What are managed services and how are they different?
Managed solutions and services are products that provide technology to a business while placing the burden of upkeep and repair on the service provider. Sometimes this might be equipment installed at your location, but managed by the provider. Other times it may be software or hardware located in the provider’s data centers (i.e. “the cloud”). Many technologies, including security, communications, and network, are commonly provided through hosted or managed services.
Can they save my business time?
While the benefits can vary depending on the technology and the product, the most common benefit is they lessen time spent on technology maintenance and troubleshooting. When something breaks – such as a piece of networking hardware or a server running an important application – productivity can be brought to a halt. If it is something you own or maintain yourself, it is up to you, or your IT team, to drop everything and find a way to get things working again. Also, if you own the technology outright and have to buy a replacement, you won’t have time to shop for the best solution costing you money.
Can they keep my business more secure?
Most technology relies on software that is continually developed and updated. Over the product lifecycle, software bugs or dangerous security vulnerabilities are discovered and require software updates or “patches” in order to remain secure. Other times, new versions are released and updating might be required to maintain compatibility with other systems. Many managed services will proactively handle the patches and updates as part of the service, or at least provide them at a reduced cost.
This means that you can keep products up to date and secure without having to spend time researching and updating your technology. Offloading these tasks can free up valuable time to let you focus on what is really important: providing the best possible experiences for your customers.
What about my IT staff?
If your business employs IT staff or a trusted 3rd party IT services provider, utilizing managed solutions does not mean you should part with them. Removing the day-to-day burdens of maintaining technology allows your IT staff to be a more proactive part of your business and much more responsive to the ever changing needs of your organization.
By including your technology experts in planning and decision making processes, they can help your organization gain efficiency, improve the customer experience and stay competitive.
In today’s digital world, your IT staff or IT consultants are more than just a necessity; they are a beneficial tool to improve your organization.
This sounds like change, and change is scary!
You probably already outsource many necessary areas of your business, such as legal services or tax preparation. Managed technology service are just one more way to keep you and your employees focused on your business and allow someone else to take care of time consuming, but important, maintenance and upkeep. This can free up time and save you money along the way.
By Justyn Hauck:
Justyn Hauck is a sales engineer with CenturyLink Business. He has been working in business technology since 1998 and lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Stacey and children Caleb and Ava.