No matter what industry you are in, there is no question that your business requires some type of professional IT support. The world as we know it runs on technology, which is continually advancing with development, changes and security risks, so having a team of IT experts at your organization’s fingertips is essential to remain competitive and secure.
There is a wide range of IT support options for small and medium-sized businesses to care for their IT requirements. Often, when organizations are making a decision on selecting an IT partner, some questions typically arise regarding the difference between Managed IT Services and Block Hours and which type is best. It is important to understand what each type of service offers before deciding.
Managed IT Service Providers are an off-site, in-house IT team. This means they spend the time to thoroughly understand your organization’s unique goals, strategy, and growth plan as it relates to technology. They are typically located in the same city or region so that they can also provide in-house support when required. More than just simply an IT team, Managed Service Providers are strategic partners that have a full spectrum of expertise, from setting up networks and computers, to actively monitoring security systems, keeping your environment up to date and secure, delivering rapid response times in addition to providing high level strategic decision making regarding your entire IT infrastructure. An entire team of IT experts is dedicated to managing your IT needs and make recommendations based on your business. Backups are properly managed and stored, patches are always done on time and everything is tested on a routine basis to ensure your organization is secure. A dedicated Help Desk team is also available for IT support and emergency needs via a support ticket system.
Typically, Block Hours Support is a team of local IT professionals who can assist with your problems when they arise. Often there are some proactive elements established to alert the IT team if a problem arises, however, these are often not reviewed immediately, which can intensify some problems. Or, the team may be limited in remedying a situation based on hour allocation limits established on your account. Simply put, it is a reactive model, where something goes wrong first or isn’t working properly before the team is contacted versus monitoring and catching an issue before it turns into a problem.
With Managed IT Services, typically a monthly fee is quoted to cover services for the number of devices your organization needs to maintain, running backups and providing IT support. This makes it simple to have a solid annual IT budget and can often end up being more cost-effective compared to a break-and-fix model as early detection is in place to stop problems before they occur, and strategic planning is utilized to prevent future errors. Also, many software and tool costs such as moving to a cloud environment are included in the monthly contract, offering significant savings.
Block support, on the other hand, is charged based on the number of hours you needed for the support that month, like a pay-as-you-go model. Contracts will often outline a particular dollar amount and a minimum set time for service calls. Typically, when blocks of hours are purchased at once you may qualify for a discounted hourly rate.
While Block Hours offers a lower entry cost to IT and Help Desk Support, it usually only remains that way if used sparingly as a bare-bones method. If you are a very small organization and have a one-off project or upgrade, then getting a quote for block hour service may be beneficial. Otherwise, by using as on-going monthly support, it can cause strain on an organization’s finances with unexpected problems and un-planned IT spend.
Managed Services, on the other hand, is a better fit for organizations looking for a strategic IT partner. One that acts as an in-house team, offers the ability to build annual budgets and roadmaps and maintain a highly secure environment regardless of hours used. In other words, Managed Services offers value not time.
To learn more about how MBC can be a strategic partner for your organization, get a free assessment today.