More and more companies now turn to managed service providers (MSPs) to handle their technology needs. The worldwide market for managed IT services sits at $257 billion currently. With the wide range of offerings available, it helps to understand the primary types of managed services.
This article provides an overview of 6 key categories of managed IT services that businesses often use to improve operations, lower costs, and enable growth.
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What Are Managed IT Services?
Managed IT services involve outsourcing the maintenance, support, and optimization of your technology systems to an expert provider based on a service-level agreement (SLA). Popular offerings include network monitoring, security services, help desk support, and more.
Benefits of managed services include:
- Access to enterprise-grade IT expertise at an affordable price point
- Ability to focus more internal staff on core business initiatives rather than maintenance
- Proactive maintenance to improve uptime and security
- A strategic partner to provide guidance on using technology to drive business growth
Knowing the main types of managed services allows matching options to your specific needs and gaps.
So Here are 6 Key Categories of Managed IT Services that Businesses Should Know:
1. Managed Network Services
Managed network services provide 24/7 monitoring, management, optimization and support for a company’s network infrastructure. This includes:
- Router and switch configuration, traffic analysis, capacity planning and uptime monitoring
- Network security like firewall management, intrusion detection, malicious content filtering
- WAN acceleration and optimization
- Wireless network support and control
- LAN/WLAN administration and troubleshooting
Proactive network management ensures critical communication systems achieve maximum performance and reliability.
2. Managed Endpoint Services
Endpoint services focus on the full lifecycle management of servers, desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and IoT devices across a company. Typical services include:
- Planning, procurement, imaging, deployment of new devices
- Installation and updates for endpoint security controls like antivirus
- Software distribution, backup for data protection and disaster recovery
- Remote 24/7 monitoring, troubleshooting and maintenance
- Automated support dispatch when abnormalities are detected
- Detailed reporting on asset inventory, compliance and system health
Managed endpoint services aim to optimize computing power while minimizing downtime.
3. Managed Security Services
Managed security services provide constant protection against cyberthreats and help demonstrate compliance:
- Firewall, UTM device management, intrusion prevention
- Securing end user access points and company-wide endpoints
- Email gateway security, spam filtering, encryption
- Security operations center augmentation with expertise
- Vulnerability scanning/assessment, penetration testing
- Log analysis to identify risks and threat intelligence
- Assisting with regulatory compliance audits and reporting
Layered managed security services safeguard the digital assets that power an organization.
4. Managed Infrastructure Services
Infrastructure services take an integrated approach to managing entire technology environments rather than standalone systems. This can include:
- Data center hosting, private/hybrid cloud services
- Server, storage and information management
- Backup, disaster recovery and business continuity
- Virtualization optimization and administration
- IT asset tracking and management
Ensuring infrastructure foundations operate optimally allows growth unrestricted by outdated systems.
5. Managed Communications Services
Communications services manage the tools that connect employees and link a company to customers:
- Unified communications platforms, VoIP solutions
- Call routing configuration, auto attendants, voice mail
- Audio, video and web conferencing solutions
- Call recording, quality monitoring and analytics
- Cloud communication platform integration
Reliable communications systems and connectivity enable responsive collaboration across distributed teams.
6. Managed Help Desk Services
Help desk services deliver 24/7 service desk support for end users:
- Live agents answering IT support calls at any hour
- Ticketing systems for request tracking and documentation
- Remote desktop control for fast diagnostics and troubleshooting
- Software installation and patching to fix issues
- Assistance with operating systems, applications, devices
- How-to support for common programs and technical questions
Robust help desk services prevent employee productivity drains from small technology issues.
Picking the Right Managed IT Services
With the range of managed services available, companies can align solutions to internal gaps and business priorities:
- Assess current pain points and areas needing specialized technical expertise.
- Determine must-have capabilities versus nice-to-have.
- Ask potential providers how they will define and meet your unique SLA criteria.
- Examine providers’ experience supporting organizations similar to yours.
- Clearly articulate current and future objectives for the partnership.
Choosing MSPs tailored to your sector and needs drives maximum value.
How do you choose the right managed IT services?
Conduct IT assessments defining gaps, goals and options. Create an RFP outlining your needs and compare provider proposals based on fit, expertise and SLAs.
Are managed services cheaper than staffing?
MSPs can provide significant cost savings over hiring experts by leveraging economies of scale. But weigh cost against the partnership level and services received.
What SLA terms should you look for?
Requirements like response times, resolution times, uptime guarantees, escalation procedures, after hours support, and performance reporting.