If you've researched methods of taking care of your IT needs, you've probably come across the term “managed services," "managed IT" or “managed network services.” What is it—and do you need it?
Managed Network Services can be generally defined as outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities for improving operations and cutting expenses. When it comes to technology, it's, more specifically, the outsourcing of continual monitoring and day-to-day administrative duties of your IT infrastructure. Basic services often start with a monitoring service which notifies you of problems, but you resolve them on your own. More intensive services cover everything from alerts through problem resolution.
How do you know if your organization could benefit from managed network services? The best way to determine if you’ll cut costs is to know what you are currently paying for your IT’s upkeep—and then comparing that to an estimate from a reputable managed network services provider.
If you've experienced any one or more of these signs, then Managed Network Services might be right for you:
1. You don’t have a dedicated IT professional on staff.
Many small- to-medium-sized businesses have IT needs that will quickly overwhelm the time and skills of the unlucky staff member who isn’t an IT professional—but just happens to be the tech-savviest person around. Many business owners find themselves in a tough position trying to keep a handle on technology while also running their business.
Even if this task is delegated to someone else, it still means someone on your staff is spending a large amount of time fixing IT problems rather than being productive at their job. And they probably don’t have the time or tech knowledge to plan for the future of your IT—dooming you to a continually reactive cycle that never prepares you for future growth, challenges, or demands on your network.
If you don’t have a dedicated IT person, managed services is the perfect substitute. Rather than paying the salary and benefits for another employee, you could pay a reduced amount for managed services. A technology professional with five years of experience may be worth $70,000+ a year. That $70,000 salary only gets you one person, not a team of professionals with expertise and knowledge. When you hire your own IT staff, there are also challenges scheduling around vacation, training, and illness. Using managed IT services provides full time IT coverage and vacations, illness, and other absences don’t affect your support.
2. Your IT professional is swamped with everyday tasks—and things are falling through the cracks.
Is your IT person on top of your software licensing? Are your security updates and upgrades being run continually on all your computers, server, and other devices? Even a single seasoned professional can be overrun with work that keeps piling up, and the biggest culprit is the everyday management and monitoring tasks that get delayed and shunted to the side when a bigger or higher priority issue comes up.
If your IT professional needs help with the daily tasks in order to concentrate on the more important projects, managed services can supplement resources you already have.
3. You’re always bringing in outside help to fix “emergency” problems that could have been detected and handled earlier.
If you currently work with an IT company, take a look at your “it broke and they fixed it” history with them. Is your server going down repeatedly because no one detected one of its hard drives was going bad? Are you continually paying for someone to come on-site and fix little problems with your employees’ computers?
The hassles you experience with break/fix IT work can be reduced with managed services. Continuous remote monitoring and maintenance can detect problems, notify IT professionals, and have issues fixed before they ever cause a computer to blue screen or a server to crash. Sometimes all it takes is avoiding a bill for eight hours of server work for your managed services contract to pay for itself!
For these and other reasons, Managed Network Services are an attractive option for many organizations. It’s a decision that should be an integral part of your overall business strategy, involving senior executives and key IT staff.
If you are interested in finding out more about the business advantages of using managed network services, contact an Advanced Network Systems representative. As an experienced managed service provider, Advanced Network Systems can take a look at the history of IT issues you’ve experienced and help you formulate a return on investment analysis for leveraging its cost-saving benefits.
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