If you feel that your IT is only ‘okay’ or ‘good enough’, you may have another think coming. To many CEOs and administrators, IT a mysterious necessity that they’d rather not think about – until they have to, and the reason they suddenly have to think about it is because it stopped working.

Your IT services person or team should be invisible to you as you concentrate on the core nature of your business and the goals you have set. Your network is just like your automobile - every time you start either one up, you want and expect a permanent ‘Yes’ response, and you don’t know something’s wrong until you do not get that response.

Now what?

With your car, it’s better to turn the key and have nothing happen then for a failure when you’re driving – most likely, it will only require roadside assistance and possibly time in the shop. With your network, your business grinds to halt until whichever form of IT you use shows up to fix it. In the IT Support Los Angeles Community, there is a range of service models available, from the hourly rate, garden variety ‘IT Guys’ (called ‘Break/Fix’ or B&F in the industry) to all-encompassing Managed IT Services firms.

If It Ain’t Broke… Break It!

At IT Support LA, we frequently speak with CEOs and administrators who thought everything was okay… until it wasn’t. Maybe they thought they were getting off cheaply by paying a B&F IT services ‘Guy’ by the hour and only calling when the network or a workstation was down. Typically, each office visit is billed and paid separately, so it’s not until they reconcile all those bills that they really see how much it’s costing them – usually a lot more than they thought.

What are Break/Fix issues?

1) The first word is ‘Break’. Breaking is not a good thing. Proactive, predictive maintenance keeps most things from breaking. Hourly rate B&F people are just there to fix broken things. A Managed IT Services firm saves time and money for both themselves and their clients by preventing breakdowns – they are not difficult6 for experienced professionals to foresee.

2) Every breakdown is an emergency and takes time before you can resume normal operations. Something breaks down and you call for IT service, probably have to leave a message, and you wait. You wait for a call back, you wait for them to show up, you wait while they troubleshoot and figure out the problem and you wait for them to fix it. The IT HelpDesk at a Managed IT Services provider like IT Support LA will answer the call with a live person, and depending on the nature of the issue, we’ll typically have it fixed within 20 – 30 minutes.

3) The B&F IT provider gets paid by the hour: NO incentive to get things done quickly, and NO incentive to fix it right the first time – we call this kind of work the ‘Band Aid’ approach – more downtime for you.

4) It’s Reactive, not Proactive. Preventive maintenance means less downtime.

5) Inferior security. Hopefully, your security patches and updates have been set to be performed automatically, but do you know if they are even being done at all? Do you know if you have secure, reliable backups in the event of the disaster that’s waiting to happen? We have been called in by companies whose ‘IT Guy’ didn’t know what to do when they suffered a Ransomware attack – only to find that there were no backups at all, so no way to wipe the infected computers and reinstall the data, effectively forcing the company into paying the ransom.

8) You are typically unaware of the true cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are examples of IT services?

A:  There is a wide range, but TechKnowledgey provides an excellent breakdown of the palate of services offered within the IT industry HERE.

Q: What does remote monitoring do?

A: It saves time and money. Special software is installed in each workstation and server on the client’s network, allowing offsite access to the network to both monitor and make repairs with speed and accuracy. Over 85% of all issues on a network can be easily handled remotely.

Q: What is a Managed IT Service company?

A:  Also called Managed Services Providers (MSPs), the key points are a fixed monthly subscription/retainer price, remote monitoring and repair and predictive maintenance. Through a Service Level Agreement (SLA) the complete scope of all services for which the MSP takes responsibility are well defined for the client, as well as any ‘out-of-scope’ work.

Q: Who needs Managed IT Services?

A: Every company needs IT of some kind. A ‘garage startup’ may do things themselves, but it won’t be long before they will need to look at some form of outsourced IT. Typically, once a business has a minimum of 10 users, they will need to outsource, both financially and productivity-wise, although a small business can benefit greatly, depending on the nature of their business and the complexity of their network setup.

Q: What are the key concepts underlying IT Services Management?

A:  The key concept is that an MSP takes a proactively holistic approach to network infrastructure – looking after the whole rather than dealing only with individual components. We do this with 24/ remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. As issues arise in components, we not only address them, but examine why the issue occurred and how it matters in relation to the overall infrastructure. This is extremely important for small business.

Q: How much should Managed IT Services cost?

A: The cost, which is laid out in the SLA, consists of a monthly subscription or retainer fee arrangement with the MSP, and the costs depend on the range of services. The range can go from a ‘bare-bones’ arrangement at $85+/per user/per month, to the all-inclusive level of service pricing, which generally falls between $100 to $175 per user/per month. Especially for small business IT, one should look suspiciously at anything higher than $175. According to Thumbtack, the overall average price for a minimal MSP offering runs $80 to $100 per user per month.

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