Technology continues to grow more complex, yet more compact, organisations integrate various communications devices, while downsizing their IT departments. A few years ago companies needed large computer rooms and in-house IT support staff. Nowadays most communication happens via mobile devices, and data is stored on cloud servers. And for this reason, outsourced managed IT support services have gradually been used to enhance or replace portions of an IT department.
The 3 types of IT services
While there are various types of managed IT service providers we can generally break down these into three categories of manage IT support services.
#1 Entry-level IT support services
At the most basic, IT service providers will offer IT support for your organisation’s computer system and network, including tasks like software installation and integration into pre-existing infrastructures. Other responsibilities include system monitoring, which keeps track of software programs for functionality and safety purposes. If problems arise, the IT company will notify you of any possible danger signs. It will then be up to you to take precautionary steps and counter-measures to combat the threat. IT companies will generally take no responsibility for your business concerns or IT planning of a client company.
#2 Mid-level managed IT services
The next level of managed IT service providers is also known as value-added MSPs. The task of a mid-level provider is to offer all the necessary support in addition to a more complex range of technological services. Therefore, once the IT service provider has a software system up and running, their IT support technicians will then monitor the software for performance issues and warning signs and take immediate action when threats do appear.
The IT service provider will also provide software maintenance and keep programs updated across a client’s network each time a new version or security patch gets released to users. Mid-level managed IT service providers even offer scalability planning, allowing you to expand or contract the service according to the needs of your company.
#3 Advanced-level IT service providers
Advanced-level IT service providers offer outsourced IT services to client businesses. At this level, you would get all the support and protection of the mid-level managed IT services, in addition to a range of support for your wireless network, communications services, data analytics and a whole lot more. Your company could even have access to a high-tech computer networking system authorized personnel would be able to access from any location.
Advanced-level IT technicians will also examine analytics to keep you informed of developments that could influence the course of your business operations. Some MSPs at this level also offer software-as-a-service (SaaS) programs you can lease for your company on a subscription basis.
Depending on the current needs of your company, you may need a managed IT support services provider to help your business with hands-on involvement. If you have expanded to the point where system maintenance is too convoluted and costly to handle in-house, the time could indeed be now to hire the services of an advanced-level IT service provider.
Managed IT services offered by IT companies in South Africa
A managed IT services company will generally offer a range of outsourced IT services. Depending on the level of service you subscribe to from a manage IT support service provider, you could have wireless networking and cloud backup support, as well as help with troubleshooting and data analytics. Today’s MSPs commonly provide the following services at varying levels.
A managed IT provider can make your company’s computer system safer with a range of cyber security management and risk prevention services, including the following.
- Anti-malware software: Installing software programs onto your company’s computer system to keep your network protected from viruses
- Patching and maintenance: Keeping up with the latest software updates to ensure no hackers or viruses ever bypass your company’s security protocols and infect your system
- Application compatibility: Making sure all the hardware components and software programs that comprise your company’s network are fully integrated and compatible with one another
With a managed service provider, your network security layers will immediately get updated with each new patch and software version.
#2 Communications Services
A managed IT support company will offer support in the following categories as part of an IT communications package.
- Data: Allowing staff to send and share information on computers, laptops and mobile devices from any location, local or afar. It also allows your web design team to access and update your organisation’s website.
- Voice: Letting colleagues speak to one another, both one-on-one and in multi-party conversations, from various locations on PCs and smartphones
- Video: Making it possible for your company to hold conferences where staff members can attend from literally anywhere with an Internet or Wi-Fi connection
With IT communication services, your company could be in collective sync like never before. Services in this category could even encompass a remotely managed call center.
#3 Networking and Infrastructure
IT companies offer a range of support options that can help your company handle WANs, LANs and other aspects of a computing system. Depending on the level of managed IT support you select from a provider, the package may include one or more of the following services.
- Onsite infrastructure setup: Setting up software and hardware at your company’s headquarters, instead of an in-house IT staff
- Mobile networking: Allowing your team to connect via wireless devices from any location
- Managed cloud infrastructure: Making it possible for colleagues to attend meetings and collaborate on projects on cloud-based company software portals
- Remotely managed print services: Allowing authorized personnel to print out documents on the company network from any location
- Managed storage backup: Making it possible for staff to upload information and update assignments from anywhere with the protection of remote backup
With various levels of networking and infrastructure from a managed IT service, your company can place the technical aspects of cloud and wireless management in skilled hands, allowing your staff to focus on business.
#4 Software Management
A managed services provider may offer software programs your company can subscribe to for unlimited access on a per-month or per-year basis. The SaaS could either be a program the IT provider develops and maintains, or one the provider makes available from a third-party developer. All updates and security patches get remotely installed the moment they become available, allowing your staff to focus on business.
With SaaS, your team can take comfort in knowing the latest state-of-the-art software programs will be fully functional and completely safe on any device. SaaS takes the headaches out of system updates and in-house software installations.
#5 Support Services
During business operations, members of your staff may encounter issues regarding a particular system program, prompt or protocol. With managed IT support services, each staffer can contact the remote support center for help on any given issue.
Support services come in various levels, from help with computer desktop programs to assist with hardware and software issues. A managed service provider’s goal is to remotely implement and manage programs a client company can use with no compatibility problems and little or no learning curves. In the rare event issues do arise, MSPs generally make it their goal to solve each matter and ensure that each client employee has a full understanding and grasp of the technology at hand.
#6 Data Analytics
Computer information can be confusing to navigate for companies that are not directly involved in the IT sector. As networking technology becomes increasingly convoluted, a managed service provider can take the burden of analysis off the shoulders of your company. This effort could involve multiple layers of examination, from observations of data to investigations of patterns. The IT services specialists will harness and translate the key aspects of this information to make it accessible to the members of your team. That way, your company can more effectively plan for upcoming trends and take proactive steps to implement your business goals.