What are managed IT services?
Not surprisingly we face this question all the time from our clients. We will admit it is not such an easy question to answer. IT does cover a broad range of services and simply listing them would not help us with the client. It is also a challenge to make them understand how we solve problems as opposed to having a shelved solution for them. So naturally, we thought this would be a great approach for IT BLOCK to simply list these services out in a blog. So just browse through them and have a fun time reading we hope!
HARDWARE PROCUREMENT IT SERVICES
This is a common service provided by your IT support company. From something as small as a mouse and keyboard to large equipment like servers and UPS (uninterrupted power supply) systems. IT support service providers get the information from the administration executive of the company about a new hire before proceeding to acquire and provide either the laptop or desktop. In most cases, service providers are working with distributors and are able to provide these laptops are very competitive prices. I mean this is, after all, a very tedious and time-consuming process. Just one laptop would involve so many calls and coordination. It is definitely worth it to outsource this function. We have even made custom constructed computers for our clients with full Windows Licenses for under a thousand dollars. Imagine that, with monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Of course, we would become the support, but think of the possibilities!
EMAIL ADMINISTRATION IT SUPPORT
Naturally, businesses have emails and they need to be managed. So IT support service providers administrate this on behalf of businesses, that is to say, they are the administrators and manage the users and their emails. On top of looking after the servers or service that is hosting the emails, they look after email security, backups, setting up for new users, removing old users, making sure there is enough space allocated in terms of storage for all the emails and setting up policies and group emails. This makes things very easy for offices that prefer to leave the control of their emails to a professional IT support service provider and it is common that they would sign a disclaimer agreement with their clients as an added level of security.
It does seem odd when an IT support vendor or IT support outsourcing company offers to manage your vendors for you. But think of it as a consolidated service, all a client would have to focus on is dealing with the IT support service provider and they manage the rest. So who are these vendors that they manage? Printer service providers, Internet service providers, Web developers, Application developers are the company they work with. On top of that, they also manage the warranty and service support on all your equipment. Meaning they will call the company providing support for your laptop on your behalf and accurately communicate with them the specific problem you are facing. This promotes the accuracy of reporting and will also save you a lot of time on support ultimately. Web developers, for example, could be facing some delays and your service provider is able to fast track the issue by liaising the issue between both parties.
This is an expanded form of vendor management IT support but it requires a project by the client. For example an app development project for a company interested in a customer booking application both on mobile and on the website. To have these applications integrated with the API of their current system used to manage their clients. It is not a simple task even for an in-house IT support team.
Such projects require contacts and experience to execute properly as effectively. Fact is how most companies ineffectively use the services of some of their managed services provider. They would actually hire a temporary project manager when they could easily delegate this to providers who are able to manage their IT support related projects. From app development to ERP to CRM systems. You would be surprised to know how these projects can be handled and managed by us.
DNS ADMINISTRATION IT SUPPORT
Another service we provide is the administration of your Domain. DNS is short for domain name servers. To put it simply, i-t-block.com would be our domain. Expanded into https://www.i-t-block.com as the full domain address. Domains are separate from your website, meaning your domain address is hosted in a server separate from your website.
Godaddy is a good example of a domain host and registrar. When you create or already have a domain, they are controlled via DNS records. DNS records allow you to point your domain to the correct resources or servers when requests are made. They are what connect your email to your domain. Your CDN (content delivery network) to your website. And most importantly they connect your domain itself to the server your website is hosted on.
This may seem complex and is best left for us to manage on your behalf. Any wrong settings can be disastrous and you may not necessarily understand how to rectify the issue by yourself.
CLOUD ADMINISTRATION IT SUPPORT
We also as IT support service providers provide cloud administration as a service to our clients. More specifically cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Now compared to DNS administration which we mentioned earlier, many websites and applications are hosted inside a cloud platform such as this. Which in our opinion is an ideal way of doing it since it provides more control over your application? We provide provisioning services for instances preparing them to be loaded easily with application from the developer and connect your application or website directly to your domain for example.
Calculation of the size of your instance and storage, adding features such as elasticity to your application for load balancing and configuring your content delivery network to target the correct geographic location to have access to your servers. These cloud platforms are phenomenal and we know how to use them and we do it all on your behalf as part of the IT support service.
Most IT support service provider is well equipped to not only serve you in a technical capacity but also as a consultant. We are normally called in by our clients for a meeting where they discuss with us their vision on how to further improve their capabilities.
this is not limited to improved CCTV, IP phone capabilities, app development, website upgrade for example. The point of this service is to have a careful discussion to explain clearly to the clients what they need to attain their goals. We even pride ourselves on advising our clients on how to cut costs with their IT infrastructure. Did you know that switching from a desktop to a laptop reduces power consumption by up to 80%? These are the value we add to our clients for procuring our services in the first place.
Designing an office is not an easy task and neither is designing the entire IT infrastructure. Having an IT support provider at your side whilst doing the design for your new office can ensure it is optimized at the highest level. This does not stop with office setup but with upgrading or sorting a messy work. Such as wires hanging everywhere and routers on the floor etc. We will handle the positioning of all your IT equipment and use the best practice available to ensure that not only is everything running at peak and is also running in an environment which would require the least amount of maintenance to be done. After all the lesser you have to call us down the easier it is on both parties.
Moving to a new office? Or maybe you feel moving from your hardware servers to the cloud. Migration can really mean anything in the IT world and as a service provider, we have all of that covered. From packing your computers the proper way to ensure any damage caused during the move is kept to a minimum. We can also orchestrate a seamless migration for your ERP system that you wish to move from a local server to a cloud-based one.
Good thing is, most available software these days are slowly migrating to the cloud on a subscription-based model. Yet there is still software in the market that comes with a license especially for companies who do not wish to keep paying on a subscription and prefer a one-time payment model. Examples are Windows operating system of which a license can be easily migrated from an old computer to a new one. Or if you prefer to install software on a full license model as opposed to a subscription-based one. We will keep all the licenses and keys for you. And make sure you too have a copy of it in case you need it.
One of the advantages of having an outsourced IT support service provider is that some of them work around the clock. Which means they have staff shifted on every hour of every day. Not even a local IT support department promises that kind of loyalty and dedication. This makes it much easier to address issues that are not only happening outside office hours but those that are even happening outside your office. Imagine as a director of a company being able to get IT support right at your home without the need to step into the office. Well on days when going to the office is kind of a chore of course.
Computers, tend to slow down eventually. As do all things with wear and tear. Good routine maintenance can be very beneficial in not only speeding things up but also improving the lifespan of the hardware. Most IT support companies are more than happy to take over the tedious chore of calling down the on-site support or warranty from the manufacturer. You would be surprised how many of our clients have us managing this for them. After all, we speak technical jargon. So their tech support and we speak really well with one another. Making the life of our clients that much easier.
In the age of dealing with malware such as viruses, spyware, and ransomware. Not to mention attacks from hackers who are looking to steal and sell important data to the highest bidder. The cyber-world has changed so drastically and with its evolution so had evolved the threats that come along with it. Ransomware and data theft is on the rise. The trend is set to spread from America to Europe and finally to Asia. This is really not in any way fear-mongering. The threat is absolutely real and if you have data that someone else can use to their advantage, you have to treat this data as such. Anti-virus software is not the most effective solution to this new menace neither is an expensive hardware firewall. Threats jump from domain to domain, from IP to IP, from VPN to VPN. There is no vaccine for this type of threat. But to fully understand what you need, you first have to discuss with your IT support service provider. It is important to evaluate how important certain information is to you and if it valuable enough to secure it.
Security does not only apply to the internet but also physically. There is also the trouble of changing passwords and managing them. Especially in the case of the active directory where it is always important to have an administrator who knows how to set the right policies within the correct parameters. From username and the access to databases and virtual machines to set how long it will take before a change of password is required. This is too a common service provided by an outsourced service provider.
Let's be honest, in most cases, you really do not need your IT support staff to physically be there to sort out an issue. In fact, we have experienced most of the assistance we have rendered was done remotely. Most service providers such as ours work on a retainer package and depending on the package purchased you will have a chosen set of on-site hours that you can use. These on-site hours are normally limited however the off-site or remote assistance is almost always unlimited. From driver incompatibility issues to software installation issues to security issues. It is an easy and efficient way to render assistance to your team quickly. And in the event such an event comes which requires a physical presence, we would be more than happy to drop by and assist you in any way we can.
Now on top of all of that. We even do something that most IT support service providers do not, which is SEO or search engine optimization. Completely separate from SEM or Search Engine Marketing. SEO is more infrastructure, the structure of your website and how search engines look for. H1 tags, H2 tags, mobile-friendly, size of your page, the number of words, the internal links, the external links, your sitemap to name a few. These are just the tip of the iceberg, which goes to show how truly complex and vast are the ingredients of a really good and searchable website. There is no real magical solution to your search engine woes but a little rectification can go a long way. And we pride ourselves in learning how to optimize the website and resources for our clients to ensure they are searchable to the clients that are looking to procure their services. After all, if our clients make money, we make money.
There are many benefits to having your very own internal IT support staff or team like there are many benefits to outsourcing your IT support operations to a very specialized vendor. A good thing to take note is that whether you call us an IT support company or an outsourced managed services and solutions provider, you can be sure that these companies will try harder to get things done in the most effective and efficient manner. And if an IT support provider is not good enough, drop them and move on to the next one. You have that convenience afforded to you as opposed to dealing with a full-time hire. Competition breeds competency, there is an IT support services firm out there perfect for your company. Maybe it is us or maybe it is our competition. Most probably it is us but there are no hard feelings if you were to choose our competition instead of us. Jokes aside, outsourcing makes sense especially if you are a small or medium-sized organization. When you graduate and become a large organization, we would gladly sit there side by side and look through the candidates that will take over our reign and look after your IT infrastructure going forward.
And the most important point, service is all about quality IT support customer service. All this knowledge is for nothing if the experience provided is satisfactory. A real IT support and IT services provider thinks that way. IT BLOCK!