Recently there has been a lot of talk about using a managed IT service company to oversee your business’ technology. It is no longer seen as a service only provided for large businesses, as IT managed services (ITMS) are suitable for all Australian businesses, big or small.

Managed service providers are third-party companies that are responsible for managing either the entire or portions of a business’ IT environment. When we talk about ITMS, this covers a range of products and services. It could involve managing IT security, telephones and network support, or day-to-day IT helpdesk support.

A managed service provider takes an on-going role in the management of a businesses’ IT systems, often working in partnership with an internal IT department. The opposite model for ITMS is called  ‘break/fix’. In this situation, an IT support provider only interacts with your business when something goes wrong. There is no on-going financial contract and each job is scoped and charged separately.

With managed services every situation is unique. Some businesses may require a full suite of support while others simply need to know there is someone there who is familiar with the business infrastructure and can help if needed. Regardless of your needs, there are strong benefits to using IT Managed services.

1)      Free up resources – using an IT managed service provider means that your internal technology-focused employees can stop spending time dealing with small trivial issues such as resetting passwords and running software updates. This can all be managed by a remote helpdesk as part of an ITMS agreement. This frees up resources to allow the technical people in your business to focus on more important issues, such as innovation and keeping your customers happy.

2)      Predictable costs – ITMS agreements are customised depending on your needs. As an ongoing relationship, there will be a monthly subscription paid. This provides certainty around budget forecasting as you will always know how much you will pay each month on IT support. With the alternative break/fix model, future IT expenses are difficult to predict as they will differ depending on what issues arise. Maintenance is generally more cost effective and less disruptive than attempting to fix an issue after it has arisen.

3)      Talented team – When you engage an ITMS provider you also have access to a range of highly qualified specialists, without needing to add them to your payroll. You will have people in your external team who not only have experience working with many companies and across different industries, but they also know the latest risks and technology advances relevant to your business. This wide range of skills and years of experience is an included bonus of managed service providers.

4)      Reduce downtime – ITMS help provide peace of mind. Your provider will keep an eye on your IT environment to take a proactive approach to avoid any future issues. This may include running software updates and security patches to keep your business secure and operations optimised. They will also ensure you are running regular backups and have support to get back online in case of emergency.

5)      Up to date technology – When you use IT managed services you can be guaranteed that you will be using the latest technology. Running the newest software updates provides added security and increased efficiency. These IT system upgrades don’t cost any extra and are part of the service offering.

6)      Scalability –  an IT managed service agreement allows you to add more resources, or even reduce them, as needed with no downtime. You can increase your capacity seasonally and receive adequate support as your business grows, avoiding stress and growing-pains which can occur when an internal resource is suddenly stretched.

There are many benefits to outsourcing your IT management with a dedicated team. Managed service providers take a holistic approach to managing your IT services, going beyond simply solving issues. They’re able to proactively add value and support your business as it evolves. Managed service providers can work with your internal IT department, or can work in place of an internal team. With their scalability, reliability and cost predictability, it’s no wonder so many businesses around Australia use a managed service provider for their IT needs.