A common misconception among business owners is that there are only two options for IT management: hiring an in-house team or relying on an IT managed service provider. However, we’ve seen more businesses in Boston that take the best of both worlds; where IT is co-managed between an internal expert and a company like ours. Co-Managed IT allows businesses to meet their technology demands without having to hire extra or to cut back on the in-house experts they know and trust.
The co-managed strategy makes sense in all business climates, but it’s especially beneficial during this unpredictable economy we’re all dealing with. The need to reduce costs, and enable business continuity technologies to support those working from home has put extra pressure on internal IT leaders. This is a situation where an IT provider can fill the technical gaps and do so for a fraction of the cost of traditional hiring.
What is Co-Managed IT and who is it for?
It’s for IT Managers who need help keeping up with the demands of the job. What sort of help? Well, all kinds are on the table, but where Managed Service Providers (MSPs) step in depends on how the internal manager prefers to delegate.
For instance, in the current work from home reality, your employees might be using cloud-based applications like Microsoft 365, or using a virtual desktop (VDI) solution to access information on their desktops. The result of this disruption can cause a staggering number of support tickets from users struggling to access applications or run specific software on their home desktops. As the IT manager is expected of you to not only resolve all of this but also do it in record time. Helpdesk can be one of those functions that you pass off to your Co-Managed IT provider, achieving quick resolution for end-users without taking any time from your internal IT.
Another way you can engage a Co-Managed IT partner is to support a specific project your organization is going through. For instance, a server migration to a hybrid cloud environment. This is a critical project for the organization and although you know exactly what cloud service to use, and have a clear migration process that contemplates all the risks and contingency plans, running penetration testing and a cybersecurity assessment of the new cloud environment can be delegated to a trustworthy IT partner that has a cybersecurity practice.
Remember, the main job of a Co-Managed IT provider is to be an extension of your team in any way needed. So if it’s to support your end-users and address helpdesk support tickets, or act as a cybersecurity consultant, a great Co-Managed Provider will adjust a package of services for your specific needs.
How does Co-Managed IT work?
A Co-Managed IT Service provider in the Greater Boston Area will begin by meeting with your internal IT team to better understand your strategic technology needs. Then, they will provide a roadmap to support those needs and suggest areas of investment, like refreshing your access points or firewalls. The various areas in which they will support your business, as well as escalation points and performance metrics will be included in a Service Level Agreement (SLA).
With this information, an experienced Co-Managed IT partner will be able to create tailored dashboards and automated reports, providing insights into the state of your technology environment and the ways they are supporting it (no. of tickets resolved, no. of cybersecurity alerts resolved, etc).
Additionally, a Co-Managed IT Partner will make available a dedicated Virtual IT consultant to cope with additional technology demands, who will be the main point of contact for your organization. Having quarterly performance meetings with your assigned Virtual IT consultant will be of help when planning for future technology projects.
In terms of the actual services, a Co-Managed IT Service will typically include:
- Virtual IT Manager
- Helpdesk 24/7
- Cybersecurity Monitoring
- Data Recovery & Backups
- Compliance Support
- Lifecycle Management of your tech assets
- Network performance testing
Another and sometimes overlooked benefit of Co-Managed IT is the strategic advice they can provide to your specific needs. Combining the internal IT manager who understands the specifics of your business, long and short-term goals, with the technical expertise of an outside IT service, creates a synergy where technology is at the epicenter of many business processes working as an enabler and reducing friction.
The Bottom line of Co-Managed IT
You might be thinking, “How can I afford to have both an internal and external IT?” The reality is that IT is not that different from any other department of your company. Think of sales as an example, when you started your business one salesperson hitting the phones, sending emails, attending meetings to gain new customers was probably enough. But as your business grows and you need to strengthen your revenue stream sales roles like account managers, business developers, and outbound sales professionals are needed, and each of them brings a set of different skills and experiences making them capable of the job.
The same goes for IT, as your organization grows the technology demands increase and different areas of IT knowledge are needed. A Co-Managed service will maximize your IT staff by providing the services built into your service level agreement (SLA), so they can focus on tasks best suited to their skillset and your business mission.