Managed IT Predicts Problems Instead of Reacting to Them
Should IT be treated more like plumbing or more like the medical profession? Plumbers are usually hired on a break-fix model; when there is a leak, or a drain fails to flow, someone calls a plumber. The plumber fixes the problem and sends a bill, but typically does not learn about the unique plumbing features associated with the property, or the property owner’s needs.
Doctors are hired on a managed support model; you go for an annual checkup, the doctor tells you if you need to reduce your salt intake or exercise more often, and orders any additional tests. The same doctor follows up on the test results and manages your health through recovery.
Managed IT Vs. Break-Fix
The break-fix model of support requires little committment but produces inconsistent results. Problems get fixed, but the plumber does not improve the overall system infrastructure and rarely seeks out the root causes behind problems. As a result, the same types of problems tend to appear repeatedly. The managed model of support requires more committment, but produces better outcomes. The doctor learns his patients’ names, analyzes their test results and comes to understand the root causes of their health problems so that he can fix them in a way that will endure. The managed model avoids emergencies instead of reacting to them.
Managed IT support works much the same way as a small town doctor’s office. In addition to fixing problems as they happen, managed IT support conducts periodic evaluations and develops a detailed understanding of a business’ network and needs. Your managed IT support vendor then works on the system to minimize the risk of potential problems and avoid emergencies.
Patch management is one way that managed IT support reduces the risk of potential problems. Every week, the manufacturers of major operating systems release patches for recently discovered bugs and security holes. Patching systems can be a technical and time-consuming task — although most patches are applied to computers, routers and other systems may occasionally need patches as well. Your managed IT support provider can create a patch management plan that can reduce the risk of an emergency caused by hackers or viruses.
Hackers, Viruses and Malware Woes
Hackers, viruses and malware can cause expensive problems for small businesses. Many small businesses handle money through their networks; ACH transfers, credit card transactions, banking logins and wire transfer instructions all flow through a typical small business network. Hackers target this money in the same way that old-time bank robbers targeted safes. According to NPR, hackers have stolen more than $800 million from bank accounts belonging to small businesses. Business bank accounts don’t have the same legal protections as personal bank accounts; if a hacker transfers money from your business account, the bank is under no obligation to cover your loss.
Managed IT support also uses continuous network monitoring to provide early warnings and threat management in case of a breach of your network. Network monitoring can help to provide real-time threat management, visibility and control over network endpoints. Detecting problems early helps your managed IT team to fix issues while they are small instead of responding to big emergencies.
In the long run, avoiding problems is much less expensive than fixing them. The break-fix model typically involves downtime during problem discovery, troubleshooting, repair and testing. This downtime can be in the form of time when employees cannot use your systems, time when systems operate inefficiently or time when a hacker or malware has access to confidential information or critical systems.
The managed IT model of support is designed to avoid problems instead of reacting to them. Remote monitoring, a patch management strategy and other managed IT benefits can reduce the risk of an expensive security breach. For more information, please contact us.