You have probably come across the term IT Managed Service Provider, or MSP, in the industry at some point. The term has been increasingly common for a number of years, so what does MSP actually refer to, and what can it do for you and your small business?
Managed IT Services are menus of subscription-based products, which clients can pick and choose from to build a custom IT bundle to suit their business needs. Each service, or product, is charged at a fixed monthly rate, and offers scope for amendments if circumstances or needs change. This simple, buffet-like structure ensures companies benefit from predictable monthly IT support expenses.
IT Managed Service Providers work in partnerships with leading technology companies and Value Added Distributors to build a catalogue of all the latest IT solutions on offer to clients.
Managed IT Services
The most popular managed IT services from the extensive range available include:
An IT Support Help Desk is a very common service, as it ensures specialist support is on offer any time you need it. Most contracts offer unlimited access on weekdays between 8am and 6pm, and extras such as 24/7 out-of-hours support and in-depth project support are optional. Support Help Desk pricing is generally calculated by the number of users or devices being supported on a monthly basis.
All-year-round monitoring is another popular service choice. Pro-active monitoring ensures that any issues are dealt with quickly and any threats are detected, and covers you on a 24/7//365 basis. Again, pricing is generally calculated by the number of users or devices being supported.
Cloud Managed Services
Cloud IT is far from a passing craze: the Cloud market is predicted a growth of over 30% in the next five years, and has already become a staple item for most domestic and enterprise users. Cloud services usually include:
Dedicated Servers are more effective than purchasing your own. They can be obtained for a monthly cost, which will vary depending on the server specification
Hosted Desktops are ideal for businesses which work predominantly on the Cloud. An online platform can be hired, providing a work system that employees can access anywhere
Cloud Disaster Recovery Backup is fully automated and a range of backup services are available. Changing backup tapes is a thing of the past.
Comprehensive managed cloud VoIP and PBX Telephone Systems are another great way to keep tight control on your service costs, with service, equipment and call costs all included. Such services carry the added benefit of a pay-as-you-go tariff, and don’t require any upfront expenses.
Software-as-a-Service is already in wide use by many – a familiar example might be Microsoft Office 365. Services such as email, CRM and collaboration toolboxes are available as part of low-cost subscriptions such as those offered by Microsoft, and are always the most up-to-date edition. Software-as-a-Service applications can be customised on demand.
Hardware-as-a-Service refers to MSP hardware that clients hire out – Dell’s SONICWall Firewall is a popular example. Services such as Firewalls can be selected for a low monthly cost, and, as with SaaS, offers, the added benefit of applications always being of the highest quality and latest edition. These guarantees of both stable IT outgoings and top-quality services make IT Managed Service Providers an essential item on your business agenda.