What are Managed IT Services, and Why Should I Care?

The Managed Services Concept

ms3Perhaps the hottest topic in IT support for small business in the past five years or so has been what is known as “Managed Services,” the concept of outsourcing the responsibility for a company’s IT processes and network to a reliable IT support firm, known as a Managed Services Provider. The MSP becomes responsible for monitoring, managing, and resolving problems with the IT system on an ongoing basis.

Well, isn’t that as clear as mud?

A quick history of the development of managed services might help to illustrate the concept a bit more clearly since, as with so many things that human beings do, the idea developed out of a specific, specialized need for support of advancing technologies.

The Reactive Mode

As they say, “Back in the day,” IT support developed in response to problems with developing information handling technologies and computer networking. Like children, the machines we ran did not always play nicely together or share freely, and scolding simply did not work. A new type of expertise was needed to ensure the stability of developing information technology, and IT support services were born.

The problem of course, was that this new service was completely reactive; the same type of “break/fix” service we associate with car repair, for example. When something broke, a service person was called for a repair, in the hope that the resulting downtime of the system would not have too much negative impact on the business.

Soon though, enterprising IT support companies began to offer pre-emptive services, offering to make regular visits to check the system in the hope of averting future problems. Unfortunately, the ability to successfully predict future system trouble, while helpful, was almost as reliable as palm reading. System failures and back-up problems persisted, despite the best efforts of the IT fortune tellers – er, IT Technicians.

Beyond this, with every visit, the tech who’d been called in to work on system issues would be asked to help various users solve “critical” problems that made it impossible to be productive: they were having trouble loading their Facebook page, or found it impossible to view their recently uploaded cat videos on YouTube, for example.

Clearly, a better system was needed, a technology-based solution to a technological – and human – problem.

The Proactive Mode

Not surprisingly, Big Business were not happy with this state of affairs. The idea that their information system and network, in which they had invested huge resources – meaning cash – might be vulnerable to poorly functioning technology or deliberate attack, as well as simple stupidity, made them exceedingly unhappy. This was simply unacceptable.

Enter the software and hardware developers who, seeing a need – and a new market – began to develop applications that would alert users to system problems as they developed, rather than after the fact. Something called SNMP, or Simple Network Management Protocol became the norm, a complex information monitoring system that was prohibitively expensive for small businesses, and was developed only for large networks, in any case.

While SNMP had no value to small businesses at the time, it did lay the groundwork for the innovation that eventually lead to cost-effective, proactive managed services for smaller companies; providing mid-sized and small business networks the same features and benefits that the Big Boys receive.

Managed Services for Small Businesses

The real beauty of the managed services marketplace today is that any business of any size may purchase this type of protection for their information system and network; piece-by-piece or all at once, as budgets allow.

No longer exclusive to large companies and corporations, software now exists which ensures that proactive managed services have become an extremely efficient means of protecting the information system of even the smallest companies, saving them money while ensuring the effectiveness of their networks.

Here are just a few of the types of services available with our Proactive Advantage Program:

  • Automated system back-up
  • Automated data back-up
  • Server health and efficiency
  • Desktop machine monitoring
  • Remote machine monitoring
  • Anti-virus protection
  • Automated patch management
  • Automated security updates
  • Advance notification of developing system problems

In today’s highly competitive, high tech marketplace, no business – and especially small business – can afford to absorb system downtime or other network problems. Now, with the availability of highly specialized, cost-effective managed services for small business, you can ensure the same type of stability and reliability of your IT system that the Big Companies enjoy.

If this information has been helpful, and you would like to know more about how Managed Services from North Star could benefit you and your business, the IT experts at North Star are here to help you with all of your Denver IT support needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your IT service request for help with your operating system, apps, servers, VoIP system or any other IT issues you may have.


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