Are Managed IT Services Just Hype?
What are managed IT services and are they actually as important as the buzz surrounding them would suggest?
In general, managed IT services offer business the opportunity to put all of its IT solutions and IT management onto an outside entity. This entity monitors and manages the systems 24 hours a day and provides the go-to problem resolution for all that business’ IT systems.
The first outside IT management was really just run by individuals, often amateur networkers who had taught themselves, who were responsible for setting up simple network systems for individual companies. For the most part, the company would run as normal until something broke. When that thing broke, the company would call the person who had set up the system. That person would, hopefully, be able to fix whatever had gone wrong.
The next step in managed IT services came when people developed programs to do periodic checks of the system even if it seemed to be operating properly. These system reviews would allow the reviewer to identify whether there were issues that could cause problems in the future. This was definitely a step up from the earlier model of waiting until everything went wrong before calling for help, but it did mean that support personnel would only be able to look at IT services when they were actually there. There was no monitoring offered on an ongoing basis, so if something went wrong there would still be a lag before it could get fixed.
To deal with this issue, many companies begin installing backup systems. In theory, the backup system was there to protect the primary system should something go wrong. Backups were designed to take place on a regular basis, but these backup systems also needed professional IT testing and support. It wasn’t terribly uncommon for the backup system to experience problems and fail to backup for quite a while. In addition, some of the same problems that were plaguing the main system could be transferred to the backup system, essentially rendering the backup system useless.
The first to start implementing managed IT services of the type that we are currently familiar with were, not surprisingly, Fortune 500 companies. These were the companies with the resources to pay for managed IT services and the most incentive to be proactive in protecting their systems. They put out the demand for tools that could watch systems even on large networks and constantly and proactively avoid and manage small problems so they would not develop into large ones. Before 2005, these kinds of managed IT services were prohibitively expensive and only available for companies with enormous financial resources.
Today’s IT Support
Today, advances in technology have made it possible for companies to access managed IT service at much more accessible prices. Now small companies are better poised to compete with large companies because they have IT management that offers the same benefits. This means that all IT can be truly managed instead of being something a company must respond to only in an emergency.
Is It Important?
Now that managed IT services are more affordable, the question becomes whether they are so desperately necessary. As IT services and solutions have developed, so has the digital world and its relationship to business. Every business is growing increasingly reliant on IT and on smoothly functioning systems that don’t go down and don’t put company information or customer and client information at risk. At the moment, 58% of all businesses in America are concerned about cyber attacks. More than half of all companies have experienced IT downtime of over eight hours from just one event. This is why 61% of companies of every size are now citing return on investment is a key reason for using managed IT services and IT consulting.
Forecasts by Gartner estimate that IT spending worldwide will reach $3.7 trillion in 2018. IT services and solutions are essential to keeping the modern company, of whatever size, efficient and productive as well as competitive. The future is digital, and companies who want to stay relevant in that future must invest in IT solutions that are looking toward that future.