Managed Services is a type of contract which describes your relationship with your I.T. company. Typical inclusions into a managed service contract are items such as ongoing maintenance, hardware and software monitoring, data security and backup, preventative maintenance, off-hours maintenance, and encrypted remote support portals.
Do I need Managed Services?
Whether or not you need a Managed Service contract depends greatly on your tech knowledge, your current software implementation, and how you wish to manage your employee’s data security levels and enforce your password policy. It is necessary to have a solution for full monitoring and reporting in order to comply with regulatory requirements such as those required by HIPAA. However, the benefits of Managed Services can also be leveraged by any company wishing to enforce strict security protocols on company data or employee activity.
What do I get out of a Managed Service contract?
A contract in Managed Services can be all-inclusive, or pieced together to form a customized plan for maintenance, support, and management of your server and workstations. One of the most important goals for clients is data security and prospective monitoring and reporting. A simple Server Monitoring & Maintenance contract can cover a server and its protocols, and can include full hardware and Windows event log monitoring, antivirus, encrypted & reportable remote-support portals, data backup, off-hours security patching for Windows, Java, Flash, and other third party software, as well as regular maintenance and management activities desired by the client. This type of service can extend to your networking equipment and workstations as well, which can be useful where broad-based reporting is required or desired.
Any Managed Service contract, whether it covers just the server, networking equipment, workstations or everything, is a transparent set of services. Since the design of supporting software must exceed standards set by regulatory agencies, every piece of activity is monitored and reported. A good Managed Service Provider will provide reporting to the clients and end-users so that they can rest easy that their hardware is optimized and protected; the value in their contract can then be assessed. Finally, in the case of an audit by HIPAA or any other regulatory agency, a fully managed network has all necessary report capabilities for user activity, network usage, data versioning, etc., as required by law.
What happened to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?”
When your technology is the Achilles Heel in your organization, taking measures to protect your systems and your data should take center stage. The old “break/fix” model of I.T. support is a dying breed. Restoring a server or a database from an unmanaged system can create hours or ever days of downtime, which affects a company’s bottom line significantly. A Managed Service plan helps in this regard. With 24×7 reporting and monitoring, technicians have a log of process activity and hardware health at the tip of their fingers – diagnosing the issue causing downtime becomes more trivial than going through the routines of troubleshooting. Additionally, a managed office also has daily backups with monitoring in place. A good Managed Service Provider will call their client when there is a problem with a backup, an AV threat, or a disruption or warning within any covered service. Having all this in place reduces downtime significantly, or in many cases, completely avoids downtime altogether.
Most tech companies offering Managed Services also write remote support into the contract – allowing for an outsourced I.T. company for a very small fraction of the price of a part-time computer wiz. Since most issues can be solved remotely, having your business machines on a managed and maintained service contract streamlines tech support. A Managed Service contract can be of great value to any company which relies heavily on their office computer network.
To learn more about Managed Services, take a look at our IT services.