In today’s digital age, digitalisation is critical to the success of businesses of all sizes. However, managing Information Technology (IT) systems can be time-consuming, complex, and expensive, especially for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This is where managed IT services outsourcing comes in.
In this article, we’ll explore what managed IT services is, the key benefits of outsourcing your business IT needs, and how it can help your business grow and thrive.
What is managed IT service?
A managed IT service is an solution that provides businesses with a comprehensive range of IT support and services. It enables SMEs to outsource their IT infrastructure, hardware, software, and services to a third-party provider known as a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs manage, monitor, and maintain IT systems on behalf of their clients.
What is a Managed Service Provider (MSP)?
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a third-party company that provides managed IT services to businesses. MSPs offer a range of services, including network and server management, data backup and recovery, cybersecurity, cloud services, and help desk support.
They act as an extension of their client’s IT departments, providing expert IT knowledge and support.
Types of Managed IT Services
Most managed IT services will include a range of IT support and service types as below:
1. IT helpdesk support
This is a type of IT service that provides SMEs with access to IT technical support and troubleshooting assistance. It is usually provided by a team of IT professionals who are trained to assist end-users with various technical issues, such as software and hardware problems, and network issues.
It is literary like having your own IT Department but is outsourced, and it can be on-site or remotely.
2. Network and server management
This type of service usually involves managing the SME’s network and servers. The usual tasks are network configuration, server installation and maintenance, remote monitoring and management, and security management.
SMEs that rely heavily on technology to operate might need this, due to it being quite critical since networks and servers are usually the critical IT infrastructure of the business itself.
This is different from IT helpdesk support since this service only deals with the IT infrastructure and not the end users.
3. Cloud services
Cloud services are IT solutions that offer SME access to cloud-based computing resources such as software applications, processing power, and storage. Examples like Office 365, Dropbox, Canva, or Website hosting servers.
Compared to traditional on-premises IT options, cloud infrastructure & services are often more cost-effective and can be easily scaled to meet changing business requirements. Especially since most cloud services are subscription based with low upfront costs needed, most companies are starting to shift to cloud services model more.
MSP that provides these services usually are the ones helping businesses to subscribe to these cloud services or managed platform, and provide initial setup, configurations, and training.
4. Data backup and recovery
Data backup and recovery is an IT service that involves regularly backing up critical business data, and recovery of it.
Be it locally backup onsite at the business location, or to other cloud storage solutions. Having a proper security configuration and maintenance, along with proper backup & recovery workflow is crucial.
Prevention is better than cure, hence this type of service is usually underrated until there’s any data loss or data breach incident. Therefore, this service is essential for every business nowadays that relies on its data to operate.
Cybersecurity services involve protecting a company’s computer systems and networks from cyber threats, such as ransomware, viruses and malware. This managed data security service includes tasks such as vulnerability assessments, intrusion detection, and incident response. Although some SMEs may not require this service if they have a proper paid end-point protection system like Antivirus on their devices.
However, managed security services are more than that, it also involves training end users on cyber threats awareness. Examples like email phishing techniques that end users commonly fell for. Also, configuring email servers with proper DKIM SPF and DMARC to fend off email spam, spoofing & phishing.
You wouldn’t want that due to your staff email being compromised, and being used by threat actors to spam all clients and vendors’ emails to spread ransomware or malware, right?
Cybersecurity is crucial for all businesses nowadays, as cyber threats are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated. Antivirus or Protection software can’t always catch up on it, especially those utilizing zero-day exploits.
6. Infrastructure management
Infrastructure management is the service that helps the business plan, set up, and configure the company’s IT infrastructure. This usually involves planning the hardware, software, and network devices involved.
For example, if a company need to set up its infrastructure so that all their branch’s data is being stored only in the HQ server.
This service will help choose the file storage server and network devices that can support a VPN connection. Then set up the branch’s network to establish a site-to-site connection to HQ. Then utilizing proper software on the user’s devices to access the file storage server easily. The service provider also can configure the file storage server to properly segregate the permission of each branch’s user access so that users only see what they should.
From the example above, you can see that this service can help a company set up a proper, streamlined, and secured IT infrastructure. This is fundamentally important for any business that needs a proper IT foundation in place.
7. Software management
Normally, the software vendor will be the one providing these services. Unless it is procured and subscribed through MSP instead. Tasks involved are software installation, configuration, and maintenance.
However, in some cases MSPs can take over all these tasks from the software vendor instead. Especially if it is much more cost-effective than subscribing to a yearly maintenance plan, but the software doesn’t require frequent installation, configuration or maintenance.
8. Hardware and software procurement
Most of the time business owners have an objective to achieve or a problem to solve, but they are not aware of the IT solutions available for it.
Hardware and software procurement services will help with product evaluation, vendor selection, and purchasing. Making sure that the product is suitable, and the costs are competitive and within the client’s budget.
Usually, we will also make sure that selected vendors deliver their products and services properly.
The Growing Need for Managed IT Services
The need for Managed Information Technology Services is growing, particularly among SMEs. As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, they need expert IT knowledge and support to manage their IT infrastructure. However, many SMEs do not have the resources to hire an in-house IT team.
This IT services enables them to access expert IT support and services at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team.
Key Benefits of Outsourcing Your IT to Managed IT Services Providers
This solution can offer a range of benefits for SMEs. Here are six key benefits of using managed IT services below:
1. Reduced IT Costs
Using managed IT services can help you save money on IT infrastructure, personnel, and training costs. They can also help you reduce the risk of costly IT problems, such as data breaches and network downtime.
2. Access to Specialized IT Expertise
Managed IT services providers have teams of IT professionals with specialized knowledge and expertise in various areas. Hence, your business will gain access to these specialized resources, without having to hire and manage an internal IT team.
3. Increased Uptime and Quality of Service
MSPs usually are proactively monitoring and doing maintenance for your business IT systems, which helps to prevent downtime and perform well. This will usually lead to increased uptime of your IT systems, and indirectly increase the quality of service of your business to your clients.
4. Scalability and Flexibility
Flexible and scalable solutions can be tailored to meet the specific needs of your business. Especially if the services provider always plans ahead and provided a scalable option. So that you can flexibly expand or add new users or new features as your business grows.
Some even provide subscription base pricing models that can scale down if you don’t need that much managed IT support and services from them.
5. Focus on Core Business Activities
SME business owners always don’t have the time to always focus on the nitty-gritty internal IT issues. With managed IT services provider, you can free up your time and resources to focus on your actual business activities. This can help you lighten the workload, improve productivity, increase revenue, and stay competitive in your industry.
6. No Single Point of Failure at Personnel
In-house IT teams may experience personnel turnover, leaving a gap in knowledge and expertise. With MSPs, SMEs have access to a team of IT professionals who can step in and provide support without any disruption to service.
Finding The Right Managed Service Provider For Your Needs
Managed service providers can offer SMEs valuable resources and expertise for their IT needs. However, before turning to managed IT Services, appointing the right MSP for your organization requires careful evaluation and management. Below we outline key steps to take to ensure your business are getting full benefits of managed IT services from them.
1. Understand the Role of an MSP:
MSPs are an invaluable resource for businesses, but it’s essential to understand their services and why you need them before choosing one.
2. Evaluate MSPs:
Determine which MSP is best suited for your specific needs by understanding your objectives and assessing the capabilities of different MSPs and their service offerings.
3. Establish Successful Onboarding:
Once you’ve chosen an MSP, ensure a successful onboarding process so they can begin working with your organization.
4. Maintain Effective Governance Processes:
Establish clear performance expectations and accountability measures for the MSP to ensure success.
5. Measure Performance and Determine Value:
Over time, measure the MSP’s performance against the service level agreement and determine whether they’re providing enough value for the cost.
6. Adapt to Changing Needs:
If your IT needs change, find an MSP who can meet those evolving needs appropriately.
Last but not least, keep in mind that successful outsourcing requires both sides – client (you) and provider – to work together towards common goals throughout the process.
This means being proactive about communication so that both sides understand each other’s expectations at all times. With these steps in mind, managed IT services can be an incredibly beneficial decision for your business!
In conclusion, outsourcing IT services to a Managed Service Provider is crucial for businesses of all sizes, particularly for SMEs. By outsourcing your IT needs, you can access expert IT knowledge and support at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team, while also benefiting from reduced IT costs, increased your competitive edge, and the ability to focus on core business activities instead.
If you’re interested in learning more about how our Managed IT Services in Malaysia can help your business grow and thrive, please visit our free IT consultation page today.