IT Support: Managed Services Suite of Services

As an IT support method for business, managed services is the best choice for most companies searching for IT Support. But “managed services” is a general term, and it’s important to understand the spectrum of services that could (and should) be available under that name. Here are 4 services you should expect from your MSP when they say they offer managed services.

Monitor, Manage, Maintain your IT Support

This is a basic tenet of managed services – network components are proactively monitored, managed and maintained by the Managed Service Provider (MSP). This is the NetCentralheart of the service and represents a departure from the prior, reactive “break-fix” paradigm for IT support.

System and Image Backup

This should be part of every MPS’s suite of managed service offerings. Backing up data and images, and managing that process are vital for maximizing uptime, disaster recovery, and often, regulatory compliance.

Vendor Management

It’s not unusual for a company’s technology (products and services) to come from a variety of vendors, and this can pose a challenge when trying to keep everything working together. An MSP can step in and provide advice for optimizing the interoperability, and act as a technical liaison when support from one or more vendors is needed to address an issue.

Virtual CIO – Strategic Planning

One of the greatest potential benefits manages services can bring to a business is strategic advice. Bringing technology into your business planning helps ensure your vital technology is kept up to date and that improvements are made in an orderly fashion, based upon your needs and your budget.

All of these things together provide benefits that are miles beyond reactive IT support. If your MSP isn’t offering all these things, it’s time to consider a change. Clare Computer Solutions has been providing this level of proactive support of business for over a decade with their NetCentral managed services. Contact us today to get started.

For more information on how Clare Computer Solutions can help your company with building a strategic plan, feel free to contact us.

Managed Services Can Help With Compliance

There are a number of industries that require businesses to have certifications or proof of compliance to operate within the industry. They vary from industry to industry, and some certifications are harder to achieve than others.

Healthcare firms are subject to the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), for example. Other companies are encouraged (if not required) to conform to the Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. Manufacturers often pursue specific ISO (International Standards Organization) certifications.compliance

How To Achieve Compliance

What all these certifications have in common is a reliance on a defined, repeatable and accountable set of procedures. Businesses whose operations have established, documented procedures as part of the corporate culture will have an easier time achieving and maintaining compliance with these industry standards.

Technology can provide ways for businesses to maintain standards for data protection, fault tolerance, and documentation.

Data Security

Protecting sensitive data from hackers and other cyber criminals is of paramount importance, and the technology tools that are used for defense against attacks must be implemented properly, and maintained in order to remain effective. A company with a properly managed IT infrastructure will be able to demonstrate what controls they have in place and how they are kept up-to-date with compliance and codes.

Data Integrity

Protecting data from security breaches is very important, but so is tracking who is accessing data and when changes and/or updates are occurring. In the case of archived data, it is important to be able to prove the data has not changed since it was archived. Technological tools can provide forensic evidence of any changes to archived documents.

Disaster Recovery / Business Continuity

Most modern businesses back their data up, and ideally, to more than one location. Businesses should be able to show they have a plan in place for rapid recovery from a disaster that affects their IT infrastructure. They should be able to provide information to certify that the data centers that store their data offsite are properly certified – and meet their own industry’s certification requirements, too.

When an IT infrastructure is professionally managed, monitored and maintained through a Managed Services program, the processes involved are documented, consistent, tracked and reportable – all of which help your company maintain the certifications and requirements your industry recommends or requires.

Clare Computer Solutions has helped hundreds of companies take control of their technology and leverage that technology to help grow their businesses. We can help your business, too! Contact us today to get started

Strategic IT Planning Allows Patching & Updates

A network consisting of components purchased over the course of several years? With strategic IT planning, your company is able to maximize the value it gets from its technology.

Strategic IT Planning

The downside of the speed at which technology changes is how rapidly it becomes obsolete.

In a business IT infrastructure, this rapid obsolescence can be damaging. A company does not want to find out their servers are not compatible with the latest version of their line-of-business application, for example, or discover that an office is full of PCs with an operating system no longer supported by the manufacturer.

Document IT Assets

Networks tend to grow in increments over the years, depending on need, and many companies simply don’t know what they have. The first order of business is to inventory the network –hardware and software. There are tools you can use to do this, but everything should be documented in detail. This process may also uncover any unlicensed software in use – something you want to stay ahead of.

Assign End-of-Life Dates

Sometimes, the network “discovery” tool can also find out when each device was put into service and from there, it’s relatively simple to make some determinations on when to consider assets are at their “end of life”.  Servers will tend to have a longer life than PCs – 6 or 7 years in some cases. Operating systems and productivity suites usually have well-publicized scheduled for the end of their support.  PCs are considered “old” when they get past 4 years – at that point, repairs on them might cost more than the machine is worth.

Make an IT Budget

With a good list of network assets and their expected lifespans, it’s possible to build orderly company-wide technology refreshes into the company’s IT budget. This will provide several important benefits:

  •  Cash flow is predictable
  • Downtime is reduced
  • Network technology is always up-to-date

Sometimes, it can be hard to make the time or allocate the expertise to do these three steps. Businesses know they should do it, but find it hard to make this part of their normal business process. This is where a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can help, and the cost of the service is more than offset by the benefits listed above.

Clare Computer Solutions has years of experience helping companies keep their technology up-to-date and running smoothly. Contact us today to get started.