Welcome to managed services! Sort of. This is another one of those things in the world of small business ownership that is both under-estimated and over-estimated. As well as being vastly misunderstood. Simply put, you outsource the management of your information technology infrastructure to your IT guy who generally (although, not always) installs some sort of monitoring software on a server and your workstations. In fact this may be one of the bigger reasons you even have a server. If that’s the case, your IT guy (well intentioned or not) sold you on something you really didn’t need.
At its core, Managed Services is just that: managing your technology services and related infrastructure. But the bigger question is: What are the real benefits? How does it really make your life better? I’ve been doing traditional small business IT for around a decade and I always try to put myself in the position of whatever small business owner I happen to be servicing and think, “Would I appreciate taking this off my bottom line?” If the answer is no and there are no necessity-base circumstances that say that business must use something, there’s no way I’d recommend something, even if it means taking a hit in my own business. For that reason, I’ve never been able to justify becoming a Managed Service Provider. Until now. Pricing and technology have both brought this into the realm of acceptability, efficiency and benefit.
Carrying on that line, I know a lot of my clients appreciate seeing my smiling face when something goes sideways and I pride myself in setting up either the most maintenance-free workplaces in the Four Corners or really close to it. So becoming an MSP has been about a 6 month long project, pissing off an awful lot of software vendors and burning quite a few gallons of the proverbial midnight oil doing research. And it was a step I wasn’t sure I needed to take. Not for your benefit, surely?
If you take the traditional model, as most do, the cost/benefit equation doesn’t generally favor the small business owner for this type of service. It’s always been best left to the enterprise level. If your IT guy is selling you managed services, there are a variety of additional services they need to be providing you under that banner that most don’t. You know they’re capable of remotely accessing any computer on your network and provide you with anti-virus and your Windows Updates (patching). Is that it? Hope not.
In this upcoming series we’ll look at the full range of Managed Services, as they should be: remote monitoring and management, mobile device management, managed anti-virus, managed backup, managed anti-spam/email, managed compliance (HIPAA, SOX, PCI, etc.) and the fully managed SaaS infrastructure (or managed cloud systems).
The next post will follow in a couple days! I’ll give you a teaser – it’s about being proactive…
If you need more information or for a free technology consultation, contact me!