The most important factors for progress and the simultaneous mastering of current standards and requirements are still time and know-how in the form of skilled workers and their efficient use, as well as openness to new developments.
We'll get straight to the point: if you don't want to stand still with a mainly digitally driven business, there's one thing you can't do without: support from real experts.
Now you are certainly asking yourself the following questions:
- How is that supposed to succeed in times when the shortage of skilled workers alone is a major challenge and you are actually constantly focused on keeping the day-to-day business running?
- Where can I find these experts?
- Could I trust an external provider? Do I want to?
- How can you make all this cost-efficient?
This article will answer these questions for you.
How to make your IT run easily, securely and constantly
There are basically 3 possibilities that you should weigh up against each other. We give you a few ideas on how to do this.
Option 1: Train your own employees and deploy them in a more targeted manner
With this option, you should definitely consider investing in the continuous training of your employees. In addition, you should ensure that they can regularly take care of the performance of your IT so that it is not seen as a necessary evil but as an important project. This can be difficult when the day-to-day and core business is challenging anyway. However, this is the only way to ensure that your company's IT is not only up to date, but also evolving to meet future challenges.
The benefit: Your own employees know the company inside out. They can therefore make optimal and adequate decisions together. You are also not dependent on an external provider, which is an important factor for many entrepreneurs.
The downside: Your staff must always be available. You need to consider how this can be done in case of emergencies, including at night, on public holidays, during holiday periods or even in case of illness and absence of certain colleagues.
Option 2: IT outsourcing to a service provider
You could outsource whole areas of IT or the entire IT department to a service provider. The service provider then takes care of everything.
The benefit: Of course, you have a lot less work in your own company as far as IT is concerned.
The downside: You place yourself in a very high dependency. The service provider does not know your internal procedures, processes and needs directly and will never be able to act as appropriately as your employees. And: relatively high costs arise.
Option 3: Managed Services
You hand over only certain sub-areas to a service provider - a so-called Managed Service Provider. Your IT staff are in contact with the service provider, who takes over clearly defined tasks for you. Responsibility is therefore only handed over in very specific sub-areas. The IT department (and also your employees) remain in your company.
The benefit: The responsibility remains with you. You have less work in the company. Colleagues can concentrate on day-to-day business and the further development of IT, and the costs are manageable.
Since this variant is so attractive, we would like to present it again for you in detail.
What exactly are Managed Services?
Managed Services are the specific services and tasks that you have agreed with your Managed Service Provider (MSP) or IT service provider so that they are performed by them on a regular and ongoing basis.
The MSP therefore not only becomes active in the event of a malfunction or problem, but also takes preventive measures to ensure that the malfunction does not occur in the first place. If a malfunction does occur, it can be detected and remedied much more quickly. This becomes clearer if you take a closer look at the various Managed Services.
Managed Services are not typical and complete outsourcing. In many cases, you have full control over your corporate IT, as it remains in-house.
In addition, Managed Services are usually carried out remotely. The service provider looks after you externally. Often he is located exactly where your servers are. This applies in particular to the topic of Managed Hosting:
What does Managed Hosting mean?
For example, if you have placed your corporate cloud or servers with a hosting company such as Keyweb you could simply use the hosting - so that the operation of the IT structures is basically secured - but you could also let the provider take care of the up-to-dateness and functionality of the operating system and other applications, regular updates or other services directly - in the form of Managed Hosting.
The rented IT infrastructure is therefore looked after for you. Its administration, configuration and functionality are taken over directly by the service provider. This also has the advantage that they know their IT structures best and can implement your IT plans all the better with you.
What services does a Managed Service provider offer?
A Managed Service can include a wide variety of services. It is important to understand that these are usually agreed individually with the respective company, so that both sides know exactly where the corresponding responsibilities lie and in what way they will be carried out.
In general, it can be said that the Managed Service Provider can be responsible for the operation, monitoring, maintenance and management of the company's IT. In detail, these are the following activities:
What are the benefits of using Managed Services and Managed Hosting?
In order to convince you completely of Managed Services, we have compiled the most important advantages of this service model for you once again.
Availability and functionality of your IT infrastructure
As soon as data is an important basis for your processes, its availability should have absolute priority. This is brought to a very high level with the use of Managed Services. Your IT can be monitored and supported around the clock by the Managed Service Provider if you have agreed this contractually.
IT security at the highest level
The Managed Service Provider specialises in the professional management of IT infrastructures. This also means that he always has the latest know-how in the area of IT security - which he has also acquired over the years - and can incorporate this into the management of your IT structures. When working with an MSP, you have direct access to this well-founded knowledge. This also results in the next advantage:
No permanent education costs
Don't get us wrong on this point: of course you should invest in the further training of your employees. No question about it. However, you can train them in a very targeted way. The knowledge and experience that your MSP brings with them does not have to be learned in detail by your employees. This also goes hand in hand with the next point:
Focus and innovation in your company
Whether entrepreneur, management or IT management - you can concentrate again on the tasks that advance and optimise you and your company - and therefore increase your company's turnover. And not only that: also the profit, because:
Less costs generated with Managed Services
As already mentioned, with an MSP you have an experienced and competent expert at hand. You save on further training in the company and the expert completes some tasks, which might have taken a few hours or even longer in your company, in no time at all - simply because of his experience. Furthermore, he is also available for you 24/7. This means that you do not have to employ staff on public holidays or outside business hours. When you weigh up all these costs, it quickly becomes clear that a Managed Service is often the more economical decision.
24/7 availability and a secure feeling
IT staff around the clock - even on public holidays - and at night. Relatively easy to have with Managed Services. So if the server of your online shop fails at 11 p.m., it doesn't have to lead to a catastrophe. You don't have to travel to the company, and neither do your colleagues. Usually, the Managed Service Provider can solve the problem in a short time. But often, thanks to continuous monitoring, the disruption is resolved so quickly that you may not even notice it. Quite reassuring, isn't it?
Calculability - no unexpected costs
Because the pricing of a Managed Service Provider is very transparent and you should basically be able to get by with the monthly basic fee as agreed beforehand, you can plan your IT costs very well using a Managed Service Provider. In addition, the proactive service prevents major problems that could cost you a lot of money in another case. A cyber attack alone can result in many direct and indirect costs - up to and including a loss of reputation, which in turn has a negative impact on your sales.
Being able to react flexibly and quickly to changes - the Managed Service Provider as a partner
If your requirements change and you need more IT resources, for example, Managed Hosting in particular offers you optimal conditions for this. You do not have to purchase expensive hardware yourself - because you can find this with your provider - and you can also receive professional and individual advice. The good thing is that your Managed Service Provider already knows you and your needs and therefore knows exactly which structures would be optimally suited for your company.
Procrastination when it comes to IT security: not for you!
Especially in the case of security-relevant tasks, it is important that they are completed in a timely manner. Even if nothing critical has happened for years, this is still no proof that this will also be the case in the future. For various reasons, it is not always possible to carry out all updates and security measures immediately. The situation is different if you have agreed with your Managed Service Provider that they will carry out the corresponding tasks for you.
Only as much dependence as you want
Since, on the one hand, all responsibilities are contractually regulated and, on the other hand, you have full access to your own systems at all times, you do not hand over responsibility and control over your IT at any time! You are and remain the boss and your Managed Service Provider is " just" your very professional and dedicated supporter.
You can go on holiday
To once again emphasise the difference to classic IT service providers, who often help you with IT problems rather selectively: A Managed Service Provider will always support you proactively - if this is contractually agreed. This means that you can rely on everything that has been agreed beforehand - and that only that will be done.
Who benefits from Managed Services?
Now you may be wondering under what conditions we would recommend a Managed Service to you. There are a few clear indications that show that the model is suitable for you:
- your IT department is chronically overloaded, whether due to a shortage of skilled workers or simply too many tasks
- important updates are not carried out on time
- under no circumstances do you want to hand over responsibility entirely to a service provider
- malfunctions and system failures occur more frequently or would be very dangerous for your company
- IT security plays a particularly important role for you
Whenever you feel that the cost-benefit ratio of your IT is out of balance, it makes sense to calculate to what extent a Managed Service would make sense for you.
Which Managed Service Provider is the right one?
If you have decided to use managed services or Managed Hosting, the question remains as to which provider is right for you. If you read our articles carefully, you will certainly already know our answer:
Choose a provider that places a lot of emphasis on IT security and data protection. Ideally, the provider should be based in Germany or the EU and offer outstanding support. But this goes without saying for this topic.
If you have any questions about Managed Services, we will be happy to advise you. If you are interested in our Managed Services, you will find all the details here: https://www.keyweb.de/en/service/managed-server-hosting
The Keyweb AG