5 Key Small Business IT Managed Benefits

IT managed services providers keep your computer system healthy, and often with cost savings

If your IT consultant still visits your office frequently to do routine maintenance on your computers, you may be overpaying for unnecessary support. IT consultants are now managed services providers (MSPs) who use advanced software tools to automate maintenance and monitor computers for proper operation according to recommended standards.

My MSP platform, GFI RemoteMax and GFI Managed Antivirus, lets me offer clients the following services so I can leverage my time to support a larger client base at lower cost.

1. 24/7 computer health check. Issues are identified early on to keep your business running.
2. Automated maintenance. Automatic patches and updates of Microsoft applications and many third-party applications such as Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash and others. Tasks such as deletion of temporary files and anti-virus scans are scheduled after hours. Detected malware is automatically quarantined or deleted without interrupting the user.
3. Reporting. Results of patching and scans are sent to the MSP. The MSP can then generate on-demand asset reports and computer configuration details. MSPs no longer have to ask the user for technical information about their PCs, because the information is already available to them.
4. Alerting. The MSP software issues alerts when a problem is detected on a computer so it can be responded to and remediated before it escalates into downtime.
5. Remote control. MSP software allows the MSP to assist a user remotely over the Internet and, if allowed, to take over the computer to troubleshoot problems. A costly on-site visit isn’t necessary in most cases.

MSP tools are evolving their capabilities. Some platforms can monitor printers and smartphones. Others can bring up a list of running processes and services on a remote computer and allow the MSP to terminate them while the user is on the computer. This is handy if a process is hung.

The point of MSP software is to allow your IT provider to be proactive—not reactive—to anticipate problems and fix them before they escalate into costly downtime. There’s no guarantee that a component won’t suddenly fail, but if a computer goes offline, the MSP will know about it if the computer fails to report in.

These days, when I go on site, it’s a necessary visit. I could be doing project work or attending to a computer that is down, doing training or working on a problem that can’t be addressed remotely. The client knows that I’m not wasting time performing routine maintenance that’s handled by automation.

MSPs typically charge widely varying fees by user or by device, depending on the platform they use and whether they include their time for reviewing reports and responding to alerts. But for a small monthly fee per computer, the peace of mind is often worth the cost!