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December 2, 2014

The Small Business Guide to Managed Services


managed IT

As a small business, you might not necessarily have the means to have your own in-house IT team. As such, the decision whether or not to utilize a managed IT service as part your business strategy might be something that you’re facing right now. This is a positive step for SMBs, as it means that their IT is often looked after better than it is in house as service providers tend to offer a more rounded, complete, service.

 

So if you’re considered choosing managed services for the first time, or are thinking about swapping from your current break-fix model, then read on for our guide to managed services for small business.

 

What Are Managed Services?

 

Put simply, managed services are the practices of outsourcing everyday management responsibilities that would otherwise normally be managed in-house. Strategically, this is used as a method for cutting costs in a company and improving operations.

 

If we are to put this in the context of IT, then managed IT services is an arrangement where one company provides IT support and services for another. It’s favored by a lot of small businesses simply because they may not require the employment of a full-time IT person or team, but rather only need such services as and when there’s a problem, or when a specific service is required, and so a third-party provider is a much more cost-effective solution.

 

The Advantages of Managed Services

 

As mentioned above, one of the main reasons SMEs favor managed services is to save money, but there are further advantages to opting for managed services. Let’s take a look at some below.

 

Security

With managed services, your IT security operations are all dealt with for you. Security is of course paramount to any business, and with the rising threat of malware, it is imperative that it’s taken seriously and handled expertly. This indeed may well be something that you simply have to outsource in the absence of an in-house IT team.

 

Storage

Cloud storage and backup offers a lot of advantages and cost savings to SMBs. Without backup, all of your information is inevitably unprotected, and if you experience a security breach then you could potentially lose a lot of business and a lot of money. Cloud services invariably offer guarantees and security that you simply will not be able to match in-house.

 

Analytics

Having a managed services team that handles the analytics requirements of customer data can be of real benefit when it comes to getting the inside business intelligence required to make meaningful predictions about your market. Data science is a very particular skill, and one that is actually still quite hard to come by, so outsourcing here may well be your only option if you find that you’ve got a lot of data to analyze.

Environmental Reasons

Outsourcing IT models can actually offset a company’s carbon emissions, especially if utilizing cloud services. If you can offload your data center’s workload onto the cloud, then you can take advantage of reduced in-house energy requirements, something that you can then go on to advertise when scouting for new business.

 

The Services

The advantages outlined above come part and parcel with a lot of the managed services that you might be looking for. However, you of course will probably be looking for something very specific during your considerations for outsourcing IT services, so below we’ve put together a list of what’s available to you.

 

Email

It is still the case that the majority of most business communications are conducted via email. Your employees’ personal accounts simply won’t do for business purposes, however ­– it’s just not professional. What you need is a business-like, branded email infrastructure, and you may consider looking to cloud services to get what you want. Either way, finding a managed services partner to deal with your email requirements will help you find the best solution to your business’s needs.

 

Network Infrastructure

The setup of your network can make the differences in productivity and efficiency that can mean success or failure for a business. There will be all manner of machines, devices, storage systems and of course people on your business network, and they all need to be linked together efficiently and smoothly. IT services can implement, integrate and maintain all of your network requirements for you.

 

Server Infrastructure

The maintenance of an organization’s server, be it on site or off, is of utmost importance. IT services make sure that servers are backed-up on a regular basis and protected from unexpected power disruptions and redundancy. Outsourcing server infrastructure is something that a lot of SMEs are turning to.

Backup and Recovery

Iit goes without saying that you simply cannot take any risks when it comes to the personal files of clients and other essential business information. All of the data that you collect in a company – from emails to sales receipts – need to be filed and stored away for future analysis and reference. All of your digital assets therefore need to be backed up in the case of a disaster. Indeed, if such a thing does happen, then you need to have the means to get yourself back up and running once more as quickly as possible. IT services can offer you these solutions.

Here at V&C Solutions we offer all of the above IT services and more. We are here to provide SMEs with quality and affordable IT support and technology solutions from San Jose to Santa Rosa. Get in touch to find out more.