The Basics of Managed Services and How It Can Work for Your Business
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The router needs a firmware update. Your customers are complaining about the slow Wi-Fi in your store. And now you’re getting an urgent security message on your laptop. Meanwhile, you’ve got a customer on hold. Wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else do the driving when it comes to internet issues?
Now you can. More business owners are opting for “managed services” from their internet service provider (ISP). With it, the ISP will take the wheel and manage your information traffic flow for you. Then you can steer your attention to helping more customers.
Here’s an introduction to managed services and what it can do for your business. Take a look and decide whether you can reduce the time spent deploying, monitoring or troubleshooting your network.
What Is Managed Services?
Managed services offer a way for small business owners to outsource all or a part of maintaining their information technology (IT) system. Services can range from hardware support to internet optimization so you get the fastest connection.
It offers a number of advantages. The biggest is access to certified IT technicians. They can diagnose and resolve issues faster and more efficiently than you. And you don’t have to hire additional staff. Some even monitor your system to resolve issues before you know about them. Rather than waiting until something is broken, you can avoid having to stop everything and resolve the issue. That lets you focus on your business, not your system.
In addition, managed services is an efficient way to keep your technology updated, from time-consuming firmware updates and frequent software fixes. An optimized network means applications like your customer relationship management system or cloud-based accounting program can run more efficiently.
Managed services is often priced on a monthly fee basis. Some ISPs bundle several services into cost-efficient packages. Others offer levels of service from remote monitoring to onsite support.
While there is a cost associated with this service, you may offset it with a reduction in downtime. One study estimates small businesses incur an average cost of $10,000 for every hour they are down. Even if you’re back up in 15 minutes, it’s a $2,500 hit to your budget. Managed services lets you take a more proactive approach.
Range of Services Provided
Business owners can choose from a menu of managed services. Here are some of the services offered:
- Managed Router – Ensure your network runs optimally 24/7 with the most up-to-date equipment. Trained staff identify and resolve network issues and bottlenecks in performance. That’s useful whether you have a single or multiple location.
- Managed Security – Guard against suspicious network traffic and enforce any boundaries you’ve established. That includes malware protection. You also get insights into your network traffic, like knowing what content and applications are being accessed. Some provide web caching, which gives you faster access to the content you visit frequently.
- Managed Wi-Fi – Install, manage and maintain your private Wi-Fi network so it’s configured for maximum performance. That can include a separate network for customer use so you can securely wall off your business’ information.
- Managed Voice – Many businesses use the same network to support voice and data. This service provides the efficient flow of both through your system. It may include installation of new equipment or use existing equipment paired with a cloud-based setup.
- Managed Backup – This service sets up an alternate connection if your internet goes down due to unforeseen events like a power outage or accidental damage to the line. Your network automatically switches to a different system so you have continuous service.
Managed services harnesses the knowledge of IT experts so you can focus on the road ahead rather than pulling over for maintenance and repairs. Consider the range of services provided and decide what makes sense for your small business.
[Sparklight Business has launched managed services – Managed Router and Managed Security. These services are now available for all businesses with high-speed internet, Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) or Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) through Sparklight Business.]