With the increase of cloud adoption and small internet businesses recently, many IT professionals and consultants started calling themselves “managed service providers” and began providing what is now called “managed services” to companies of all sizes. Many business owners and IT managers have found themselves asking, “What are managed services?”

As one of those managed services providers, we want to provide context to the term, as well as our own definition. So, what are managed services and how can they help your business? Read on.

What are Managed Services?

If you do a Google search for “managed services providers,” many different offerings and companies come up in search results. There’s not really a single definition that answers the search, “what are managed services,” because the term can mean different things to different people.

However, at their core, managed services cover the maintenance and support of your technology for a set monthly fee. This technology could be operating systems, applications, cloud environments, servers, networking, etc. It really is up to the managed services provider to decide what type of IT-related services they’re offering and provide an agreement to clients with those outlined.

Often, managed service providers:

  • Monitor the health of your environment or infrastructure and alert you if something goes wrong
  • Patch, fix, and update operating systems, applications, websites, etc.
  • Provide preventative maintenance like vulnerability assessments, penetration testing, and other security measures
  • Work remotely and are available either during set hours or around the clock

In summary to the question, “what are managed services,” managed services are essentially outsourcing your IT needs on a subscription basis that is an alternative to the break-fix model or per-incident support where the provider performs services at an hourly rate for the work done.

What are the Most Common Managed Services Offered?

Though many managed services providers provide the same services to their clients, there is differentiation within marketplace offerings. Many providers have found a niche within the larger umbrella of managed services. Some of the common managed service niches relative to IT include:

  • Managed security services
  • Managed cloud services (Managed AWS, Managed Azure, Managed GCP)
  • Managed CRM services

Offerings can be fully managed, meaning the managed service provider takes the reins and a more active approach or can be more on-demand where the client engages the provider to ask for the services they’d like when they’d like them.

What Differentiates Managed Services Providers?

As mentioned, not all managed services providers are the same. They provide different services and different niches, all of which should be spelled out in a master services agreement (MSA) and a service level agreement (SLA).

An MSA is what sets the tone for the relationship between the provider and the client. This agreement will spell out terms and conditions and should include an SLA that explains what services the provider will perform and when. When looking for a managed services provider, it’s a good idea to ask questions about the MSA and SLA to ensure you know exactly what level of service and what services you’ll be receiving.

Are There Other Types of Managed Services?

Managed services are a commonly used term in information technology, but you’ll also see it used in supply chain management, transportation, marketing, recruitment, and other fields. It is wise to keep this in mind when searching for a managed services provider: they’re not all providing the exact same thing! WSM focuses on information technology-related services and provides services from the operating system and beyond through the browser (development, upgrades, security, etc.).

What are Managed Services Pricing and Billing Like?

Usually, managed services are baked into a monthly fee and limited by an SLA. One of the key features of managed services is predictable expenses, unfortunately, Managed Service Providers traditionally have a higher base monthly fee to ensure profitability, as they have to assume a certain level of time consumption, which is often inflated. In this model, customers are paying for a good portion of managed services they may never leverage.

WSM’s managed services are unique in that they provide access to any service WSM provides at an hourly rate, with a lower base monthly fee. This means that you’ll only pay for the services you use rather than paying for things you don’t need.  WSM calls this On-Demand Managed Services.  These services include:

  • Discovery, planning, and migration services
  • Containers support
  • Server and application performance tuning
  • DevOps automation
  • Development services
  • DBA services
  • Cloud engineering services
  • Server administration
  • Security services
  • Disaster recovery planning
  • And more

Read more about what types of managed services WSM offers and what’s included.

How Managed Services Help Your Business

There are many different types of managed services offerings and managed services providers, but the main reason behind all of them to transfer the burden of maintaining IT to a service provider. Many businesses’ IT departments can feel strained by the constant management and maintenance required today. Instead of hiring full-time employees to take care of these maintenance tasks, it is often more cost-effective to engage a provider with an entire team of experts to assist.

WSM has been providing managed services for over ten years to clients of all sizes and in all industries. Their reasons may differ, but we often find the main reasons are relative to:

  • Predictable pricing
  • Proactive maintenance
  • Free up internal staff
  • Enhance security
  • Access to certified experts

Read more about these benefits and more about how WSM can help your business with managed services.

 In Summary

Despite it being a seemingly simple question, it can be tough to pin down a specific answer for “what are managed services?” No matter what, however, managed services should free up your team’s time, help you get the resources you need to get the job done, and be a cost-effective way to manage your IT.

We’ve been providing managed services to businesses of all sizes for over a decade. Learn more about how WSM helps businesses manage their servers, environments, websites, applications, and more.