IT managed services focus on applying the industry’s best practices to give you the most effective technology solutions that meet your business needs. Assessing the IT services you receive is a necessary step in helping you and your service provider choose the best components for your strategic and tactical technology infrastructure in regards to capacity, business continuity, availability, services levels and budget. In essence, managed services assessment helps ensure that the IT services you receive align with the needs of your business and support its growth.
Managed Services Assessments: What to Expect
Here’s a look at some of the steps a managed services assessment will entail:
Inventory of your current technology: Your IT managed services provider needs a clear picture of your current situation to determine your technological needs and goals. He or she will do this by taking inventory of the technologies in use, including software and hardware.
Review of your internal practices: The IT professional will learn about your company’s current policies and procedures regarding security, disaster recovery and technology-related staff training.
Learn about the skills of your staff: This process helps you better understand the technology-related strengths of your staff so you know whom you can depend on as a resource. You’ll also learn which workers could benefit from additional training.
Creating a Technology Plan
Using the information gathered from the assessment, the managed services professional will create an in-depth technology plan that helps meet your established goals. This plan may include one or more of the following components:
List of immediate needs: If not addressed in the near future, these items could hinder your business.
Review of the fault-tolerance strategy of your hardware: A review of the fault-tolerance of important workstations, devices and servers can help reduce remediation costs and downtime when there’s a failure, such as the crash of a hard disk.
Review of the fault-tolerance strategy of your data: This review determines how well the business would recover if critical data becomes corrupted or lost by a disaster, spyware, viruses or other attacks. Your IT professional will review your current strategy and make recommendations to help improve the integrity of your data and your ability to restore it when the need arises.
Disaster recovery plan: This plan lets you know exactly what to do in the event of a disaster, data loss or service interruption to ensure business continuity.
Cost-reducing strategies and efficiency improvements: Changes to your current infrastructure can make it more efficient and cost-effective. For example, you may learn that replacing a piece of older equipment may be less expensive than maintaining and upgrading it, particularly when considering the cost of labor and replacement parts.
Maintenance program: When a managed services provider performs regular preventive maintenance on IT system, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your software is up to date, issues are fixed before they become expensive problems and your network is monitored against failures and attacks. Maintenance can also include patch management, help desk services, remote hardware support, after-hours support, backup services, labor and more.
The items in your technology plan that need attention can at first appear overwhelming. Your managed services expert will help you break down the components of your plan into phases that meet your company’s immediate needs, budget and goals before he or she begins to implement the changes.
Plan Evaluation and Revision
Just as you review your business plan to make updates and changes, you will also need to revisit your technology plan to ensure it adapts with your company’s changing needs. As the changes from your assessment occur, the IT specialist will continually evaluate the plan and make revisions as needed to make sure you’re setup for success.
With the help of IT managed services, your IT system will be proactively managed using industry best practices. It’s the way to go if you depend on technology to keep your business running without a hitch.
About the Author
This post is courtesy of Andrew Salisbury, Director of Infrastructure Operations at Prosum Technology Services. Prosum is one of the fastest growing information technology service companies in Los Angeles and Orange County and provides IT consulting, staffing and technology solutions for businesses.