What is Managed Services?
A managed services provider (MSP) is most often an information technology (IT) services provider that manages and assumes responsibility for providing a defined set of services to its clients either proactively or as the MSP (not the client) determines that services are needed. Most MSPs bill an upfront setup or transition fee and an ongoing flat or near-fixed monthly fee, which benefits clients by providing them with predictable IT support costs.
Why Managed Services?
If you are a business looking for IT Support, there are mostly, 2 types offer:
1. Break-Fix IT Support/On Call Support.
2. Managed Services IT Support.
Break-Fix IT Support/On Call Support
Break-Fix does what it says on the can. Basically you wait for your computer system to break, then you get it fixed and you pay for the time taken to fix the problem.
Sounds simple, but there are 3 potential issues with this:
- Prevention is cheaper than cure – we all instinctively know this to be true, but it’s hard to put a number to the cost of waiting for things to break.
- Cost is open ended – if the problem takes 1 hour to fix then you pay for 1 hour of IT Support. If it takes 1 day then you pay for 1 day of IT Support. This makes it difficult to budget for your IT Services and sometimes a bit scary when you get the bill.
No incentive to cure the underlying problem – the IT Support Company supplying a Break-Fix IT Support Service has no incentive to fix the underlying problem. Firstly, because you are paying by the hour you put pressure on them to get any kind of fix and secondly if the problem recurs again they get the chance to come back and bill you yet again.
Managed Services IT Support
A Managed Service is fundamentally different. You don’t pay on an hourly basis – you pay an agreed fee for a working system. It’s then up to the Managed Service Provider to make the system work no matter how much time it takes them.
The wise Managed Service Provider spends their time and energy on preventing problems with your computer network rather than expensively fire fighting problems that arise. Though there will always be some fire fighting this can be minimised with effective network management.
The main benefits of Managed Services:
- Proactive – updates, security and maintenance procedures.
- Recurring - maintenance is an ongoing task so it needs to be done on a regular basis.
- Fixed price - usually a fixed monthly subscription.