Virtually any kind of technology can be delivered as a managed service. At a high level, companies have a few different choices in how they manage their technology.
First, they can manage it exclusively in-house with their own employees. The “do it yourself” approach works for many organizations.
The second option is to hire a managed service provider (MSP) to outsource all technology services and management. This approach is ideal for companies that want to focus on their core competencies and avoid the cost and complexity of building their own IT department.
Co-managed IT strikes a balance between these two approaches. In this approach, a company can build its own internal IT function, while outsourcing select services to third-party service providers.
In this sort of service relationship, the provider manages select infrastructure or service functions, while working collaboratively with internal IT resources.
There are many different types of IT managed services. These different services can be combined into an overall managed services bundle and delivered as a 100% outsourced solution.
Additionally, a wide range of managed services offerings can be mixed, matched and delivered as co-managed IT services.
In this blog, we’ll explore five different types of managed services in IT, which can either be delivered in a comprehensive bundle or as a co-managed service offering.
The Five Different Types of Managed IT Services
1. Network Security
Network security is one of the core elements of a company’s cybersecurity strategy. It is infrastructure intensive and involves an organization’s firewalls, routers, switches, Wi-Fi networks, and other network infrastructure components.
Companies often need to manage networks in HQ and office locations, company-owned data centers, and various cloud environments, and in employee home offices and other remote locations.
Network security is a core element of any fully managed MSP relationship and can also be outsourced as a co-managed IT service. Many larger organizations will outsource the day-to-day management of select aspects of their network infrastructure, such as firewalls, retail and Wi-Fi networks, or teleworker deployments.
At NENS, we recommend Cisco Meraki solutions for secure networking.
We leverage Meraki at every point in the network, from firewalls and routing, to switching and Wi-Fi. Meraki scales from our largest client environments all the way down to the smallest home office network. And with Meraki, we get a global view of our client networks, enabling 24/7 monitoring and network uptime.
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2. Backup and Disaster Recovery
Backup and disaster recovery are key elements of a company’s business continuity strategy.
Whether a company is large or small, it must have a strategy to keep operations running. This holds true for small, everyday disasters or major, site-wide disasters such as fires, floods, power outages, natural disasters, or major cybersecurity incidents.
Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services can be deployed as a co-managed service. Organizations with their own IT department will often outsource day-to-day monitoring and management of backup and disaster recovery services as they require constant monitoring and periodic testing.
The last thing anyone wants when disaster strikes is to discover faulty backups. Therefore, it pays dividends to regularly monitor the health of backups and to periodically do complete tests of backup and recovery processes. Leveraging a specialized BDR service provider is a good option for many organizations.
BDR forms a core element of most MSP relationships. An MSP will ensure their client’s data is backed up and that critical infrastructure, such as servers and critical workstations, can be quickly recovered in the case of hardware failures, cybersecurity incidents, or other disasters.
MSPs will commonly leverage image-based backup technology to create snapshots of production servers, back them up on-site to redundant appliances for rapid recovery, and back up the data to a cloud environment for cloud-based recovery.
In addition, MSPs will often provide extra backup solutions for endpoints and cloud or SaaS-based data. “Protect everything” is really one of the core mantras for MSPs.
3. Cloud Services
Cloud services are another key element in most managed service offerings. Over the past two decades, an increasing amount of technology infrastructure has migrated from on-premises company locations to cloud environments.
While companies can build private cloud computing environments, the biggest growth in cloud services has come from “public cloud” or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or Google Cloud.
Suffice to say, managing workloads and services in the major cloud providers like AWS or Azure is anything but easy.
First, it is very easy for inexperienced organizations to rack up big bills for cloud services if your team doesn’t know what they are doing.
Next, running workloads in the IaaS environments requires many of the same server management skills needed for running traditional on-premises deployments, along with the specialized expertise required for cloud environments.
Moreover, cybersecurity should be a big concern for cloud deployments. Organizations need to safeguard public cloud environments with the same cybersecurity best practices in use for on-premises deployments.
For these reasons, MSPs are at the forefront of helping SMBs migrate from on-premises to the public cloud.
MSPs will generally bundle cloud management services into the overall managed services offering, while layering on top many of the same cybersecurity, backup, and disaster recovery services honed from the on-premises world.
Again, certain managed IT services providers have developed specialized expertise in managing cloud services and may provide larger organizations with specialized consulting and services tailored to deployments on AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud.
4. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
SaaS applications are another form of cloud service. SaaS applications are unique because the consumption model is vastly easier than running cloud services in AWS or Azure.
With SaaS, a department head or company leader often just needs a browser and a credit card to get started using a new software application. Ease of use and adoption has really propelled the SaaS revolution.
The ease of use of SaaS applications is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, companies both big and small now use a wide range of software tools to run their businesses. However, while SaaS applications are easy to use, there are still lots of issues around application integration, cybersecurity, backup, and business continuity.
SaaS applications often contain client or patient information, company intellectual property, and other sensitive data. For the same reason SaaS applications are easy to use, they are especially vulnerable to hacking, data breaches, and data theft.
As a result, MSPs have a special role to play in helping companies secure their SaaS applications. MSPs excel at deploying identity and access management solutions that improve the cybersecurity posture for clients while making SaaS apps easier to use for employees.
MSPs will implement multi-factor authentication (MFA), mitigating the problems around employee credential theft or password re-use by employees.
In addition, MSPs also are experts in enterprise single sign-on (SSO), which can be layered on top of a company’s SaaS application stack. SSO gives employees a simplified way to access all of their apps with a single, MFA-enhanced login experience at the start of their workday.
Reliable Managed Services Offerings for Businesses of All Sizes
Partner with NENS and benefit from different types of IT managed services.
5. Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are a key part of managed services today. With smartphones at nearly 100% penetration in the workplace, mobile devices – primarily smartphones but also tablets – are central to employee productivity on the job.
As most companies and their employees leverage a bring your own device (BYOD) approach, mobile devices, even when employee-owned, invariably contain critical company information, such as corporate email, customer data, and even intellectual property.
Smartphones are critical for security functions, such as MFA and SSO. Not surprisingly, smartphones can be easily lost or stolen, compromising corporate security.
For these reasons, companies can’t let mobile devices become their weakest link. Savvy MSPs offer their clients mobile device management (MDM) solutions. These services allow for the secure provisioning of corporate email and applications, along with remote wipe or selective remote wipe when devices become lost or stolen.
For some organizations with even higher security requirements, MDM technology can be leveraged for more advanced mobile device control and monitoring. And in some cases, companies will only allow corporate apps on company-owned mobile devices.
Benefit From Various Types of Managed IT Services When You Partner With NENS
NENS offers several different types of managed services for businesses of all sizes. We also tailor our managed service offerings to suit the unique needs of your business while providing a consistent level of service.
While some organizations choose to outsource all of their IT needs to NENS, other clients turn to us for specialized consulting and co-managed services for certain critical functions.
For more information about the types of IT managed services we provide, please contact us today to schedule a meeting.