What Is Managed Services and Who Needs It?

Managed services is a somewhat vague term to describe a wide range of business and technology services, typically outsourced to a contractor. For our purposes, we’ll stick to managed services as a subset of IT services. Managed services in IT may include:  services,  backup, data security, data storage, databases, Internet, monitoring, network management and systems management.

Managed service providers can augment or supplement an existing IT department. MSPs can prove useful to a corporate or government client in a variety of ways. Providers often use the latest equipment and technologies, ensuring your services are performed on an up-to-date level. A company can reduce or eliminate the need to buy new computer hardware and software, particularly in enterprise-grade infrastructure. Many MSPs work for a flat monthly fee, so there are no financial surprises in “upgrade charges” or other unexpected bills.

Your monthly expenses in IT change only when you add or subtract certain services. MSPs may operate and maintain secure data centers. Providers can offer specialist skills among their IT staffers, so you and your IT staff don’t have to devote time to acquiring a new skill set. Another advantage of managed services is having applications and servers in one central data center, providing managed services on a global basis to far-flung operations and staff.

These services could include an offsite help desk, aiding your non-IT employees when needed and providing advice to IT staff in emergencies and business service disruptions. MSPs are all about providing business continuity and disaster recovery services when those stressful situations present themselves. Most importantly of all, MSPs can help a company on a proactive basis, not just providing reactive services — providers can anticipate your growth needs by adding routers, servers, software, and storage before they become absolutely critical and necessary. Continuous testing of systems makes sure that your IT infrastructure will be ready to handle whatever operating challenges may emerge.

In addition to overworked and stretched-out IT departments, who needs to use managed services? Potential clients include start-up companies that don’t have the financial resources for their own IT staff, growing established companies that may have temporary needs for certain IT services or computing/communicating capabilities, and specializing businesses, such as accounting firms, banks, and insurance agencies, that need to focus on their line of business rather than devoting time to IT infrastructure. IT grows more complicated with the increasing size of a company.

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