Managed IT services are among the more popular solutions for companies with computing needs. An IT managed service provider can lend you a hand with problems involving servers, mobile devices, desktops, and laptops. They handle work on both the software and hardware sides of the equation, and many deal with cloud computing needs too.
If you've never worked with a managed IT service provider, you might wonder what it's like. Let's look at five things you can expect when paying a third party for managed IT solutions.
Service Level Agreement
The service level agreement (SLA) is the standard arrangement that providers and clients enter into. Your SLA will outline which services you require, what times help will be available, how to report problems, and what the process is for calling a problem solved.
One normal arrangement is to provide these services for a flat fee. Some SLAs may allow the client to request additional services for a price. Unsurprisingly, the costs for these services tend to be significantly higher than you'd pay within the main agreement.
Speaking with someone who knows what they're doing is a big deal, and help desk services are a big part of most managed IT packages. Generally, the help desk side of managed IT services deals with software-related questions. For example, someone at a company using Adobe Photoshop might need assistance with expanding disk cache and enabling GPU acceleration. Using remote assistance software, many providers can even do all the work on such a problem without coming to your site.
It's also common for providers to set up systems that provide self-guided and automated help desk answers. These are frequently helpful for customers who can't afford 24/7 live service, and it also can get you through simple issues faster.
Infrastructure as a Service
A lot of managed IT is not physically offloaded thanks to cloud computing solutions. This means things like web servers, data backups, load balancers, DNS servers, and even raw computing power are now hosted remotely on highly scalable systems. Your managed IT service provider handles all of the basic needs, such as performing updates and patches.
Software as a Service
The same logic also applies to certain types of software. For example, Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud are now widely configured for use as remotely hosted services.
Many of the devices you do keep on-site or on your person can also be managed this way. After specialized software is installed, a technician can remotely deal with many device issues, including some hardware problems.