Companies like First Service Carolina fall into a category of business called a Managed Services Provider (MSP). Knowing exactly how the MSP is going to take care of a business is top of the list for most company owners concerned with data security. Likewise, the heart and soul of any good outsourced IT vendor should be their managed services portfolio. This article breaks down what you should be looking for in your MSP and how First Service Carolina fits the bill.
What is a Managed Services Provider
An MSP is essentially an outsourced IT department that handles a number of aspects about another businesses’ IT infrastructure. In addition to providing Break/Fix services, the MSP is responsible for maintaining licensure, hardware, and network infrastructure. First Service Carolina has three main objectives when taking over the IT and networking for a business: a network inventory, network monitoring, and patch management and updates.
Before First Service Carolina can monitor or work on your network we need to know exactly what is on it. Keeping a detailed record of each piece of system hardware and software allows an MSP to do a number of things. With regard to hardware: the inventory provides insight into asset cycles (when things need to be replaced) as well as warranty information (for when something goes wrong). Meanwhile a software audit allows the system administrator to locate applications that are not approved. These programs may create bottlenecks in the network–in the case of music streaming–or establish security risks through third party programs.
Keeping track of all of your machines, programs, and networking equipment can be a full-time job. First Service Carolina utilizes a Network Operations Center (NOC) to monitor our client’s hardware 24x7x365. If a machine is running slow, with a lot of strain, or has failing hardware the NOC notifies the system administrator of the issue. This allows First Service to be proactive with issues like “low disk space”, or reactive to issues like “failing RAM”. Many vendors support this type of “Pre-Warning Work” when a piece of hardware triggers a warning. Without a NOC the system engineer will have to troubleshoot an issue, which can lead to delays and longer downtime.
Management and Updates
Here is an almost universal truth; People hate updating their devices. There are a few reasons why this is true, but the most prevalent also demonstrates the simplicity of the problem. People do not like updating their devices because it is inconvenient. Updates are generally put off because users do not want to be interrupted while working. Unfortunately this can have negative consequences as failing to update software and firmware leaves the system vulnerable.
With the advent of “web-delivered systems and cloud hosting models” the process of patching devices has become more streamlined. A Managed Services Provider like First Service Carolina can make sure that patches are automatically installed on systems that are subscribed to the managed services portfolio. First Service Carolina can install patches automatically at night as long as the computer is powered on—eliminating downtime and interruptions.
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