To maintain a competitive edge in today’s digital economy, every business or organisation must be able to fulfil its business IT needs.
For large enterprises, this usually means investing heavily in staffing and equipping an in-house IT team or department, which would be responsible for meeting all the IT needs of the enterprise.
However, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) might not have the necessary resources to hire and train enough IT personnel to build a full-staffed in-house IT function.
This means that SMEs like yours would need an alternative way to acquire IT capabilities to meet your business IT needs without busting your IT budget.
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Usually, that means turning to managed IT services provided by third-party managed service providers.
Many of these services involve the managed service provider handling a wide range of network and infrastructure management duties. However, some services focus on improving the cybersecurity infrastructure of your business or providing IT support services upon demand.
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AFON IT has put together several examples of managed IT services that managed service providers can offer to SMEs like yours, along with real-life case studies of customers who have benefited from our managed IT services.
With this guide as a reference, we hope you'll get a better idea of the many types of managed IT services available to help you plug any gaps in the in-house IT capabilities of your company.
If your business is an SME with a limited budget for deploying the IT infrastructure needed to support your processes, outsourcing IT services to a managed service provider could prove to be an affordable option.
In addition, if your in-house IT team is limited and has gaps in the core capabilities necessary to support business IT needs, such as cybersecurity, VoIP and backup and recovery, a managed service provider can provide the expertise required to fill these gaps.
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However, there are various managed IT services, each catering to all sorts of business IT needs.
This means that not all managed service providers can provide every kind of managed IT service, and some may specialise in a limited set of offerings.
Nevertheless, we hope this resource will inform you about the various types of managed IT services available on the market.
Through this, we hope it'll help you identify which managed IT services you should engage in fulfilling the outstanding IT needs of your SME.
Before you can start your business operations, you'll need to have the IT infrastructure necessary to support your processes deployed within your office premises as soon as possible.
However, your SME might not have the core capabilities needed for setting up said IT infrastructure in the first place.
In these cases, outsourcing the managed on-site infrastructure setup service from a third-party managed service provider is an option you can consider.
With an on-site infrastructure setup service, a managed service provider will dispatch a team to your company’s premises and set up the IT software and hardware necessary to facilitate your business operations.
These include local area networks (LAN), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), and other types of connections that are fundamental to the business processes of a modern organisation.
As an example, a trading company needed a means of centralising its document management on a single platform to support its business processes.
AFON IT helped this customer resolve its need for a solution by implementing SharePoint, a collaborative platform from Microsoft that centralised the shared documents in a secure yet accessible manner.
With an on-site infrastructure setup service, IT infrastructure deployment in your office premises would go smoothly and quickly, enabling your SME to commence business operations as soon as possible.
Opting for a cloud-based IT infrastructure over an on-premises equivalent could be an excellent choice for your SME, as you can save on high initial capital expenditures (CAPEX).
To access them, outsourcing the managed cloud infrastructure services of a third-party managed service provider is necessary.
This involves them taking responsibility for your cloud-based computing, data storage, network and IT assets.
By engaging managed cloud infrastructure services with a managed service provider, you can leave the task of managing and maintaining your cloud assets to professionals with relevant expertise in cloud computing.
Your in-house IT team wouldn't have to spend resources and time learning to deploy and manage cloud infrastructure. This frees them to focus on the core value proposition of your SME.
Some managed service providers may also offer other managed cloud infrastructure services. These include virtualisation for apps, software, operating systems etc.
Engaging managed cloud infrastructure services from a managed service provider is also a quick way to enable remote working capabilities for your SME.
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For example, a rapidly growing software development company with work-from-home (WFH) arrangements for their entire workforce required all employees to use company-issued laptops for their work.
This meant they needed a way to automatically enrol and deploy company-issued laptops to their employees, with centralised control of the business applications installed on them.
AFON IT assisted the software development company in achieving this by deploying Microsoft InTune - a cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM) solution.
With InTune, the client had the cloud-based IT infrastructure necessary to deliver company-issued laptops directly to the residences of their employees, with authorised applications, disk encryption, and data access policies automatically installed.
Microsoft Azure is one of the current most popular cloud platforms for businesses in Singapore. To learn more about what it is and how implementing it can benefit your business, click the image below.
Certain third-party managed service providers may be vendors and/or resellers for business software platforms on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.
This means you'd only need to pay a monthly or annual subscription fee to the managed service provider and get access to the business software you need for your business operations.
Such business software can include productivity suites such as Microsoft Office 365, collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, or ERP software such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.
For example, a manufacturer suffered disruptions to its workflow and internal teamwork due to the COVID-19 pandemic and needed a solution to improve collaboration within its workforce.
AFON IT resolved the workflow disruption issue by implementing the Microsoft Teams SaaS collaboration platform for this customer, which provides teleconferencing, chat and other collaboration tools it needs to maintain business continuity.
With a managed SaaS service, the managed service provider would ensure that all updates, security patches and upgrades are remotely downloaded and installed once they become available.
This ensures that you'll always get the most up-to-date version of any SaaS product you're subscribing to without having to dedicate any resources or personnel from your in-house IT team to keep it updated.
Knowing that your SaaS systems are guaranteed to be secure, up to date and performing optimally also gives you peace of mind. This is important for a business and ensures you can dedicate your SME's resources wholly towards value generation.
To find out more about how a managed SaaS product such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 for your business can boost your overall productivity, click the image below to download our resource.
Businesses and organisations of all sizes today are keenly aware of the dangers of cybersecurity threats to their IT infrastructure. Thus, managed security is one of the most popular services managed service providers offer.
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Outsourcing your SME’s IT security needs to a managed service provider can be a more cost-efficient option than investing in building security capabilities in-house. This is especially so since you can direct your resources towards innovation and business growth instead.
Managed security services involve the third-party managed service provider identifying vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure and creating a plan for addressing them with a range of security management and risk prevention services.
Managed service providers can also offer security awareness training as part of their managed data security services to equip your workforce with the knowledge they need to protect themselves from external cybersecurity threats.
For example, after a trading company lost half a million to scammers through an email address spoofing scheme, they engaged AFON IT to provide security awareness training to their employees on preventing a future occurrence.
AFON IT further assisted this customer in strengthening their email security by implementing threshold limits and providing email monitoring and support services.
Other managed data security services that IT managed service providers may offer include:
In the worst-case scenarios, having backups of your critical business data is crucial for ensuring that your SME can recover from hardware failures or compromised systems.
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Yet, ensuring regular backups of your data can take a significant amount of time and attention from your in-house IT function.
To ensure that your SME has the security of regular data backups without diverting too many resources or personnel, you can consider outsourcing managed backup and recovery services from a third-party managed service provider.
These services include scheduled automatic backups and audits to ensure proper data storage.
Managed service providers who offer managed backup and recovery services typically have dedicated personnel who bring specialised expertise in backup and recovery techniques to the table.
With these experts managing your backup and recovery procedures, you can be assured that your critical business data will be safe.
And in worst-case scenarios such as systems failure or natural disasters, such managed backup and recovery services will ensure that your company can return to normal business operations in a timely manner.
For instance, a business in the oil & gas industry suffered a ransomware attack which caused significant damage to its network and infrastructure.
This was partially because the business had no protections for its servers and workstations and no firewalls for its network. On top of that, their on-site backup had also been compromised by the attack.
To protect itself against a future attack, the oil & gas company engaged AFON IT to beef up its network security and provide robust, managed backup and recovery services.
AFON IT implemented an off-site backup to safeguard the critical business data of the customer, on top of other services. This improved the security of the company’s IT infrastructure as a whole.
During normal business operations, your employees will inevitably face issues with the software or hardware they use daily.
While resolving these issues is part of the duties of an in-house IT function, outsourcing managed IT support services from a third-party managed service provider to cover this business need is another option.
With managed IT support services, your employees can call a remote help centre operated by the managed service provider for assistance with any IT issue they may encounter.
It also means that your company won’t incur the higher costs of maintaining an in-house IT function simply to provide IT support. It also frees your existing IT team to support the growth strategy of your SME instead of burdening them with IT support tasks.
As you've seen from our overview of managed IT services available today, there is no business IT needs that a third-party managed service provider can't fulfil.
Whether you're trying to reduce your IT-related costs or free your in-house team to support your core business, engaging a managed service provider for its managed IT services is a viable option.
We hope that you've found this overview of managed IT services useful. If you're keen on outsourcing your IT needs, do consider the services of our certified IT professionals.
At AFON IT, we invest heavily in keeping our IT expertise and knowledge up to date with current industry best practices. We would be happy to schedule a free consultation with you today.
Get in touch with us, and let us show you what we can do to help your company get the most out of your IT assets!