Managed IT FAQs
A list of IT services FAQs we’ve heard from our client over 30+ years
Q. How are managed IT services different from just a simple time and materials service? What are the benefits of a managed service approach?
A. Managed IT services are generally proactive and based on a defined scope of work based on the managed service provider’s set of best practices. What you are really getting with this approach is this set of processes, technologies, and best practices that lead to predictable results. A managed service model is better at driving down the number of problems you have by taking a proactive approach. By taking a longer view of technology, you’re better able to plan and budget for IT investments and understand the business case for making them. A managed service model also provides budget predictability and peace of mind knowing that you have an IT team taking care of you.
Time and materials (or break/fix) models depend on you, the client, to initiate service as every interaction results in a charge. These relationships are often best suited to doing very specific project-oriented work for larger organizations with an internal IT team but need additional resources or skill sets. As a general rule, time and materials relationships are less effective at day-to-day management of IT operations for small to mid-sized businesses because these organizations need more guidance in terms of what services are needed. It isn’t easy to direct a time and materials IT partner if you don’t know what you need them to do. With a managed model, the IT partner leads the relationship. Generally, time and materials relationships are directed by the client.
Q. Do your technicians come to our office when we have a problem?
A. Only if there is no way to solve your problem remotely. In most cases, we can troubleshoot and resolve issues without having to travel to your site. This makes problem resolution more timely and efficient and ultimately less expensive. The exceptions to this are physical hardware failures where a component or device needs to be replaced. In those cases, we travel as needed to make those repairs.
Q. How much do managed IT services cost?
A. Since there are many definitions of “managed IT services” it’s hard to answer this question in a general way. What is absolutely true is that relative to all the other costs in your business, the cost of doing IT the “right” way vs. any other way, is relatively small.
Q. Is my business too small for managed IT?
A. It’s not so much about the organization’s size as it is about the nature of what you do with technology and the importance of things like security, planning, access to support, etc… In the real world, what we find is that organizations start to feel the pain of unmanaged IT at around a dozen employees but often suffer with it until they get closer to 20 employees.
Q. Is my business too large for managed IT? How do I know if I should hire my own IT team?
A. It’s difficult to recruit, hire, train, retain, and manage IT talent, much less provide a career path for IT professionals in even medium-sized organizations. It is not uncommon for companies with 1,000 employees to outsource all or some of their IT needs. Generally speaking, outsourced managed service providers are often better at providing core services, and any IT staff brought in-house is better targeted at specific and specialized needs. An in-house person might be hired to manage a core database application, providing reporting or business analyst functions.
Q. How do I choose a managed IT service provider? What are some questions I should ask?
Q. What if I have a problem after hours?
A. We provide after-hours support.
Q. What industries do you serve?
A. We have clients in a broad range of industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, non-profit, arts, financial, retail, and service.
Q. How can you help if I already have an internal IT staff?
A. Co-managed IT is a model that divides responsibilities between in-house staff and an outsourced MSP. In some common cases, in-house resources provide tier 1 help desk support, and the MSP provides all of the proactive services along with higher-level help desk support. But there are other ways to divide the work, and they can vary on a case-by-case basis.
Q. What is a Virtual Chief Information Officer?
A. A vCIO is a role within many managed IT service organizations whose mission is to align a client’s business goals with their technology investments. The vCIO has a business perspective, and it is their job to collaboratively work with the client to develop strategies, budgets, and IT roadmaps.
Q. What kind of response time can I expect when I have a problem?
A. We give ourselves 12 minutes to triage an issue after a trouble ticket is submitted. You can expect an immediate response to priority 1 emergencies. Routine simple issues are generally resolved with 30 minutes.
Q. What kinds of companies are good candidates for managed IT services?
A. Companies that want better results from what they spend on IT. Often these organizations start out thinking of IT as a necessary evil rather than a strategic asset. A managed IT approach will help reframe the expectations you have around what you spend on technology.
Q. Can you help my staff better understand security concerns? Do you provide security training?
A. Yes. Security training is part of our program. It’s an essential element in the overall approach to security.
Q. Can you help us develop an IT security plan?
A. Yes. IT security plans are always evolving. The threat landscape has never been more complex and frightening. A multi-layered approach will help reduce risk and put in place systems and processes to help you recover in the event of a security incident.
Q. Can you help us with HIPAA compliance?
A. Yes. We have resources to help with your annual HIPAA assessments, as well as policy templates and consulting services to assist.
Q. Can you help us protect our data with a backup solution?
A. Yes. A solid backup and disaster recovery solution is essential. Recovering from a security breach often depends on this.
Q. Can you recommend and provide hardware and software for my company?
A. Yes. We have been an authorized partner with HP, Microsoft, Cisco, and many many other companies for decades. We can provide a single source for product and installation services that can then also be managed by us. Fewer IT vendors simplify things for you.
Q. Do you have client references we can contact?
A. Of course. We are happy to provide these upon request.
Q. How do we get started? How would a transition to your services work?
A. The process of deciding to change your approach to IT is a big and important one. We don’t like to rush that. You must make the right decision for the right reasons, and we are experienced in helping guide prospective clients through that process. Once you’ve decided to work with us, there is a defined process for bringing you on board as a client. Depending on the size of your organization’s IT infrastructure and staff, this process usually takes place over the course of about 30 days.
Q. How do you monitor client satisfaction?
A. We ask. We routinely ask clients for feedback after service incidents and upon completion of projects. Typically our customer satisfaction level is around 98%. And we’re working hard on the other 2%.