How to Manage A Fluctuating IT Department | 5 Suggestions for Supplemental IT Services
What is Managed IT Services (MITS)?
Imagine you own a thriving business and, up until now, you have had all your IT handled by someone in your company, whose primary job is not IT. He/she has a propensity for technology and has been working on IT-related issues as they come up among your staff. However, you now find your company is growing exponentially and the employee you counted on to remediate the occasional IT issues is now becoming more and more occupied with performing the work they were hired to do – or worse, they are leaving the company.
The Downside of “Also Doing the Company’s IT”
Users are getting frustrated with the ongoing lack of computer support… Worst of all, productivity is beginning to be affected because users are not getting the support they need and in a timely manner.
One solution is to hire one or more IT employees and place them in a new department called “IT Support Services”. While hiring talented IT support professionals is a great idea, there are also some obvious (and not so obvious) pitfalls to relying on a dedicated internal IT support work force:
The Pitfalls of Hiring More “IT Support Staff”
- Time: A tremendous amount of time is required to research talent, advertise for positions, and provide adequate training for your specific environment.
- Costs: Aside from the costs of placing an ad on the current and more reliable job sites or paying a commission to a recruiting service, there are significant costs associated with providing relevant training, procuring computer equipment, and, of course, employee wages, benefits, and bonuses.
- Risks: The obvious risks to hiring new IT personnel are turnover, reliability, and loyalty… However, there are other risks to consider as well:
- Security: When a regular user leaves an organization, there is usually just one user account and its permissions to deal with. However, when an IT user leaves the organization, depending on their role, there may be a need to re-do multiple credentials for multiple services and applications used for administration.
- Support Gaps: Depending on the amount of knowledge overlap between your IT professionals, scheduling PTO or experiencing unexpected time-off can cause a knowledge vacuum within your IT support team, leading to slower response times and frustrated employees. Most SMB (Small & Midsize Business) organizations may have just one person who knows everything… about that one application… so may never truly be able to disconnect during vacation or sick days.
MITS resolves many of the IT pitfalls and challenges that SMB organizations face daily:
Managed IT Services (MITS) provides SMB organizations with solutions to the above pitfalls and challenges. MITS providers typically have a large pool of professional resources and the ability to provide complete support coverage for an organization during business hours. In fact, there are even 24/7 support solutions available for those organizations who require constant IT support.
All technicians and help desk personnel have been fully trained and are immediately ready to begin supporting an organization’s IT. There is no need for creating job descriptions or placing want ads on job sites. MITS has already vetted qualified personnel.
The cost of using MITS technicians is all included in a monthly subscription cost. There are no “negotiation” of salary… no “benefits package” costs… no “bonus” costs to consider. All technical training and certifications are paid by and maintained by the MITS provider. In fact, a typical subscription includes tens, if not hundreds, of qualified professionals providing support for all levels of technology… for a fraction of the cost of maintaining and internal IT department.
With Managed IT Services, there are no support gaps. With a large pool of resources to draw upon, clients are usually able to find support for most of their IT issues. Security is typically facilitated via proxy and, as such, will provide an effective and secure “wall” against those technicians who leave the MITS employ.
Levels of Managed IT Services (MITS)
There are many MITS vendors in today’s market and their services span a large spectrum of offerings from simple monitoring and alerting to much more complex network support and technical consulting. Many of Colorado’s SMBs only focus on help desk support only… It is not until they look deeper into what their organization utilizes and depends upon, regarding IT, that most SMBs realize there are actually many tiers or levels of IT that is required to keep an organization running smoothly and effectively.
- Help Desk Support Level:
- One of the most common options requested and offered by an MITS. This level of support spans from simple monitoring and alerting of a desktop and/or server... to actually providing pro-active support and maintenance of all devices attached to an SMBs network (both local and remote). Help desk support typically includes a large certified and wide-ranging pool of technical resources, waiting and ready to provide quick and experienced remediation to user IT issues. The customer expectation is that there should be a qualified and dedicated technician to help them with their IT problems at a moment’s notice. Unlike the uncertainty of availability of internal IT technicians, MITS technicians have enough resources and personnel to be able guarantee a high-availability service level agreement (SLA) for their clients.
- Cybersecurity and Breach Monitoring:
- This level of MITS is both reactive and proactive within a client’s network and/or computer. The typical “customer” anti-virus and malware protection on the market typically only provides re-active protection and utilizes predetermined, formulaic remediation based on simulated artificial intelligence (AI)… MITS vendors start protecting their clients at a level of security that not only includes these “AI” level of protection, but also provides 24/7 monitoring and remediation that INCLUDE a security operating center (SOC), made up of hundreds of cybersecurity certified professionals, who are constantly observing current threats and finding ways to prevent breaches and infections within a user’s computer and network environment.
- Backup and Disaster Recovery(BDR):
- BDR solutions have been around for as long as data storage and server applications have been in IT. BDR has evolved and matured over the decades. However, maintaining viable backups of user and server data has gotten more and more complicated, as well as more daunting due to the increased amounts of data storage required. MITS provides more than just the “backup” features that an SMB may get from shelf software… MITS provides testing of the backed up data, integrity checking, and even will scan the backed up data for potential viral and/or malicious infections within the stored data. MITS BDR solutions can also provide a means of bringing up an SMB’s servers and/or desktops quickly and reliably when disaster strikes the primary data locations – allowing the SMB to back online and operational within minutes.
- VCIO Services and Management:
- By using MITS as a “Virtual” Chief Information Officer (vCIO), an SMB can be sure that their IT roadmap is both designed and managed by qualified IT professionals. Many SMBs understand the need for maintaining IT strategy, but often lack the expertise to effectively merge their services and/or business model with current technology. MITS vCIO services provides this valuable bridge for the SMB with clear and understandable consultation on how current (and even future) IT technologies affect and help business.