Managed services. IT managed services. Managed IT services. The cloud. Cloud services. Managed network services.
As usual, the IT industry is awash in TLAs (three letter acronyms) to describe outsourcing various IT functions to a third party to supplement (or even replace -- though that’s not our goal) a company’s internal IT staff.
We’ve explained our approach to IT managed services before, read IT Managed Services: How Does It Help Your Business here.
This blog is focused on a piece of overall managed IT -- managed network services (MNS).
Techopedia explains managed networks:
A managed network allows an organization to source the infrastructure, software and technical support services essential to operate and manage an IP-based communication network. Managed networks may provide hardware infrastructure resources such as servers, routers and switches, as well as operating system and firewall software to run and secure the backend infrastructure and the data stored over it. The whole system is entirely monitored and maintained by the service provider.
Managed networks may include solutions and services such as managed LAN, managed WAN, a managed gateway, managed wireless networks and other automated network support services.
In a nutshell, you hire a third-party expert to maintain your network and its security.
This short video explains Coordinated’s MNS.
Why Outsource Your Network
A stable, secure network is a necessity for business, but not a competitive advantage. It’s a commodity service that you can outsource to a fully-staffed team of experts. With the day-to-day grind of managing your network removed from your IT team’s plate, they can focus on strategic initiatives to improve your business.
As the economy approaches full employment and IT staff are harder and harder to find (especially cybersecurity professionals, where there is a huge shortage of qualified candidates for positions), it makes sense to outsource a function that is time-consuming to manage and can be done -- often for less money -- by a third party.
When your network goes down, your business stops. If your business phones are voice over IP, you can’t use the phones in your office. You can’t talk to customers. Customers can’t access your website to order, ask for service, email you, or transact any business with you. Security threats are a 24x7 issue. Do you have staff that can monitor your networks availability and security status 24x7? Can they proactively address issues as they arise? An MNS partner can.
Managed Network Services -- What You Get
To reiterate what MNS is, a third-party manages your network and its security. That includes the following services.
Around-the-Clock Monitoring. Regardless of how dedicated your IT staff is, they have to
sleep, they get sick, and even take vacation. An MNS partner has a fully-staffed network operations center that monitors your network 24x7.
Proactive Response. Your network operates 24x7. If there’s an alert at 3 a.m., your MNS partner will be there to respond. Additionally, it’s hard for internal IT teams to keep track of updates and security patch alerts. Your MNS partner responds to upgrade and notification alerts so you don’t have to -- operating systems and anti-virus patches are kept up-to-date.
Help Desk Services. Instead of distracting your internal IT with constant requests, an IT help desk is available to contact to for connectivity issues and other common user issues. Levels of service for outside of normal business hours are available and issues are addressed according to their severity. Learn more about the value of an IT help desk here.
On-Site Repair. Rather than a break/fix model of repairing network issues, maintenance and repair is included in your MNS contract. No more budget-busting for unanticipated repair or upgrade needs.
Technology Roadmap. Many MNS partners offer the services of a “virtual” CIO to help with your IT strategy beyond your network. You aren’t an IT expert and can’t keep up with constantly evolving IT best practices. That’s the job of a vCIO. They can match your IT infrastructure needs to your business as it grows so that your IT supports business growth rather than hinders it.
Do you know how well your current network is constructed? Is it secure? A managed network engagement begins with an assessment of the current state of your network. If your IT staff is overwhelmed and you’re concerned about the security of your network, bring in an outside expert (like Coordinated) to establish a baseline of your current network and spot any inefficiencies and/or security threats.