What is a Managed IT Service?
Managed IT services refer to various information technology (IT) tasks provided and managed by a third-party contractor. These services are designed to shift the responsibility of maintaining IT from the customer to the service provider.
The relationship is typically based on a managed service arrangement, where the provider is responsible for the functionality of the IT service and equipment, and the customer pays a monthly fee. This model offers predictable pricing and allows businesses to focus more on core operations rather than IT management tasks.
Core Components and Functions
The core components of managed IT services include a variety of offerings, each tailored to meet different business needs. Among the most commonly used services are remote monitoring and management of servers, desktops, and mobile devices, which is foundational for most managed service providers (MSPs).
Over time, MSPs have diversified their services to include managed security services, catering to the growing demand for IT security assistance, and cloud services, where MSPs manage public cloud services with major providers like AWS, Google, and Microsoft. Managed IT services also extend to areas like communications, such as managed IP telephony services, where the provider manages voice services for a customer
Evolution and Current Trends in Managed IT Services
Managed IT service providers have evolved significantly since their inception in the 1990s with the emergence of application service providers (ASPs). These providers paved the way for the modern MSP by offering remote application hosting services, which were a precursor to cloud computing.
Today, the terms ‘cloud service provider’ and ‘managed service provider’ are often used interchangeably, especially when services are delivered over the internet and backed by a service-level agreement (SLA). MSPs have expanded their scope from initially focusing on remote monitoring and management of servers and networks to a broader range of services, adapting to the changing needs of businesses
Comprehensive Breakdown of Managed IT Service Types
Managed IT services encompass a range of offerings, each designed to alleviate specific IT management burdens from businesses. Common types include:
- Remote Monitoring and Management: This foundational service involves overseeing servers, desktops, and mobile devices, and is vital for maintaining the health of IT infrastructure.
- Managed Security Services: With increasing cybersecurity threats, many providers now focus on developing robust security practices to protect client data and systems.
- Cloud Services: These services have grown alongside cloud computing, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and partnerships with major cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft, to manage public cloud resources.
- Managed IP Telephony: Some providers specialize in managing voice services within client accounts, ensuring efficient and reliable communication systems.
Emerging and Niche Services in Managed IT
As the field evolves, managed IT services are expanding into niche areas, offering more specialized technical support in response to specific industry needs and technological advancements. This diversification allows providers to offer unique solutions that address more complex or industry-specific challenges.
In these sections, a range of managed IT services and their evolution are explored, highlighting how they cater to various business needs and technological advancements
Enhancing Business Operations with Managed IT Services
Managed IT services significantly enhance business operations by transferring the burden of IT maintenance from the customer to the service provider. This shift allows businesses to concentrate on their core activities, improving operational efficiency.
Managed IT services also provide comprehensive IT solutions like ITSM, for remote monitoring and problem management to cloud services and cybersecurity, tailored to each business’s unique needs. This broad spectrum of services ensures that businesses can address a variety of IT challenges effectively.
Managed IT Services and Business Scalability
Managed IT services are pivotal in supporting business growth and scalability. By offering flexible and scalable IT solutions, these services can adapt to the changing needs of a growing business.
This adaptability is crucial for businesses aiming to expand their operations without being hindered by IT limitations. Managed IT services ensure that as a business grows, its IT infrastructure can grow with it, providing the necessary technical support and resources.
The Role of Managed IT Services to Maximizing Savings and Business Growth
When you first start looking for ways to save money, it’s easy to make a handful of changes that create a big impact. After a while, finding ways to save money gets a little harder. You can only save so much money by cutting back on your expenses and avoiding large purchases. Thankfully, cutting back isn’t the only way to save money.
Once you cut all unnecessary expenses, it’s time to save money by improving your business and service operations. Instead of scaling back and not spending, you’ll want to start making investments in the long-term success of your business. Getting managed IT services is one of those investments.
Before diving into the benefits, let’s look at what managed IT services are, along with some examples of commonly contracted tasks for ITSM (IT service management).
Some typical managed IT services include:
- Servicing rented commercial copy machines
- Managing a server and/or networking equipment
- Managed public/private/hybrid cloud services (like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure)
- SaaS services like Salesforce and Infusionsoft
- Managed VOIP services
- Remote systems monitoring and asset management
- And more ITSM frameworks and service offerings
Essentially, any IT task you might need can be a managed service. Every business will have different needs based on their network, rented equipment, onsite hardware, cloud-based software, cloud computing needs, and other IT infrastructure and configuration management.
How will managed IT services save money?
When you take on managed IT services, you can expect to experience some or all of the following financial benefits:
1. Preventive maintenance saves money
When you get managed IT services, you’ll get preventive maintenance. Preventive maintenance is an easy way to save money by avoiding breakdowns that can negatively impact your business. You can’t prevent every issue, but you can certainly prevent a handful of predictable potentials.
There are two types of preventive maintenance. The first is obvious – staying on top of maintenance tasks to prevent equipment from breaking down or malfunctioning. For example, defragmenting your hard drives periodically, scanning your website and network for malware, and checking cable connections are all simple examples of preventive maintenance.
Another form of preventive maintenance you can get from managed IT services is lifecycle tracking and management. Every piece of equipment has a finite lifecycle, and most of the time those lifecycles are predictable.
For instance, routers have a lifespan of about five years, and enterprise switches last between 10-12 years. Of course, the actual lifecycle of equipment will vary based on brand. For instance, Cisco and Aruba wireless devices last much longer than other brands.
When you lease equipment through a managed IT service provider, they’ll track the lifecycle of your equipment. When it starts getting toward the end of life (EOL), they’ll replace the equipment.
Without a managed IT service, you’ll have to track and manage your lifecycles, which is possible, but cumbersome without the right AIOps Platform to predict outages proactively.
2. Less downtime means less lost revenue
When your website or network goes down, every minute accumulates more lost revenue. If your network goes down, you need to get it up and running fast.
Without managed IT services, if your network or website goes down, you’ll have to find someone last minute to restore your business operations. If you find someone who can act immediately, you’ll pay a premium for their services. If your breakdown happens on a weekend, you might need to wait until Monday.
Most managed IT services will guarantee you access to services 24/7, even on the weekends. How long it will take depends on your individual service agreement, but you will be a priority.
3. You’ll avoid costly DIY repair mistakes
DIY repairs gone wrong are the absolute worst way to throw money down the drain. Wanting to save money on repairs is understandable, but repairing your own business infrastructure is a bad idea. If you’re not a trained technician, there are many things that can go wrong.
Although self-repair is legal and cannot legally void a warranty even if your contract states otherwise, you might do more damage trying to fix the problem or disaster recovery. If you do more damage, you’ll end up paying even more when you call a technician.
4. You’ll get high-quality equipment
Managed IT service providers usually offer options for hardware, but you don’t have to settle for the lower-tier equipment. If you’re committed to using only the best equipment, without having to buy it yourself, you may find what you need through a managed IT provider.
For example, if you want to set up a local network in your office without buying top-of-the-line network switches, a managed IT company may provide the switches you want under a managed service plan. Even if you’ll eventually buy your own switches, a managed service plan will give you the chance to try them out before you make the financial commitment.
Likewise, say you’re running a local mail center and you want to offer the best copy machine to your customers. However, you don’t want to worry about repairs. You can rent the copy machine you prefer and get a managed IT plan to cover repairs and maintenance.
Addressing Common Challenges in Managed IT Services
Despite their benefits, managed IT services can present challenges such as potential security gaps, dependency on third-party providers, and the risk of receiving biased advice from providers aligned with specific vendors. It’s crucial for businesses to carefully select a reputable provider with a strong track record and clearly understand the services offered and their alignment with the organization’s needs.
Managing Risks and Cybersecurity in Managed IT
Managed IT services can significantly improve a company’s cybersecurity posture by offering expertise and resources that may not be available in-house. Providers typically offer a range of security services, including risk assessments, policy development, and implementation of security architectures like zero-trust models.
Additionally, they provide crucial services such as configuration drift monitoring and maintenance of firewalls and intrusion detection systems, further bolstering an organization’s defense against cyber threats.
In conclusion, while managed IT services offer substantial benefits in terms of operational efficiency, scalability, and cybersecurity, it’s important for businesses to carefully evaluate and choose the right service provide
. They must understand the pricing models and contractual terms offered and be aware of the potential challenges and ways to mitigate them
AI-Powered IT Service Management (AITSM)
If you’re ready to start saving money by improving your business operations, it’s time to consider managed IT. Although standard managed services are helpful, AI brings managed IT to a whole new level.
The partnership between Aisera and Cloud MSG, in early 2021, to offer a next-generation managed service, deployable in any IT organization is proof of how AI and Automation can truly supercharge employee experience and help with avoiding costs to organizations looking to improve services and processes in-house.
“Customers deserve the best time-to-value and need substantial benefits from their IT Service Desk Automation solution immediately. We are proud to partner with Cloud MSG to provide significant auto-resolution rates and cost savings over the pricing models of traditional MSPs,” said Muddu Sudhakar, CEO, Aisera.
“Our company has redefined the Managed Services Provider (MSP) space by making service desks more user-centric while maintaining data security, compliance, and system availability,” said Carl Timperio, Chief Technology Officer at Cloud MSG. “When the need arose for a robust pure-play AI backbone, the natural choice was Aisera. With the growing pressure that so many IT teams are facing, we see truly capable AI integrated into their service desk as the only long-term solution. That’s why we’re so excited to partner on this endeavor.”
The partnership has benefitted large-scale companies by automating up to 90 percent of service desk requests–with a cost savings of 90 percent over the pricing models of traditional MSPs. Service desk agents have experienced dramatic productivity gains because incoming tickets are not lagging on an ever-growing backlog; instead, they auto-resolve instantly. Cloud MSG and Aisera enable enterprise clients to immediately deliver an exceptional AI experience to users across the organization.
With our Next-Gen ITSM platform, you can deliver seamless self-service solutions that boost productivity and your bottom line. If you’re ready to elevate your business to the next level using AI-powered tools, watch Generative AI demos to learn more about how our services will benefit your business, or book a free AI demo today!