Managed On Demand Services
In the IT support world, there are two methods for delivering support services:
- Managed services and
- On demand or break/fix
Managed services aim to completely control your network. You and the vendors’ other clients use the same routers, antivirus, etc and your network is monitored and managed centrally. This is a good fit for some businesses as it can eliminate the cost of a full-time computer technician or compliment an existing in-house IT department.
Costs are usually calculated per computer, or server, per month and all labor costs – except for projects and some other tasks – are built in, whether labour is required or not. Automation is the key to running a successful managed services business.
On demand, or break/fix service, is how many small businesses handle IT support – when something breaks, call someone and have it fixed.
There are no set fees and often you can go for months without needing service. It works for many small businesses, but it does lack a proactive element. For example, If a key employee hasn’t been paying enough attention to backup reports for example, and a server fails, it can be a costly fix and, there is a chance of data loss, or worse.
Unlike traditional MSPs (Managed Service Providers) Bowes IT doesn’t require you to completely rework your network to fit our management tools. We do however understand the value patch management, monitoring, and the other proactive services managed services provide. We just do it differently.
We don’t try to make our living on managed services, rather, we provide a low-cost management system with basic patch management, maintenance, and 24/365 system checks. You’re not charged for service unless it’s needed.
Some of the Things We Can Monitor
- We can monitor most backup systems freeing staff from having to keep an eye on backup logs.
- Keeping antivirus current is key to keeping malware out. We can also monitor most antivirus products.
- System health
- Overall system health is monitored 24/7.
- RAID array health
- Mirrored hard drives in servers are an important piece of the security puzzle. We can tell when one of those hard drives fail before it affects the business.
- Disk usage
- A lack of disk space can cause serious problems and knowing what space is available is vital for planning.
- Disk health
- No component fails more often that hard drives and as they contain all of your files, you want to know right away that the drive is failing – before it fails completely.
- Microsoft patches
- No one likes installing updates but, they are important. Patches have security and bug fixes and should always be up to date.
- Third party patches
- Third party products like Adobe Reader, Google Chrome, etc also need to be patched to stay as secure and stable as possible. Software like Java can be extremely vulnerable to attack and should be updated constantly.
- Performance monitoring
- Computers have finite lifetimes. When it comes time to replace or upgrade them, insight into which computers would benefit the most is very useful. Keeping computers running efficiently is also a benefit of performance monitoring.
- Vulnerability scan
- There are few computers out there that don’t have security holes. Yours doesn’t have to be one.
- Critical services check
- Mission critical software and resources need to be available to users continually. When they go down, we want to know immediately to take corrective action.
- Failed login check
- The number of break-in attempts to a network is incredible, but they often go undetected.
- System inventory
- Know the hardware specifications of every computer and server on your network.
- Software inventory
- Know what software is installed on every computer and server on your network.
- Critical event check
- The Windows event logs can provide early warning that something is about to go wrong. Monitoring unusual critical events is important to ward off trouble.
- Windows Services check
- Line of business programs, and other vital software. often rely on Windows services. Knowing when these services start or stop can be crucial to productivity, security, and reliability.
- Temp file cleanup/disk defrag
- This one is completely up to you – we will schedule a periodic temporary file cleanup and/or disk defrag.
What it Means to You
Peace of Mind
Being more proactive with your network means catching issues before they turn into crises. Being down for a few days is both stressful and costly.
No Vendor Tie-In
I’ve spent a good deal of time testing RMM (Remote Management and Monitoring) systems and because my business model doesn’t require clients to opt in or adopt canned network equipment, I chose one that supports the widest array of devices. You can add this service without spending thousands of dollars to replace your router, and backup system, and antivirus, backup devices, and on and on.
Ability to repair while staff use the computer
In many cases we can start/stop services, manage processes, and use the command line on a staff command without interrupting the user. Patches etc are pushed out automatically and all of the information we need about the system is available with no user interaction at all. If we do need to connect to the computer screen, the ability is there as well.
A patched and monitored system is a more secure system. Simple as that.
Offload staff responsibility
That one key employee who is tasked with checking the backup, router logs, antivirus emails, and what not can take those tasks off of her plate.
This isn’t the typical managed service model of IT support. This is a proactive service that doesn’t tie you in and is a hybrid between break/fix and managed services. It may not fit your business model and that’s fine, there is no pressure to adopt this.
That said, if you’d like better insight into your network and the peace of mind that a finger on the pulse would bring, this is an affordable way to do it.