If you are a small or medium sized business finding the best deal and the best price is always important. This is particularly true when you are looking for a company to help you with your business IT services. There are lots of different IT companies out there offering different things, some with contracts and some without. It is vitally important that you understand the different types of IT support being offered so that you can choose the right one for your needs. One of the most popular ways of providing support for businesses is through ‘Managed IT Services’.
What are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT Services are specific IT services and functions which are outsourced to another company, sometimes called a service provider. They allow you to completely hand over the running of certain IT tasks to experts in that area, giving you the time and freedom to concentrate fully on your core business. A service provider assumes responsibility for monitoring, managing and fixing any problems with these services. Managed IT Services usually involve paying a set price every month, which allows you to set an annual budget for your IT expenditure. The price will usually depend on the number and type of devices to be supported i.e. the number of
- PCs, laptops and workstations
- Tablets and mobile devices
This type of support usually requires a contract and agreed Service Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs are the contract between you and the IT support company. They identify what services will be provided and the level of response expected of these services. SLAs will differ depending on the contract you sign up to. They can make a huge difference to response times and support that you receive so it is crucial that they are checked carefully before signing up. If there is anything you don’t fully understand, don’t be shy about asking for it to be explained further.
Services covered by SLAs typically include such things as:
- Data backup, recovery and storage
- Network monitoring, security and management
- Anti-virus management
- Software installation and management
- Server availability and monitoring
Always remember that with this type of support it is important that you fully understand the process and time frames you are agreeing to e.g. if a problem is reported via a helpdesk or phone call and can’t be fixed remotely, how long will it take an engineer to visit your premises to fix it. You should also tie down exactly what constitutes a ‘priority’, what the resolution times are for different issues (how long will it take to fix the problem – not just respond to it) and are all types of IT issues included e.g. if you have problems with 3rd party applications will these be covered?
Which businesses benefit most from Managed IT Services?
Although this type of support reacts well to resolving unexpected IT issues its big selling point is that it can also provide PROACTIVE monitoring of your systems. This means that it can find and fix potential issues before they become a problem to your business. This type of support is therefore perfect for businesses which:
- Rely heavily on their IT systems
- Prefer budgeted IT costs
- Need cost effective unlimited support (telephone, remote or on-site)
- Need rapid response and resolution times
So if your business is a start-up, small or doesn’t rely heavily on IT, adhoc support from a good IT company as and when you need it, may be perfectly adequate. However, as your business grows, the number of times you will need help is likely to grow too. This is when adhoc support may not be as cost effective or able to provide the level of support you require. At this stage we would advise moving to Managed IT Services with a good service provider.
DATA Computer Services is an experienced and trusted IT support company in Edinburgh. We provide different types of support for a wide range of businesses throughout Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife. Get in touch or call 0131 657 1666 to find out more.