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What Exactly Do We Mean by “Managed” Services?

What Exactly Do We Mean by “Managed” Services?

Managed services - what are they? The short answer, other people managing the IT systems that you rely on every day to be productive and accomplish your tasks. In essence, they are a freedom from dealing with the troublesome and time-consuming parts of leveraging technology. You may have heard this much about managed services before, but have never been given a deeper understanding of what they entail. That is precisely what we aim to accomplish below.

Giving Managed Services a Better Definition
Managed services can be generally defined as any service that you leverage to the benefit of your organization, that another party monitors and maintains on your behalf. Take email, for example, when utilized by a private user. How many private users can you name who run their own email servers? Not many, which would make just about anyone who uses email on a personal level a subscriber to their email provider’s managed services. Any service that you leverage that you don’t need to maintain for yourself is effectively a managed service.

When the term is applied to your IT, “managed” refers to anything information system that you your company may have in-house including servers, end-points, and peripherals. From cloud-based storage and virtualized applications to hardware and software that is maintained and monitored for issues remotely, managed services can effectively allow you to leverage solutions that you may not have been able to otherwise, without the stresses and hassles that supporting the technology may have brought you.

Where Managed Services Came From
As you might imagine, managed services has its roots in the same place that many other technologies and approaches do: a need for improvement over the status quo. Before managed services, the best option for businesses was an approach that we now refer to as break/fix - a piece of technology would start to experience issues (if not a complete failure) and, in reaction to these issues, the business would call in a computer technician to identify and hopefully solve the problem. Whether the technician came onsite or they brought the technology to them, this approach was effective enough for its time, but also presented a lot of practical issues that managed services have since eliminated.

For example, managed services now are focused on providing a quality, proactive service, seeking to eliminate the source of any downtime before it can manifest. The break-fix approach was entirely reactive, which meant that any downtime incurred by the equipment failure was only exacerbated by the time it would take for the break/fix resource to get to the component, identify the issue, and attempt to resolve it. What made it even worse was that the break/fix industry is supported by a lot of return business - which means that, while they’re happy to come in and fix an IT issue again and again, there’s really no motivation to implement a fix that will last. After all, that would mean that they get that much less business.

As a result, businesses that still subscribe to the “fix it when it breaks” mentality often experience repeating issues with their IT, as the break/fix technician has metaphorically used a bandage when the wound called for stitches. Ultimately, this approach leads to wasted money and wasted time… and since time is money, that just becomes all the worse for a business.

Fortunately, managed services have given businesses a much better option.

The Benefits of IT Management
The key to the efficacy of managed IT lies in its proactive stance, and the freedom it provides the business utilizing it. With a managed service provider (also known as an MSP) in the wings, a business can revolve around the opportunities it has, instead of concerns over whether or not its IT is able to support it. The MSP is able to leverage the extensive knowledge of its team to care for a business’ technology solutions and resources, finding resolutions to problems that will last instead of wasting another business’ time and keeping them from improving their business in other ways. What’s more, this all comes at a predictable monthly rate, so you can prepare a budget with far more confidence than otherwise.

Just think of all you could accomplish if you didn’t feel the need to helicopter manage your business’ IT, improving client and customer relations, and your business’ resources were more effectively utilized. Managed services suddenly seem like the only good option, don’t they?

As a trusted MSP to many, Washington Works provides each of our clients with the resources that a large business is able to access, at a price point that a small business can easily handle.

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