity, which means ensuring that business operations recover in the event of a major technical fault – this can include backup and disaster recovery services.
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