Selecting a Managed Service Provider

There is a lot to think about when selecting a Managed Service Provider for your business, and a lot of IT providers out there hawking wares of various kinds.  However, not all Managed Service Providers are created equal.  Some companies that tout managed services don’t actually even qualify for the name.  There’s a big difference in the level of support you get, and below we’ll try to outline what that difference is.

What are Managed Services?

In the industry, Managed Services is typically used to denote an IT provider that does some level of proactive service for their clients.  This can range from basic patches and updates for windows machines, to a high-touch proactive support solution.  There are actually several levels of support within managed services.  We’ve created this neat infographic to try and outline some of the differentiating services.

Some common themes that set Managed Services apart from simply a “computer guy” that fixes stuff are the proactive nature of the solutions.  There are tons of shops out there that you can call and get a fix when your computer is broken.  They simply fix that problem and wait for your next call.  That model is called Break/Fix.  Support is typically billed hourly, and when that particular problem is fixed they’re gone.  This is the best model for micro businesses (under 5 employees), or mom and pop shops that don’t have much in the way of IT needs.

Managed Service Providers strive to take support to the next level, but not all MSPs are created equal as noted above.

Traditional Reactive

A traditional reactive MSP will add some basic support options above those offered by a Break/Fix shop.  They typically have a helpdesk you can call with questions to get help, and offer some basic services such as patch management and system administration.  This helps to at least keep your minimum bases covered for IT.  There is a lot more that can be done to add value, but many managed service providers aren’t advanced enough themselves to offer additional services past these.

Advanced Proactive

The next level of service up with an MSP is Advanced Proactive Service.  This typically starts adding additional features that add value such as Monitoring and Alerting on your systems, advanced backup solutions that protect your data and can keep you productive in an emergency, and service level guarantees.  These additional services allow you to rest assured that you’ll know immediately when things go wrong, have fast response times, and a solid recovery plan with your backups.  This coupled with the traditional services offered such as helpdesk, patch mangement, and systems administration make for a much more advanced offering.

High-Touch NextGen

Once you have a proactive solution in place and your day to day needs are being met you can still benefit from some of the features you only get with a NextGen managed service provider.  These include things like advanced security and compliance solutions to ensure the safety and integrity of your data.  Strategic IT planning comes into play and empowers your organization to make better IT decisions by offering advanced IT reporting.  When you have data at your fingertips and are planning for the future it allows you get the very best bang for your IT buck.  These items are often undervalued by business owners, but some of these finer points will actually have the largest impact on both the relationship you have with your IT provider and how effective the solution is as a whole.  If you don’t have a provider that is helping provide these higher level services than you really don’t have a complete solution for IT.

i.t.NOW is a provider of NextGen Managed Services to companies across the Wasatch Front.  We would love to talk with you about how our high-touch proactive solution could save your business time and money.