What are managed services?

What are managed IT services?

‘Managed Services’ has crept into computing lingo in recent years, but if you had to explain managed services to someone who had never heard of it, could you?

The definition would probably vary from person to person, because managed services is a blanket term that covers a range of IT functions. Companies use managed services for different IT services, too.

In 2017, the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA) conducted a study which found that around 69% of SMEs outsourced at least one aspect of their IT to a managed service provider (MSP). This number will probably rise over the next few years, as businesses look to improve efficiency, cut costs and access the latest technologies.

So, what exactly are managed IT services?

Managed services is the name for a range of IT services which are provided to a business by a third party. The third party are specialists in IT and are called Managed Service Providers (or MSPs for short).

MSPs offer a range of IT services to their customers, which are paid for on a monthly, subscription-style basis. Often, the cost is calculated as per user per month, which is great for giving companies a predictable monthly IT spend. It also means there’s no overspend, as you only pay for the services you use.

The IT functions that the MSP provides varies from customer to customer, depending on what they want. Some organisations choose to outsource only one or two aspects of their IT; security, for example. Others hand over lots of their IT to an MSP, leaving their in-house team to concentrate on high-impact projects that aren’t just troubleshooting or IT support.

Examples of managed services

Managed services incorporate lots of IT functions, including:

  • IT support
  • Security
  • Desktops
  • Managed networks
  • Identity and access management
  • Managed hosting
  • Backup and recovery solutions
  • Cloud services

Why do companies use managed services?

Most businesses choose to use an MSP for their IT because it’s cost-effective and it improves business efficiency. With managed services, you only pay for what you use, so there is no over-spend or wasted resource. You also benefit from having a predictable monthly IT, without unforeseen costs occurring.

From a resource perspective, using an MSP for functions like security and support also means your IT team can focus on projects that add value to the business. This maximises your in-house resource and the work they can do. The MSP team is working on your behalf, so this also mitigates the risks of a key member of your IT team leaving or being off sick.

From a security perspective, MSPs provide round-the-clock monitoring of your systems to detect malicious threats to your network, immediately. This can be very reassuring for businesses wanting to avoid down time (which is a priority for almost everyone).

Another great benefit of using an MSP, is that they offer round-the-clock technical support. This means you can report problems as soon as they arise, and also relieves your in-house IT team of troubleshooting problems. As part of your Service Level Agreement (SLA) you will have a guaranteed level of uptime and incident response times that the MSP has to stick to.

Finally, managed services are a very flexible way to manage your IT. Most providers will let you add or remove users as and when you need, and by paying per head you always have the right size IT infrastructure for your organisation.

If you’re looking for a managed services provider and want to know how to spot a good one, here are some questions you can ask.

For more details on Core’s managed service, contact us.

Lucy Wright
Lucy Wright

Lucy is Core's Senior Copywriter and is responsible for creating content within the Marketing team. She began her copywriting career in B2C ecommerce before moving to the IT sector. A journalism graduate, Lucy has written for publications in Spain, China and the UK.

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