It’s 2016, and it’s no surprise if you’ve heard CEO’s, CTO’s, IT managers, office managers and other key decision makers talking about outsourcing their IT departments to help cut expenses. This practice has become more and more prevalent for small to medium sized businesses looking to not only save money, but to improve operations as well. But do you know what these IT outsourcing plans entail or how they can benefit your organization? The concept behind flat-rate, managed IT services is simple: by proactively monitoring your IT systems, MSP’s (Managed Service Providers, the term for the IT companies that offer this outsourcing model) can mitigate risk which could impede your company’s performance by addressing potential problems before they happen. If and when issues do arise, you have an experienced team of experts to identify the cause, and implement a resolution in a timely manner to minimize impact. With a flat-rate monthly fee model, it’s in the best interest of the provider to keep all systems running efficiently and to build confidence in knowing your company’s technology is in good hands.
This all sounds great. But what exactly does the flat-rate cover, and how is the price determined? The answer to this really depends on the provider, and ultimately the level of service you require.
Basic Managed IT Service Plans
User Management, Email, Antivirus Protection, Data Backups, File Share Management, Proactive Monitoring, Server and Desktop Support (both onsite and remote) are typically the foundation for all MSP agreements, and these services cover most of the bases for a standard, small office setup. In addition, most MSP’s will provide a comprehensive report every month, detailing the health of your systems, as well as outlining the work performed. These services, at a minimum, can keep your network health “in the green”, while maintaining a quality work environment for your employees with regards to technologies in use. At its simplest form, these are basic Managed IT Services.
Extended Managed IT Service Plans
Beyond the basics, some companies provide more extended services, which can include Business Continuity Planning and Implementation (minimize downtime in critical instances such as hardware failure), VPN / Remote Connectivity & User Support, VoIP Systems, Virtualization, and perhaps most valuable – act as your Virtual CIO for making strategic IT decisions to align with your business goals, just to name a few. These plans typically cost a bit more than the basic plans, however the services included can go well beyond covering basic network health and management operations.
Hybrid Physical/Cloud Managed IT Service Plans
In addition to local infrastructure, networking and desktop support, leveraging the Cloud for services like Email, File Sharing, VoIP, CRM, and Scheduling has become more and more commonplace. By doing so, businesses can immediately eliminate the need for additional hardware and infrastructure costs, which means no more spending for hardware upgrades as your business grows, or when the server life-cycle is complete – scaling up becomes breeze. In addition, Cloud services typically are readily available via mobile device, so your team can easily access your information on the go, as well as in the office or at home. As for costs, Cloud service pricing is usually pass-through, meaning the MSP will typically charge the same rate as if you purchased it directly from the vendor, and manage the service as if it was local.
At our company, ManhattanTechSupport.com, we’ve found that the hybrid model – incorporating Cloud solutions in addition to local infrastructure management and support – has been very effective for our clients. Providing staff with real-time access to information from anywhere – whether out in the field, working from home, during their exhaustive Long Island Railroad commutes, or obligatory check-in from the beach while on vacation – has been a giant contributor to the growth and efficiency of operations of many of our clients.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, the main benefit of an outsourced, flat-rate IT department is fundamentally your bottom line. With a great provider, you’ll no longer have to worry about IT bills piling up, you’ll have confidence in knowing that your systems are maintained by a team of expert techs, and you’ll have a new, strategic partner to share thoughts, gain insight, and discuss how technology can use used to grow your business instead of impeding it.
Be sure to check in next week when we provide some tips on how to select an outsourced, flat-rate IT department for your company. Or, if you’re looking to start today, give us a call at 212-710-2338 to learn how our company, ManhattanTechSupport.com, can help you leverage technology to grow your business.
Contact ManhattanTechSupport.com today to discuss how our Outsourced, Flat-Rate IT model can keep your systems running and save you money.