MANAGED SERVICES | 10 MIN READ
What is a managed service provider? Your company's new best friend. Why? Because the internet is the wild wild west of modern society and your business can't afford to get caught in the crossfire.
A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that handles tasks that a business chooses to outsource in the form of a service (which is different than outsourcing for manufacturing). The most commonly outsourced business tasks tend to be print and IT services. Although different companies' reasons for outsourcing vary, they generally have a few goals in common: reduce costs, cut waste, and boost productivity.
This article will cover in detail the most common forms of managed services, what it will cost to leverage their help, and finally, their benefit.
Not a lot of time? Here's what we will cover:
Managed services are primarily leveraged by businesses, so the most popular services on our list are dominated by offerings that are primarily only helpful to companies. Most managed services aren't applicable for private usage.
Most Common Examples of Managed Services:
Managed IT Services
The internet has created a hyper-connected world. While this has been responsible for a myriad of innovations and conveniences, it's also been responsible for a significant amount of risk.
And that risk isn't getting less risky.
Managed IT Services can run the gamut of offerings, with some companies offering break-fix solutions, while others offer full-service options. An IT MSP can serve as a compliment to your in-house IT support or in lieu of one.
Here are the various offerings that a typical IT support service can provide:
- Managed Network/Infrastructure
- Includes server hosting, server virtualization, data back-up, and disaster recovery. For many businesses, this is the most cost-effective and popular form of managed IT services
RELATED: What is a Service Level Agreement?
- Managed Security
- Includes standard antivirus and malware protection, as well as ransomware protection. Updates are able to be performed remotely, allowing them to happen without interruption and in a timely manner.
- Managed IT Support
- The second most common form of IT managed services, IT support often includes a 24/7 helpdesk and assists customers with solving standard issues like computer freezing, password resets, and more. Most MSP's are able to provide many of these services remotely, which affords a company lower average downtime and saved costs on physical visits.
- Managed Cloud
- More and more companies are moving their data to the cloud. This resource allows a managed services provider to manage your storage and operating system remotely. This also provides an extra level of data back-up for catastrophic events -- such as a fire.
- Software as a Service (SaaS)
- Similar to managed security in operation, SaaS allows companies to ensure their software (such as Windows, Office, etc.) is updated and kept currently. This is most often accomplished remotely, allowing employees to have current equipment that is bug-free, without interrupting their workday.
Managed Print Services
Companies who employ a large quantity of printers within their business will find a use for managed print services. By actively collecting data on the average monthly volume for each printer, companies can make more informed decisions about their printing needs, and ultimately, save tremendous amounts of money.
The number one benefit to leveraging the benefits of a managed print services provider is their buying power with manufacturers. Through managed print services, companies can often purchase equipment at a reduced price, but more importantly, can receive supplies at a fraction of their retail cost.
This is all in addition to the service received by the service provider to perform, maintenance, repairs at no additional cost to your business.
It's common for businesses to use office technology companies to manage and install their business phone system. Businesses have and continue to migrate to a voiceover IP system where their entire phone system is connected via the internet. This allows managed service providers to be able to offer troubleshooting remotely through a basic IT support structure.
By choosing to use a communications method like VoIP, businesses are able to receive phone services for the price of their internet bill. The remaining monthly costs revolve around IT support.
Most importantly, are the hidden savings of avoiding downtime. In fact, VoIP systems have a 99.999% availability rate.
The cost of managed services can have a wide range depending on the type of managed service you are seeking. For managed IT service costs, a full-service option can range from $100 per user to $150 per user.*
There are cheaper, break-fix options available, as well as a la carte models that allow businesses to pick and choose which services they prefer. We don't recommend this approach, though, because it often leaves a company vulnerable (which avoiding vulnerabilities is the main benefit to having an MSP for IT services).
Managed print service costs will vary based on how many printers you are currently using in your office. The cost here is irrelevant, though, because if you are a candidate for managed print services you will save money on your monthly expenses.
If you aren't sure if you are a candidate for managed print services, then reach out to a local copier dealer and seek their guidance. Most will be happy to assist you, even if you aren't interested in making a purchase in the immediate future.
Managed communications costs will also vary from business to business, but this is often a relatively inexpensive cost to the customer (between $75-$200 per month, depending on the quantity of phones).
*Users are defined by the MSP
You probably know colleagues who have implemented managed services in their companies. If you're still wondering if it's a good solution for your business, here are a few benefits of choosing managed services:
Whether you're investing in managed print, IT or communication services, what you're actually doing is hiring a team of experts in their field to focus on your company.
Our experts live and breathe their specialties, and keep our customers abreast of new technology. Don't waste yours or your staff's time trying to keep up with a field in which you aren't an expert.
Lower Costs and Gain Predictability
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of managed services is the ability to lower and predict costs. Printing costs, especially, can be all over the board. Even month-to-month.
When you enter a managed services contract, you're signing on for a monthly fee (less than the cost of hiring the same staff, internally) that includes upgrades, service or support, maintenance, monitoring, and supplies all bundled into one bill.
Managed services allow you to go green with new technology and a slimmer workflow. Your managed service provider will focus on ways to reduce waste, enhance efficiency, and reduce needless spending -- all of which contribute to a greener company.
Every company has unique business goals, but the best companies usually focus on creating the best customer experience while maximizing profits.
Managed services help provide much of this because they increase a company's efficiency and effectiveness, saving them money and time in the process.
Also, it can never be overstated how important it is for businesses to take additional steps to protect customers' sensitive information. New laws and regulations, like GDPR, have already been passed in Europe to help protect customer privacy.
With data breaches becoming more and more common in the United States, it's only a matter of time before we begin to see our government taking a firmer stance on this recurring issue.
We assist customers everyday by helping them save money on their monthly operating expenses, while simultaneously ensuring that their networks are protected by our Managed IT Services in Atlanta.
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Posted by Daniel Gray
Daniel has a passion for educating and helping people and has spent over a decade in the education and office technology industries. He has a Bachelor's in Education from the University of West Georgia and an MBA from the University of Georgia. Daniel has been the lead blogger at SOS since 2017 and specializes in managed IT services, copiers and printers, and business phone systems. He lives in Atlanta and has a goofy greyhound named Ticker.