IT support is critical for businesses today. However, most small and medium-sized businesses lack the resources to staff their own IT departments. Additionally, they don’t know the cost of managed IT services and think this is not an option for them.
As a result, some organizations have no IT support whatsoever, while others have one individual in charge of their IT, an “IT guy or gal”. Yes, having an IT resource is better than having none. However, putting your entire business environment in the hands of a single employee with limited skills and extensive legacy knowledge also presents a risky situation.
These situations are perfect examples of when a managed IT services plan is highly beneficial. Let
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services are essentially an outsourced IT department. A managed service provider takes responsibility for your IT infrastructure, laptops, desktops, printers, etc. When you have a managed IT services plan, your service provider monitors your systems comprehensively and deals with problems proactively, rather than, paying out-of-pocket for break/fix service every time something goes wrong.
Different tiers of services, support, and software are supplied for a monthly fee, maximizing uptime, and productivity while allowing you to focus on your core business goals. Not only does a managed IT services plan provide a comprehensive IT solution that mitigates risks of internal and external threats, but the flat monthly fees also make it easier to budget for IT-related costs.
Selecting a Plan
When it comes to managed IT support, one size does not fit all. Your goal should be to find a managed services plan that makes the most sense for your business needs.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Here are some questions that every business should ask itself before signing up for a managed IT services plan:
- How many people do you employ?
- Do you have dedicated IT personnel on staff?
- Does the business have an on-premise server and how much data is in use?
- Do you handle sensitive data or need to meet any regulatory compliance requirements?
- Would you prefer to pay a flat monthly amount for an “all-you-can-eat” plan, or would you prefer a lower monthly fee with unpredictable charges?
The answers to these questions will help determine which type of managed IT subscription plans, if any, suit your business.
Questions to Ask Potential Managed Service Providers
In addition to the questions you ask yourself, you should insist on transparency from any managed service provider that you consider. For example, here are some questions you should ask your potential managed service provider:
- Do they have a local office?
- Will they provide onsite and offsite support?
- Do they offer multiple types of plans with customization options, or is it one-size-fits-all?
- Did they outline your prices and services in full in a service level agreement?
- Do they provide 24/7 help desk support?
- What managed IT plan works best for your business?
Which type of Managed IT Services plan is right for you?
Most managed IT services plans fall into one of two buckets: partially managed or fully managed.
Partially Managed IT Services
- Generally intended for medium-sized to large businesses with some dedicated IT personnel on staff
- Price is usually determined by the number of devices
- Lower monthly minimum charge, however, you pay an additional hourly rate for help desk and onsite support
Because support is a billable charge, help desk calls usually need to be approved by an authorized gatekeeper. Every call to the help desk becomes a mini “business decision”. This prevents problems from getting fixed and elongates downtime.
Fully Managed IT Services
- Generally intended for small to medium-sized businesses with no dedicated IT personnel on staff
- Price is usually determined by the number of end-users
- Higher monthly minimum charge, however, you get unlimited 24×7 help desk and onsite support for a flat rate.
Because support is included in your cost, any of your employees can call the help desk at any time to have their issue resolved, which severely minimizes downtime.
Cost of Outsourcing IT Services vs Hiring an In-House IT Person
Most small and medium-sized businesses cannot justify the cost of hiring an IT professional to maintain their network security and provide help desk support. Full-time IT professionals usually make $40,000 to $60,000 per year, with an additional amount going toward payroll taxes and benefits.
In contrast, the average cost of a managed IT services plan is less than $30,000 a year. The price can be higher or lower depending on your needs.
Keep in mind, for that price you get a fully staffed and trained IT department, compared to just one IT staff member. Additionally, a managed IT services plan prevents your organization from incurring additional costs when your business goes through a significant upgrade or inevitably stumbles upon a problem your “IT guy or gal” cannot solve.
Subscribing to a managed IT services plan ultimately reduces out-of-pocket expenses, expands security and support, and cuts out the need for hiring an internal IT resource.