Companies and organizations of all sizes today rely on multiple technologies, computing equipment, and an online presence, including those that don’t conduct much business through the Internet. Every business, big and small, needs IT services to ensure the continuity and safety of its operations.
However, not all companies have the resources and personnel to build a complete in-house IT team. A third-party IT service provider can provide your organization with the help and services to meet your business’s technological needs.
What is an IT Service Provider?
An Information Technology (IT) service provider is an organization specialized in answering the technological needs of another person or business and providing various IT solutions.
An IT service provider may also refer to itself as a Managed Services Provider (MSP) because part of its products and services involves installing and managing a company’s IT infrastructure, equipment, and software on its behalf.
Fully-managed vs. Co-managed IT Services
Depending on the business model, IT service providers may offer fully-managed or co-managed IT services. Although the essential services provided do not change between the two models, the primary difference is the company’s level of control over its IT needs and equipment.
Under a fully-managed service model, an IT service provider takes care of every aspect of their client company’s IT needs, from infrastructure to network security, including helpdesk solutions and day-to-day management. This solution allows a company to outsource 100% of its IT capabilities, from installations to upgrades and troubleshooting, focusing exclusively on its business goals.
A company choosing a co-managed service model only partially outsources its IT infrastructure and capabilities while retaining control of select other aspects. For instance, a co-managed IT service company can oversee daily IT support for a business that retains an in-house IT team for specialized tasks or high-level projects.
Common Services Offered by an IT Service Provider
The core of an IT service provider’s business is to support a client company’s technological needs. IT service providers offer more than just tech support and troubleshooting; they can also assist companies with choosing the best hardware and infrastructure for their needs.
Hardware as a Service (HaaS)
Choosing the right hardware is crucial to ensure the proper function of your needed software. However, the computing and networking industries release new products regularly, and finding, installing, and configuring hardware that provides the performance and the long-term suitability you need can be challenging.
IT service providers are experts that remain on top of the latest news and developments in computer hardware. They can provide you with Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) solutions, letting the provider handle hardware, peripheral, cabling, and accessory selection.
HaaS solutions are flexible and feature pay-as-you-go pricing, allowing you to purchase exactly as much processing power as you need, letting you upscale or downscale whenever necessary.
Besides selecting the right equipment, an IT service provider can also install and configure your equipment for you, including all necessary drivers, support programs, and other ancillary software until they are ready to be used.
Under the HaaS model, you also don’t need to maintain or update the hardware. Your provider will handle all aspects of hardware maintenance, freeing your internal IT resources and personnel for core tasks.
Even if your business already has computing equipment, building and setting up a functional and powerful business network is a time-consuming task requiring many specific skills.
An IT service provider has the expertise to build, maintain, and scale your company’s network up or down as needed for your operations. Business networking is more than just ensuring every machine is connected to the Internet; it is also about designing and implementing valuable internal networking tools.
Examples include business-level area networks such as Local Area Networks, Wide Area Networks, Network Operations Centers (NOCs), routers, switches, and network cabling arrays.
Cloud Solutions and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Critical business software and assets today rely on cloud computing solutions delivered through the Software-as-a-Service model (SaaS).
Once a bleeding-edge technology, the cloud has become a standard that has transformed businesses in many industries by reducing the need to maintain on-premises servers and significantly decreasing operating costs.
SaaS solutions eliminate the need to install and configure software locally, allowing you to use the programs and services directly from the cloud.
Whether your business needs to migrate to the cloud or set up new accounts, an IT services provider can help you. Cloud-based SaaS solutions range from remote productivity tools such as Microsoft 365 to comprehensive cloud-based data storage services.
Besides providing a convenient way to back up data, cloud storage is essential to most companies’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans. These solutions ensure your critical data is backed up and saved on remote servers, allowing you to resume operations as quickly as possible, even after a disaster event such as a natural or cyber attack.
Cyber attacks target businesses of all sizes and industries, whether you operate a small tech startup or a large financial services company. Consequently, protecting your systems against data breaches and cyber threats is critical.
However, cybersecurity is a specialized domain requiring the attention and expertise of trained personnel. The more limited a company’s in-house IT resources, the less likely it’ll have enough staff to meet its cybersecurity needs.
An IT services provider can meet these demands by designing a company-wide risk assessment and data security plan, then implementing and configuring data security software and measures.
IT services providers can also provide cybersecurity training and awareness to your employees to promote a security-first company culture and minimize the risk of a cyber attack or an intrusion from the inside. For example, they can teach your staff to recognize fake websites and phishing email scams.
Technical incidents can happen anytime and can take on any shape, from day-to-day issues to major equipment failures. Whether you go for a fully-managed IT service plan or a co-managed one, one of the most critical services an IT provider can offer is a 24/7 helpdesk and troubleshooting services.
IT service providers can assist their client companies in many ways. Most of the problems they handle can be solved with remote access solutions, allowing technicians and qualified individuals to reach your company’s machines, find issues, and fix them without sending personnel to your premises.
For any faults and incidents technicians cannot resolve remotely, such as hardware failures or significant connectivity issues, IT service providers may send personnel to your company’s premises. The on-premises support staff will inspect your equipment and perform repairs or replacements as needed.
3 Benefits of Partnering with an IT Service Provider
Having a reliable IT service provider at your disposal can bring your business many significant benefits. Here are the top three reasons you should consider partnering with an IT service provider.
Reducing Operating Costs
Reducing your IT-related operating costs is one of the biggest advantages of entrusting your technological needs to an IT service provider. They handle hardware upgrades and maintenance for you and can reduce or eliminate the need to hire and train in-house IT staff.
Additionally, most IT service providers charge a fixed monthly or quarterly fee, ensuring your technological expenses are predictable and easier to control.
An IT service provider can help when you scale your business’s technology with your current business objectives. Whether you need to scale up, down, or branch out into different activities, your IT provider ensures you always have access to the right tools and technological resources.
This benefit lets your team focus on their core tasks and avoid struggling with poorly adapted solutions.
24/7 Availability Prevents Costly Downtime
In-house IT teams are part of your workforce and may only be available during operating hours. Specific members may also be unavailable for various reasons, meaning you don’t benefit from their particular skill set and knowledge of your systems.
Consequently, poorly-timed absences can result in extended system downtime periods, which have catastrophic consequences for your business operations.
Quality IT service providers should offer 24/7 help and troubleshooting, whether through remote access or on-premises interventions, ensuring you can receive assistance if an issue threatens your company’s systems and networks anytime you need it.
Partner with a Trusted IT Service Provider in Detroit
NTM has offered comprehensive IT solutions to numerous clients since 1997. Our SafeSecure managed IT service plan is available as a fully-managed or co-managed service, ensuring you always have access to a reliable, secure, and up-to-date network with precisely the level of control that best suits your business needs.
Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more about how an IT service provider can benefit your business.
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