Managed Services FAQs: What You Need to Know

by | Feb 2, 2023 | Managed Services

Not sure where to start when learning about managed IT services for your business? We’ve got you covered with some of the most common questions we get. Have another one that we overlooked? Reach out to us and we will get you an answer.

What is a managed services provider?

A managed services provider (MSP) is a third-party partner that offers outsourced information technology (IT) services that offload general tasks to an external team.

What does managed IT services include?

An MSP delivers services, such as network, application, infrastructure, and security, via ongoing and regular support and active administration for a client. Managed IT services enable an organization to proactively monitor systems, resolve issues, and mitigate risk. Some MSPs also provide business process, data management, and application development services.

What are the benefits of managed IT services?

  • MSPs offer IT support that has a breadth of experience across a larger number of employees that might be hard to achieve in-house.
  • Engaging with an MSP allows an organization to forecast monthly, quarterly, and yearly expenditures on IT.
  • MSPs manage the day-to-day IT operations and allow internal IT leaders to focus on strategic initiatives aligned with their company’s objectives.
  • MSPs provide more cybersecurity expertise than typically available in-house and can help the organization implement best practices for cyber protection.
  • MSPs monitor emerging cybersecurity threats and recommendations to pass on to clients while keeping infrastructure working efficiently.

Who is a good “fit” for managed IT services?

Businesses of all sizes and in all industries use managed services for various reasons. A small- to medium-sized business (SMB) may use managed services to augment their small IT teams and free them up to focus more on the core business objectives. Large corporations engage MSPs to deliver complex IT projects, and offload employee support services, along with low-level tasks that may take a lot of time from internal IT teams. And many companies may engage with an MSP to help strengthen their security posture.

Why should I use a managed services provider?

For all organizations, technology use is growing, and the complexity of technology systems is outpacing the level of knowledge that many internal IT teams maintain. This means that as technology is added, there’s a need for constant attention to be paid to monitor, update, and proactively address potential issues before they arise. Many SMBs may look to an MSP to take on the role of managing these daily tasks, strengthening the in-house IT teams’ ability to focus on large-scale projects for the organization that contribute to meeting the goals of the overall business.

Are there different levels of managed IT services?

MSPs typically deliver a variety of services. For ZAG, we have the option of one of three “levels” of managed services:

  • Managed Security Assurance: At this level, ZAG manages all aspects of remotely managing and monitoring your network and technology, including patching workstations and servers; updating antivirus across workstations and servers; server, network device, switch/router/firewall, and backup monitoring; third-party application updates; and a host of security updates and testing.
  • Managed User Support: This level includes everything at the Managed Security Assurance level, in addition to end-user remote support, workstation remediation, Active Directory management, printer troubleshooting, security group, and basic file systems management.
  • All Managed: This is all-encompassing, adding in onsite support when needed, infrastructure, and backup remediation.

What is the cost of managed IT services?

Cost depends on a lot of factors, including the level of support your organization needs, how many users need to be supported, and whether you require cloud-based infrastructure support or oversight of an on-premise data center. Just like there aren’t two companies that are exactly the same, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” price for managed IT services. This answer can best be addressed by contacting one of our business strategists to discuss your business objectives.

What if we already have an internal IT department?

Managed IT services have a place in your organization whether you have an internal IT department. For many in-house IT teams, engaging with an MSP means they no longer have to be distracted by support requests and can focus their efforts on a long-term technology strategy that meets overall business needs. Additionally, many IT leaders look to MSPs like ZAG to offer ongoing education and insights around security threats that may not be top-of-mind for internal IT leaders. This highlights the value that an MSP can bring to the organization.

How are ZAG’s managed IT services different?

Not all MSPs are created equal, but there are a lot of choices to consider. However, one of the key differentiators for ZAG is the 200+ IT Standards and best practices that we have in place to continually address threats and actively improve our client’s environments. These specific guidelines are developed and reviewed regularly by our expert engineers, solution architects, and client strategists. Clients know that they’re receiving thoroughly vetted recommendations based on ongoing trends considerations and increasing threats.

ZAG also works with agribusinesses and fresh produce companies (in fact, these businesses make up 80% of our clients). We understand the 24/7/365 nature of operations, the need to be up and running because “trucks gotta ship,” and the perishable reality these companies face.

ZAG views technology as a competitive advantage and provides the needed industry knowledge for technology investments that helps build on our client’s own experiences. ZAG is an extension of your internal team and can help augment any holes in knowledge that you might experience. With nearly 25 years of experience in business, ZAG can support technology infrastructure environments.

Finally, most MSPs are highly focused on offering a narrow view of help desk and remote monitoring. ZAG provides a well-rounded approach with several additional branches of the company dedicated to enterprise-level support, high-end solution architects, project management, and Data and Software Services. The variety makes ZAG a true partner for multiple aspects of IT strategy and technology investment.

How do I choose the right managed IT services partner?

A good place to start is to identify the kind of services you need. Whether it’s remote monitoring and maintenance, or a full-service option, different MSPs will likely offer different levels of service. Finding the right MSP for your business is also like finding any service-based provider. They should:

  • Be able to provide references.
  • Understand your business.
  • Ask the right questions to get to know your company better.
  • Go beyond break-fix services to more proactive measures.
  • Provide technology strategy guidance and make recommendations based on the needs of your business.

The bottom line is trust. Choosing the right MSP relies on a great amount of trust in the partnership with your provider. A company that can provide the service you need, when you need it is part of building that continued trust and partnership that results.

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