Advantages of Partnering with Managed Services Providers

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Advantages of Partnering with Managed Services Providers

In today’s digital world, it is almost impossible for big enterprises to small and medium-sized businesses to function without technology. With so many different products and service offerings available, most companies have difficulty keeping up with the demand. As a result, many business owners are partnering with managed services providers to take some of the load off their shoulders.

These professionals will handle all technology-related administrative tasks and help you avoid costly IT repairs or system failures.

The Protected Harbor Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partner Advantage program is now available. It is designed to assist your company’s growth by accelerating the time to market, expanding your clientele, and increasing profitability.

This blog post will share some advice on partnering with MSPs for your company and what to watch out for when signing contracts or service-level agreements.

 

What is a Managed Service Provider?

A managed service provider (MSP) is a company that offers a wide range of IT services. There are many different types of managed services. Still, they all have a few things in common: – Service Level Agreement (SLA): This contract outlines the services provided, response times, and any penalties if the company fails to meet those goals.

Customized Plans: Some MSPs will have standardized plans, but most will work with you to create a customized plan that fits your needs and budget.

24/7 Support: All MSPs will provide 24/7 support for their clients. This means you can call them whenever you have a problem, even at 2 AM.

Backup and Disaster Recovery: It’s crucial to have a backup system in place, so you don’t lose any data if your system fails. A managed service provider will have a backup plan with regular tests.

Cybersecurity: With the rise in cyber-attacks, getting day-to-day management services or standard information technology services is not enough. Therefore, you must partner with MSP, which provides all services including cybersecurity.

 

How Can MSPs Help Your Company?

The goal of an MSP is to help you reduce IT costs, improve productivity and reliability, and increase uptime. To achieve those goals, the managed service provider will need to look at your current technology infrastructure and offer suggestions for improving it.

Most MSPs will offer a wide variety of services including networking, infrastructure managementdata security, cloud computing, voice and communications, disaster recovery and business continuity, endpoint management, remote monitoring and management, data management, and application management.

 

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Important Questions to Ask Before Signing Any Contract

Before signing any contract, you must ensure that the MSP is a good fit for your company. Here are a few questions when vetting managed services providers: – Is the MSP a good fit for my company? – What is the MSP’s track record? – How does the MSP protect my data? – What are the MSP’s rates and terms? – How will the MSP and my team work together? – Are there any hidden costs associated with the MSP? – How does the MSP handle customer service? – What are the MSP’s cancellation procedures?

 

Reasons to Partner With Us

Extending Your Services Portfolio

 

Multi-tenant, cloud-based solutions that are simple to scale and deploy can be used to improve current services and develop new ones.

A Track Record With Merit

 

Protected Harbor is recognized by industry analysts like Goodfirms and other top companies for its data resilience and performance.

The Best Collaborations

 

The tech platforms used by clients and service providers, such as Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle, SAP, and Google, are supported by us.

 

 

 

Simplifying Advanced Data Systems

 

Our selection of Intelligent Data Services allows you to design data protection procedures for your clients that significantly impact outcomes. You can be confident in delivering services powered by Protected Harbor, from guaranteeing data and application availability to preventing cyber risks and ensuring effective business continuity.

Customize Your Customer Data

 

You can determine how to manage client data with choices like innovative deployment and contactless capabilities.

Adaptable Consumption Models For A Range Of Business Requirements

The architecture of Protected Harbor Services makes it simple to use and lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO). Options for utility subscription contracts increase flexibility and savings.

 

As you can see, partnering with a managed services provider can save your company a lot of money and headaches. The best MSPs, like Protected Harbor, will help you manage your technology infrastructure, reduce your costs, and improve the uptime of your systems. At the same time, you will have the flexibility to handle projects outside the managed services scope.

Protected Harbor engineers are highly skilled specialists capable of application migration, development, and continuing maintenance services. If you’d like to partner with us for your managed services and cybersecurity needs, this is the right time. Contact us today for a free IT Audit and learn how our partner advantage benefits you.

Should I Hire an IT Guy? Should I Hire an MSP?

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Should I Hire an IT Guy? Should I Hire an MSP?

IT guys and MSPs are popping up everywhere these days. From your local hardware store to the big box retailers, there’s no shortage of places you can find a helpful tech or an experienced service provider (or both!). Even so, that doesn’t mean they’re all equally dependable. With that in mind, here are some pros and cons to hiring IT guys and MSPs regarding your company’s IT needs.

 

Why Hire a Managed IT Service Provider?

Many companies don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to managing their IT needs. They often don’t have a dedicated team working on their technology and flounder in an overwhelmed and unproductive environment.

A managed IT service provider can help you get a handle on your technology and avoid these pitfalls. They may be able to provide solutions that are tailored to your specific needs. With an MSP, you can be sure you’re getting a full-service approach that includes expert advice, total control over all aspects of your technology, and a consistent level of service.

The managed IT service provider can handle more complicated IT tasks like backup and disaster recovery methods, network administration, cybersecurity procedures, data management services, and server management, to mention a few. In other words, think of your internal IT department as your daily IT support provider.

 

Pros and Cons When Hiring an IT Guy or MSP

Like any other business decision, there are pros and cons to hiring an IT guy or an MSP.

Hiring an IT Guy

Pros:

•       An IT guy can assist you with hardware configuration and setup.

•       An IT guy will be available to your business during peak business hours.

·        A good IT person should be able to assist your business and staff members with desktop repair, virus removal, and software issues.

Cons:

• Hiring a single IT specialist with a salary, health insurance, and other perks may be expensive depending on experience and specialty.

• It can be too much work for one individual to be the network manager, infrastructure planner, and IT support person for your IT department.

• The talents of your in-house IT specialist might only be dependent on the work they perform daily; they might not be as quick to adopt new technology.

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Hiring an MSP

Pros:

•       Managed service providers have access to cutting-edge equipment. Your MSP should be able to support you with workstations, networks, servers, software, and hardware, regardless of the industry you’re in.

•       The most crucial aspect of any organization, continuity, should be protected by your managed IT service provider. MSPs should be able to guarantee that your system is up and operating as much as possible by reducing the risk of downtime.

•       You have access to a group of committed IT experts who work on what they do for at least eight to nine hours daily.

•       Some remote IT support services are accessible around-the-clock.

•       Managed services are available with various services and expertise to pick from, whether in NYC or any other major city.

•       You should receive an SLA (Service Level Agreement) from your managed service provider that outlines the results you anticipate from your collaboration.

•       Managed service consultants bill firms with set monthly fees to help them better control their spending.

Cons:

•       Location is a crucial factor to consider when picking an MSP. We advise businesses to employ MSPs in the region or, at the very least, in the same city. When anything goes wrong on-site and companies have to wait for the MSP to send an IT specialist to assist fix it, the waiting game is a major drawback of joining a managed IT services provider.

•       Service level agreements (SLAs) allow MSPs to function based on the signed contracts. Expect to pay extra fees if your contract doesn’t cover something.

 

Why do you Need a Dedicated IT Team?

You’ll likely need to bring on a dedicated IT team if hiring an IT guy or an MSP. This is because most managed IT service providers will only hire entry-level IT staff. You may consider bringing a CIO or a senior IT executive who can manage other employees.

As an IT department takes shape, you may consider hiring experienced IT executives to oversee specific aspects of your technology. For instance, if your company has a significant revenue stream that relies on technology, you may want to hire someone to manage the revenue stream.

 

Conclusion

Managed IT services are here to stay. But remember that while they are cost-effective and can help your business, they are not a silver bullet. In other words, they’re a great choice to supplement your in-house IT team if you have one.

The best course of action is to understand your business thoroughly. How invested you are in your money’s capabilities, demands, and functions will determine how much you can get out of it. Whether it’s a single IT professional or a team of managed service providers, what counts is that your needs are appropriately handled.

While most MSPs focus on outsourcing technical tasks, Protected Harbor is different. It provides managed security services (MSS) to businesses, offering proactive monitoring of physical and cyber assets. Protected Harbor is the right choice if you are looking for a managed service provider that can grow with your company as it scales.

We work with businesses at all stages, from startups to enterprises. If you need ongoing assistance with managing your IT infrastructure or if you want to outsource a specific task like software development, we can help. We pride ourselves on being a one-stop shop for all your technology needs.

Contact us today for a more hands-off approach to your IT and security needs. Get a free IT Audit here.

The Importance of IT Service Provider: Truth to Power

The Importance of IT Service Provider: Truth to Power

Today’s business landscape is highly competitive, and a company must adopt a strategy to give them an edge over its competitors. Technology has become a primary source of differentiation for companies in all sectors.

You’ve probably heard about the importance of the service-provider relationship. After all, it’s a topic that discussion boards, blogs, and articles have been tackling for years. But how much of this information is theory vs. practice? If you had to implement these strategies tomorrow, would you know what action steps to take?

Welcome to another video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna discussing the importance of service-provider relations and transparency. What’s the truth to power between the promised services and the actual delivery by the IT service providers and MSPs?

 

The Importance of a Service-Provider Relationship

When people in the business world talk about service-provider relationships, they refer to the partnerships businesses build with their partners. These could include vendors, suppliers, distributors, IT service providers, managed service providers, or system integrators. A service-provider relationship is designed to help both parties thrive and succeed.

When you partner with a company to provide essential technology services, like hosting, IT infrastructure, security, or managed services, you’re entering into a partnership that will benefit both of you in different ways. For example, let’s say you run a chain of car dealerships that need an IT infrastructure to process credit card payments and keep your staff connected. If you work with a managed services provider (MSP) to help you with these tasks, you’re entering into a partnership that will benefit you in different ways.

 

Truth in Transparency: Know What You’re Buying

IT service providers are critical to any business’s success, but they are not all created equally. Many service providers offer various technology-related services, each with unique value propositions, business models, and strengths and weaknesses. That’s why it’s important to partner with an IT service provider that is a good fit for your company.

Partnering with a service provider that is a good fit for your company can help you avoid common pitfalls that can disrupt your business and negatively impact your bottom line, such as paying too much for services you don’t need or are overpriced, or not receiving the level of support and maintenance your company needs to thrive.

Before signing up with an IT service provider, ensure you understand exactly what you’re buying to ensure the relationship is a good fit for your business. You don’t want to sign up with a service provider that is overpriced or doesn’t offer a solution that lines up with your business needs.

 

The Importance of a Good SLA

The service-level agreement (SLA) is critical to any managed services agreement. The SLA outlines the service provider’s obligations, such as the level of customer support, the amount of downtime, and the uptime of critical systems. It also includes the customer’s obligations.

It is essential to make sure the SLA is in your favor. If you are a customer working with an MSP, the SLA is your opportunity to hold the service provider accountable for their promises by clearly laying out what you expect from them. It is also an opportunity for you to establish a baseline for performance.

If you are an MSP, the SLA is your opportunity to outline the commitments you make to your customers. It is also an opportunity for you to set a baseline for performance. For example, if your SLA states that you will have a technician respond to an issue within four hours, that is the expectation you need to live up to every single time.

 

Takeaways

It is a strategic technology partner offering more than just a product or service. It is a partner that provides expertise, guidance, and support to help you grow your business through IT services.

Protected Harbor is not your typical MSP. It’s a managed service provider with a twist. The company specializes in cloud-based software solutions, including data backup, recovery, ransomware, and other cybersecurity services. Our team of MSP experts works with you every step of the way.

We conduct a thorough assessment of your business and technology landscape. We then customize a solution that meets your exact needs. Contact one of our experts today for a free IT Audit and discover why we are different.

Non-profit Computer Services

Non-profit Computer Services: Building the Foundation for Your Non-Profit’s Success

Non-profit organizations are often driven by passion, not profits. But that doesn’t stop non-profits from needing technology to operate efficiently and thrive. Technology can support growth in several ways: streamlining operations, making collaboration with partners and volunteers easier, or increasing the organization’s visibility to potential donors.

Whether your non-profit is just starting or looking for ways to improve efficiency, these tips will help you better manage your non-profit’s IT needs. Here is the next video in the series Uptime with Richard Luna. This blog post will cover why your non-profit should invest in IT services and how to find the right partner.

 

All Has to be Seamless

When it comes to non-profit IT services, the tech experience must be seamless for your internal team and end users. Your services should integrate well with your existing tools and be easy to set up. They should also provide a straightforward user experience—whether someone is using your website or accessing a hosted application, they should not be overwhelmed by technology.

 

Provide a Uniform Interface

One of your organization’s most influential services is a uniform interface for managing your environment. You may have one or several application or platform environments. You may also have one or more partner organizations that provide you with internal or external services, such as email systems, hosted applications, and data storage.

These multiple environments and partners may need to be integrated, monitored, and managed in a single interface. Your non-profit IT services partner should be able to help you do this. In particular, you’ll want to ensure the partner can provide a single pane of glass to manage your environments, no matter where they are hosted, so you can have one view of all your operations.

 

Finding the right partner

Finding the right IT partner for your non-profit is more critical than the cost. It’s about meeting your needs, including your ability to collaborate, manage operations, and measure results. Before you begin the search for non-profit IT services, do some self-reflection on your organization’s goals and objectives. Are you seeking a turnkey solution? Will you need to staff the project internally? What are your most prominent non-profit IT challenges? These are all critical questions to consider when looking for the right partner for your non-profit.

 

Conclusion

When it comes to non-profit IT services, you want to be sure to select a partner that will help you meet your strategic goals. You want to make sure the partner can provide the level of service you need and that it can scale as your needs grow. You also want to ensure the partner is committed to positive social impact and can show you how their technology and services are helping other non-profits succeed.

With the right partner like Protected Harbor and the right level of support, there is no limit to what your non-profit can accomplish. Protected Harbor is dedicated to offering scalable and affordable solutions and is aware of the unique challenges faced by non-profit organizations. We have spent years planning IT infrastructures for NGOs to ensure they receive the IT support required for both short- and long-term objectives while being productive.

To find out more about how our IT solutions may assist your non-profit organization in achieving its objectives, get in touch with Protected Harbor for a free consultation and IT Audit.

The Pitfalls of a Modern MSP

 

The Pitfalls of a Modern MSP

Modern managed services providers (MSPs) are not your typical IT solution provider. These organizations are agile, personable, and tech-savvy. Their services are built to meet business needs in the modern age of technology, but there’s more than what meets the eye. However, because they’re so advanced compared to other IT solution providers, they often have issues that typical MSPs don’t face. For example, the pitfalls of a modern MSP can be tricky to navigate. Any organization has its ups and downs, but these common pitfalls can hinder its growth if left unresolved. Watch the latest video in our series Uptime with Richard Luna to discover the pitfalls of a modern MSP and how you can avoid them.

 

Reselling Services

IT service providers of all kinds often choose to resell third-party services. However, reselling services can lead to issues in the future. These services can be challenging to forecast, and the risks can outweigh the benefits. For example, if you buy cloud services, you may not know the SLA of each provider, the availability of each type of service, or the performance of each provider. Because of this, you may not be able to guarantee a high level of service to your clients if they experience issues with their hosted applications or cloud storage.

 

Limited Experience

Most modern MSPs are generalists that provide a wide variety of services. They often offer a range of services, but they typically lack experience. Generals are like infantry. They are good at what they do, but they would do better as specialists who do one thing well. Generalists find it challenging to compete for new business in an industry where specialization leads to higher-quality services and more satisfied clients. By focusing on a specific set of products or services, an MSP can offer clients more value and reduce the time it takes to complete projects.

 

The Pitfalls of a Modern MSP middleLack of a Proactive Culture

Many modern MSPs are built around providing reactive support. They wait for clients to call with an issue before they start working on a solution. This is fine to an extent, but it creates an environment where problems are prioritized above proactive efforts to prevent issues from ever occurring. Similarly, some MSPs may ignore clients who don’t have a point. This leads to a lack of communication and a lack of relationship building. A proactive culture enables MSPs to build stronger relationships with clients and engage with them in ways that don’t solely focus on problems. Communication creates a more personable relationship between the MSP and its clients and allows the organization to provide better value to its customers by offering more than just reactive support.

 

Summing up

Modern MSPs like Protected Harbor are driven by data, which allows them to identify trends and take advantage of them. With the right tools, our team can gather meaningful information from client interactions and make data-driven decisions that will benefit your company. Continue to watch our video for knowledge and insights on MSPs and how to choose the right one for your business. Get a free IT Audit today, consult one of our experts and discover why we aren’t just your typical MSP.

Red Flags: It’s time to switch your IT Managed Service Provider

MSP Red Flags

Red Flags: It’s time to switch your IT Managed Service Provider

Technical hiccups happen regardless of your business’s size, niche, or geography. And outsourcing your IT infrastructure services to an MSP provides you with a dedicated team that can handle all such issues. This team is always on alert to address any problems, getting you back up and running as soon as possible. You hire MSPs to fix your problems and reduce your downtime.

But fixing issues and keeping it running are slightly different things, though. If you find your MSP fixing the same issue numerous times, you’re probably with the wrong MSP. Actual MSPs must be less product-focused and more focused on solving client problems. In addition to billable hours, your MSP should track the uptime of your systems.

Sometimes with specialized services, like those an MSP provides, it can be hard to assess how well they perform their job. But the bottom line is that outsourcing your IT to a managed service provider (MSP) is supposed to make your life easier. If it doesn’t, something has gone wrong. There are subtle signs that your MSP is no longer the right fit for you. A few questions to introspect are:

How often has your MSP not even known there are issues until you tell them? Do you consider your MSP as an on-demand IT service provider?

The answer to this question is about strategic fitment. Do you consider your MSP a transactional partner or partner to work with you? It’s not enough that your MSP is fixing IT issues that arise. They should proactively assess hardware and software needs and security practices bi-annual or quarterly. And this can be even outside their written contract (scope of work). Proactive maintenance makes all the difference when it comes to IT management.

Do your MSP over-promise and under-deliver?

MSP industry has cut-throat competition. And to survive, many MSPs rely on the effectiveness of their salespeople. However, the challenge with this method is that sales calls or pitches often commit big promises upfront to secure your business. In reality, the service provider might not have the capacity or competency to deliver such services. Reviewing your IT service agreement lets you pick areas where your MSP hasn’t delivered up to its promises.

MSP Red Flags smallDoes your MSP have the vision to plan and execute for the future? How good is your MSP in project management skills?

The sole purpose of your MSP is to provide reliable IT services. And that can’t be achieved with a myopic view of day-to-day operational issues. Your MSP must champion taking cues from regular issues, devise long-term plans that put you in the driving seat, and execute with a transparent governance model.

Do they track response time? How well do they handle complaints? Does your MSP manage stakeholder communications effectively?

One of the best indicators to answer this question is MTTR (Mean Time To Repair/Resolve/Recovery/Response), MTTF (Mean Time To Failure), MTTA (Mean Time To Acknowledge), and MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure).[1] These can be a good baseline or benchmark that starts more challenging conversations regarding the process, RCA methodologies, response protocols, and more.

How well does your MSP align with your organization’s culture? Do they own your issues? Do they consider your users as their ‘own’ users? Do they track CSAT?

Can you ring your MSP at 2 AM and be assured that someone will be working on the ground to resolve a critical business issue. Does your MSP empathize with you in a significant outage and work tirelessly to bring back the system? Does your MSP think about the solution first or bring the contractual scope of work in every discussion? How well does your MSP resonate with your user community, values, and vision?

If answers to the above questions are No, is your service provider an MSP then? Yes, an MSP is responsible for a specific and agreed set of technologies for an agreed-upon subscription cost. But, if your MSP only does time and materials on a break-fix basis, they aren’t an MSP. It would help if you didn’t forget that an MSP is a Managed Service Provider. The effectiveness of managed services lies in their simplicity. They augment your competency rather than you shifting your operational complexities. Actual MSPs think beyond their scope, which benefits your entire landscape.

Final Words

If you’re not receiving the level of service you expected or if you feel your provider is not actively working to solve your issues during a contract period. This can happen, and you have the right to switch when it does.

When it comes to choosing a company to handle your company’s tech needs, trust is key. Partner with Protected Harbor, when our members think of us, they don’t just think of us as an MSP. We are more than that. We will walk you through the process of selecting the best solution for your company’s specific needs. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll have access to our years of experience and you can manage all of your company’s IT tasks, request support, and configure your team’s profile settings.

Together we will identify areas of improvement, outline a road map for change, and put a process in place to track your progress. Contact us for a free IT Audit.

Guide to Managed Service Providers

Guide to Managed Service Providers

 

Guide to Managed Service ProvidersWhat is a managed service provider?

A Managed Service Provider maintains and manages your IT systems, including virus protection and control, day-to-day hardware and software administration, disaster recovery, operational efficiency, and end-user support. MSP can provide the necessary technology to take your company to the next level. They assist your organization in transitioning to the digital age with optimum stability and control, allowing you to scale your business without incurring increased IT costs.

Managed service providers are responsible for

  • Handling the management of IT infrastructure
  • Adding cybersecurity measures to IT
  • Providing technical support to staff
  • Managing user account access
  • Offering risk and compliance management
  • Handling contract management
  • Providing payroll services

How do MSPs work?

Managed service providers are in charge of achieving an organization’s goals. Because there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for every business, MPSs provide a menu of services to satisfy the specific IT requirements of each company. An evaluation is usually conducted to determine the current technical environment, areas that need improvement, and chances to assist enterprises.

A Service Level Agreement governs the delivery of help desk service, monitoring, security training, continuous maintenance, and reporting. It establishes the parameters for what you want or need from your managed service provider. Performance targets, response times, security guarantees, and balancing your needs with your budget are all elements to consider.

What does a managed service provider do?

A managed service provider augments your IT department to maintain, service, and support everything internet-related for your business, from configuring new devices to maintaining connectivity and supporting your infrastructure. On a high level, MSPs:

  • Offer 24/7 remote system monitoring
  • Provide End User Computing Support (desktop PCs, laptops, mobile devices)
  • Support your IT infrastructure, including servers (physical and virtual)
  • Monitor, update and maintain IT systems security
  • Fix network or internet problems
  • Accountable for data security, backups, and data recovery
  • Office 365 setup, hosting, and management
  • Mitigate risks related to data security, and cyberattacks
  • Report a monthly summary of your issues, preventive/restorative steps taken, and advice for future planning.
  • Create a Disaster Recovery Plan as part of your Business Continuity Strategy.

An MSP guarantees that you and your employees have access to the internet, communicate with each other, manage data transfers and maintain one or more websites. An MSP keeps your IT up-to-date, essential to the processes of marketing your products or services, driving sales and support for your customers, and completing all of the back-end administrative tasks related to inventory, data analysis, and more. Partnering with the right MSP means more security, service, productivity, and even more love from your user community.

Guide to Managed Service Providers 2Why Should you hire an MSP?

Traditionally, MSPs gained acceptance as companies tried cutting IT support and maintenance costs. Managing IT for a decent size business will need varying skill sets, in-house technical staff costs, hiring costs, tools/training costs, and other costs for benefits provided to any permanent employees like insurance. An MSP, on the other hand, is cost-effective and efficient.

Plus, their cost is predictable. High-quality Managed IT Service Providers charge a flat monthly rate for proactive monitoring and maintenance of your workstations, servers, and IT infrastructure. Moreover, a proper IT managed service provider aims to minimize IT downtime by preventing issues before they happen.

An IT service provider can also help you determine where you’re wasting money in “Nice-To-Haves or outdated systems” For example, perhaps you’re using an outdated Wi-Fi router, and maybe increasing your network’s bandwidth won’t provide you the expected result. Remember, working with an IT service provider will equip you with the latest trends and tech expertise. You can make well-informed decisions and find ways to cut costs and boost your team’s productivity

Some common signs you should hire a managed service provider.

  • IT cost is skyrocketing
  • Extra support for remote employees
  • Limited IT staff
  • Need help migrating
  • Facing excessive downtime
  • Want to grow strategically
  • Lack of system monitoring
  • Lack of compliance

Finally, with managed services, you’ll never have to worry about falling behind regarding your regulatory or legislative compliance. MSPs keep you updated with compliance laws, regulations, and procedures and thus avoid potential fines.

How much do managed service providers charge?

Prices for managed IT services can vary from company to company, and many factors can influence how much you’ll be invoiced. For example, the more users you have, the more devices (like desktops, laptops, tablets, printers, etc.) and licenses you will have to manage. Your MSP can define the cost model per user by knowing what you want to be addressed. Here are the most common cost models.

  1. Fixed Price or Flat Rate
  2. Per-User
  3. Per Device
  4. Metal Grading or Tiered
  5. Customized

Understanding that the best offering from an MSP will include a service that provides a high level of business availability paired with strategic thinking and advice is vital. And this will be at a cost that is considered less than the cost of downtime and consulting packages. Even better, if your MSP charges you a fixed price, irrespective of downtime episodes or maintenance calls. Many MSPs charge or include X hours per month; if the client goes beyond, they pay extra. Actual MSPs always charge a flat rate.

Final Thoughts

A Managed IT Service delivers outsourced support, maintenance, and monitoring of your critical infrastructure and end-users. They augment you with the right expertise, including proactive device management to minimize future issues and reactive support when needed most. MSP supports your staff wherever using your technology, whether a more significant server or minor user issue. Also, MSPs can facilitate shifts and thrive in the post-COVID world by embracing innovation, flexibility, and agility.

And, like all relationships, you need to review your engagement to critically guarantee value for your money. Modern businesses leverage technology to stay competitive. So, your MSP must remain at the top of their game to keep your technology reliable. And we often hear from businesses working with their current provider for years but are too nervous about finding an alternative partner. Changing providers come with a perception of a complicated process that involves days of IT downtime and business disruption. Surprisingly or not, switching your MSP can be a cakewalk when you find the right partner.

If you are unsure of your MSP, we will audit and discover your potential areas of improvement.

We start every engagement with a discovery process to identify your business goals, risk areas, and technological priorities. We then create a strategic plan mapped to your business goals and provide ongoing monitoring and measurement to track the success of our solution. Protected Harbor’s team of engineers, consultants, and certified technicians work with you to implement the best-fit technology to meet your organizational goals. You benefit from working with one trusted partner who understands your unique organizational goals.

Protected Harbor manages your IT infrastructure from soup to nuts. We’ve covered everything from email to teleconferencing, website hosting, cloud storage, and computer repair. We stay on top of your technological demands daily, keeping the lights on and providing strategic guidance to higher-ups.

Protected Harbor offers customized IT solutions to businesses looking to scale their technology, and we’re on a mission to give you the best customer service possible. To do that, we are constantly innovating to make sure you have the best experience with our products. As one of our customers, you can expect excellent service, quick response times, and an eager team to help. We are not your average MSP. We are engineers, software developers, analysts, designers, and lifelong learners. We offer a tailored approach to managed services that meet each client’s unique needs. Contact us today for a free IT Audit.

Why is Protected Harbor Better?

Why is Protected Harbor Better?

It is better because it was designed to protect a business and their operations from known and unknown new attacks including all forms of; Ransomware, Malware, Phishing, and Viruses.

To help explain I would like you to meet Mr. Wolf.  Mr. Wolf is a new unknown form for Ransomware. (04)

Now I would like you to meet three IT directors (01); Mr Straw, Mr Wood and Mr. Brick.  Mr. Straw, works hard, patching systems here and there (03), but instead of being forward thinking, he runs from machine to machine responding to last week’s crash, problem or end user complaint.  Mr. Straw has no time to install important updates or any other critical maintenance.

One of Mr. Straw’s end users clicks on a friendly email from what they think is a vendor.  Unfortunately it isn’t from the vendor, it is another phishing attack and an invitation to Mr. Wolf and well, you know what happens (06).

Mr Wood (07) is IT Director of a larger company, he buys the latest tools and services, he thinks the more he buys the more his company is protected.  He has specialized tools from many vendors that piecemeal network security and operations and don’t work well together.  The monitoring tool isn’t integrated with the backup, so failed backups go unnoticed.

Unfortunately, one of Mr. Woods end users clicks on a Facebook posting, inviting Mr Wolf (11)  over to see his desktop, and of course you know what happens (09).

Then there is Mr Brick, he is always looking for the best value and an integrated approach (10).  He understands the best technology is where components are designed to work together.  He pays one flat monthly fee for support, monitoring, backup and protection.

When one of Mr. Brick’s users plugs in an infected USB drive everyone in the company is concerned, but not Mr. Brick (12).  Mr. Brick hired Protected Harbor – so he is prepared to handle any technology crisis.

Wouldn’t you like to be safe like Mr. Brick?  Join Protected Harbor today to be safe from the ever growing list of ransomware attacks, viruses, useless subscriptions, phishing attacks and end user problems.

Protected Harbor is better because it is designed to be better – making your business’s IT strong, making your business Protected as in Protected Harbor.

What Is Managed IT Services?

Introduction: What is Managed IT Services?

Managed IT services allow businesses to assign their IT operations to an expert organization that concentrates in handling these duties. Protected Harbor, known as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), We are responsible for the entirety or portions of a business’ IT systems, as agreed upon in a Service Level Agreement (SLA). IT equipment is typically procured by the client, and depending on the SLA, Managed Service Providers may provide round-the-clock monitoring, issue resolution and reporting, and more.
According to the SLA, managed service providers charge a flat fee for delivery of their services over a set period of time. The SLA defines exactly what services will be furnished and the degree they will be offered, as well as metrics for measuring the success of these services.

Cloud computing has allowed managed IT services to expand beyond the regions and borders that would constrain the average break/fix IT through the adoption of Software as a Service (SaaS) technologies, as well as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service(PaaS) also. These capabilities allow managed IT services to scale at a rate dramatically larger and faster than in-house IT operation or break/fix providers.

 

Key Terms & Definitions

Agent— A small program used by MSPs to remotely gather information about the status of machines and devices. Once installed, it allows MSPs to manage systems, update programs, and resolve issues.

Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)— A combination of data backup and disaster recovery solutions that works cohesively to ensure an organization’s critical business functions will continue to operate despite serious incidents or disasters that might otherwise have interrupted them or will be recovered to an operational state within a reasonably short period.

Break/Fix— An older style for delivering IT services and repairs to organizations in a fee-for-service framework. Essentially, a client contacts a break/fix technician to request upgrades, maintenance, or to resolve issues, and the technician bills the customer upon completion of the work.

Fully Managed IT Services Managed IT services that are coupled with a Network Operations Center to proactively monitor systems, resolve issues and perform work with a level of expertise and efficiency unparalleled to other solutions.

Help Desk— A managed IT service offering that provides information and technical support to end-users. Some MSPs white label their Help Desk services for the client SMB.

Information Technology (IT)— An enterprise solution for storing, transmitting, creating, and using data through computing devices, networks and telecommunications.

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)— An MSP offering to SMBs; virtualized hardware over a cloud computing environment such as server space, network connections, IP addresses, load balancers, and other computer infrastructure with which clients can build their own platforms.

Internet of Things— The emergent network of tangible objects and products that contain software, sensors, and connectivity to the Internet and/or private networks and can exchange information based on standards set forth by the International Telecommunication Union’s Global Standards Initiative.

In-House— The process where an organization hires its own IT service providers and pays their salary, benefits, further training, and the infrastructure they oversee. This is typically an extremely costly endeavor, and often businesses that try to procure in-house IT lack the capabilities to fully service their system and an inability to grow.

IT Channel— An industry-exclusive marketplace where VARs, MSPs, and OEMs provide platforms, products and services to end-users by partnering with hardware and software vendors.

Labor Arbitrage— the phenomenon of decreasing end costs by utilizing the abundant labor forces, education, and training of untapped global workforces.

Managed IT Services— IT tasks and processes that are fulfilled by a third-party organization.

Managed Services Provider (MSP)— An IT professional (or IT organization) that offers managed IT services.

Mobile Device Management (MDM)— A security platform used to monitor, manage, and secure employees’ mobile devices (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.) that are deployed across multiple mobile service providers and across multiple mobile operating systems being used in an organization.

Platform as a Service (PaaS)— A virtualized platform within a cloud environment that allows end-users to develop and manage Internet applications that would otherwise require a complex infrastructure to launch apps.

Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM)— a platform utilizing a collection of services and tools that can monitor, manage, and deploy solutions to servers and endpoint devices utilizing agent software installed on endpoint systems.

A service-level agreement (SLA)— Essentially, a contract between a vendor and a client that specifies what the vendor will furnish the timeframe in which it will be furnished and the criteria for measuring vendor success.

Small and Medium-Sized Business (SMB)— On average, business or organization that has 100 or fewer employees is considered small; 100-999 employees are medium-sized. IT channel partners often seek SMB organizations as clients.

Software as a Service (SaaS)— Sometimes referred to as “software on demand,” SaaS is a licensing and distribution model that utilizes a subscription basis for access to software that is centrally hosted by its provider and accessed by end-users via a client.

Value-Added Reseller (VAR)— An organization that adds services or features to a product, then resells it as a new product or solution.

 

History of Managed IT Services

At the outset of enterprise computing, information technology services and management was on a break/fix basis, meaning that computer systems were only managed by an expert when they did not work, necessitating a technician to fix it. This technician may also have been the person who built and/or installed the computer system, due to the proliferation of small IT shops that specialized in these small-scale client services at the time.

However, as time progressed computer manufacturing grew to a large scale, leaving the small IT dealer to focus less on manufacturing and more on break/fix. This system was time-consuming, labor-intensive, costly and reactive. It did not allow the technician room to grow their business or take on new clients without massive investments in labor and infrastructure.

As computing devices increased yearly, the divide between break/fix technicians and the number of computers they could reasonably service under the break/fix model grew wider and wider. Managed IT services emerged in the early years of the millennium to meet this need, shifting far from the break/fix model.

Managed IT services heralded a proactive approach to IT, attempting to conduct maintenance, upgrades, system monitoring, and issue resolution on a routine basis, with the goal of preventing problems before they started. Automation increased Internet capabilities, and cloud computing allowed for monitoring and issue resolution to be provided remotely, enabling more efficient processes and a consolidation of resources.

Efficiency, consolidated resources, and client satisfaction, coupled with fixed rates, the ability to offer greater service offerings, and take on a larger clientele led to managed IT services becoming the industry-standard approach to managing computer systems large and small for SMBs.

 

The Managed IT Services Model

MSPs utilize a broad range of IT expertise to resolve issues efficiently. Unlike break/fix providers, MSPs can employ the latest processes and software to proactively monitor endpoints, keeping systems up-to-date, and preventing issues before they arise. Managed IT services are also available 24x7x365, allowing end-users to take nights and weekends off while the MSPs do the heavy lifting on tasks and processes done after hours.

MSP services are typically offered at a flat recurring rate in tiered levels, offering a greater level of automation and a higher degree of management at higher levels based on the specified service level agreement. End users only pay for the services they require and can increase or decrease their tier based on business needs and demand.

As with other necessary business functions like utilities, the end-user pays for services provided offsite, such as remote monitoring and management, help desk solutions, backup and disaster recovery, and more. Managed IT services thus become essential operating expenses to maintain core functionality, rather than additional expenses applied during exceptional issue resolutions with break/fix models. MSPs enable their end-users to run their businesses more smoothly and more efficiently than they would otherwise. Additionally, they offer SaaS-based solutions at a price that can’t be achieved with in-house options.

However, managed IT services do not necessarily make the enterprise IT professional obsolete; for the end-user, an IT professional can act as an endpoint liaison that manages the relationship, provides feedback, and analyzes the reports provided by the MSP. Because the majority of routine work is being completed by the MSP, the IT professional is capable of greater efficiency and has the flexibility to tackle larger, more complex projects they would otherwise not have the time or capacity to take on.

 

Benefits of Managed IT Services

Through outsourcing managed IT services, SMBs are able to reap the benefits of receiving IT support at a significantly reduced cost in comparison to creating a comparable team in-house. Additionally, MSPs can also offer a wealth of experience from actively managing multiple client accounts that in-house teams would not collectively have.

Additionally, by using an MSP organizations are able to forecast their monthly, quarterly, and yearly expenditure on IT, and are freed from having to focus on this area of operational readiness. This allows SMBs to focus on growing their business without worrying about day-to-day IT issues or requirements.

Another benefit to managed IT services is a greater opportunity for security expertise and successfully enacted security policies. MSPs work with standards such as PCI compliance day in, day out, and should be able to steer your organization within the parameters and regulations it needs to adhere to. For some organizations, especially in finance, healthcare, educations, and other industries, this type of regulatory compliance is mandatory for the IT portion of their business, and requires the expertise and experience that a managed service provider can offer. MSPs can mitigate risk in this way while assuring that the experts in charge of your IT operations are always up to date on the latest information, technologies, and processes that will keep your infrastructure working efficiently and successfully into the future.

Source : https://www.continuum.net/resources/mspedia/managed-it-services-overview