In the past few years, the world of Information Technology has been buzzing about managed services. IT companies are promoting managed services more and more, and businesses are buying in. But what are managed services?
Managed Services: A (Short) History
Traditionally, IT services have operated on a “break-fix” model -- as in, waiting for something to break, then fixing it. For as long as computers have been commercially available, there has been a demand for people with the ability to fix them, and the break-fix model was the only available form of service given that maintenance had to occur on-site and networks were in their infancy. The first systems built to monitor business technology were large, clunky, and exceedingly complex, built for giant enterprises and cost-prohibitive for most businesses.
Yet as the computer age progressed, these systems were simplified and condensed, and became available to a wider range of IT companies and businesses looking for a better IT solution. In the early 2000s, smaller companies were finally able to take advantage of some of the first managed services.
IT's Paradigm Shift
Simply put, managed services work to prevent technology downtime, making sure nothing really breaks, costing you precious productivity hours. The obvious issue with the break-fix model of IT is that it assumes your technology will break, and is reactive rather than proactive in solving that problem. Without monitoring the system, break-fix services couldn’t respond until they were called in to do so, resulting in costly technology downtime. With managed services, however, an IT company is able to monitor a client’s systems 24/7 and respond to issues immediately, or even before they happen. By setting up a series of conditions, including user actions and outside interference, managed IT services get alerted whenever there is a situation that they need to respond to, often without the business knowing there is something wrong. This seamless maintenance and protection is invaluable when so many businesses and individuals rely on technology every day.
Benefits of Managed Services
Managed services have a clear advantage over the break-fix model in that they keep your business running, without pauses and delays that come from technology failure. But there are also other benefits.
As technology continues to change and advance, it is becoming more complex. For businesses, that can mean higher IT costs for in-house consultants as the need for specialized experts for different technologies rises. This is often overwhelming for small and medium sized businesses, whose budget may not be able to accommodate both new technology and staff to maintain it. Although it may sound expensive for an IT company to monitor systems constantly, managed services are actually comparable or lower in cost than break-fix services because some network and software problems can be fixed remotely, removing the constant need for travel costs.
Another benefit of managed services is that they have become relatively common. Because on-site maintenance is sometimes still required, having a local managed services provider means shorter wait times in case of a hardware issue. Many IT companies in companies across the globe offer managed services, including Harbor Networks leading the managed services Boston charge, if we may say so ourselves. It’s easy to find a reliable provider that can fit your company’s needs and budget.
Managed services are the new way of providing IT support, and they’re here to stay. With clear benefits over the break-fix model of IT support, business are switching in droves. If technology downtime would drag your business’s operations to a halt, it might be time to consider switching yourself.