When most people think of managed IT services, what they imagine is a very helpful tech support team. In many ways, this is what your outsourced IT team is there to do. Without interfering with your everyday workflow, they are there to help the staff with any technical problems, secure your network and maintain network security, help you upgrade your software in a timely manner, and occasionally come in to physically repair a broken computer.
But the beauty of managed IT services is that it's also much more than tech support and break-fix solutions. The entire purpose of having your IT fully managed is for all those little benefits that only come from having a dedicated IT team that knows your system well and genuinely wants to make sure your network is as efficient and secure as it can be.
Along those lines, we'd like to highlight four things that managed IT services can do for you that you probably never realized. This is the value we provide above and beyond simple break-fix tech support tasks.
1) Penetration Testing
Penetration testing is a special procedure that can actually only be done from outside your network by IT experts. It is, essentially, a simulated hacking attack meant to test the strength of your current defenses. There are actually a variety of ways to perform a penetration test. Which makes sense, because there are also a wide variety of ways a hacker or their malware might try to invade your system.
Your managed IT team should be running penetration tests any time they upgrade or improve your network defenses in order to test the integrity of those defenses and gauge how likely it is that modern hackers would be able to threaten your network security. And the results of these tests lead us to the next point.
2) Vulnerability Patching
Every piece of software has certain vulnerabilities, soft spots in their defenses that are more susceptible to hackers than others. The reason for this is simple: no code is perfect. Vulnerabilities are not exactly gaps in your firewall so much as parts of the code that are more easy to break through, manipulate, or sneak into than others. The best way to fix these is by installing an official security patch from the software provider, patches that are released often for software that is actively being developed as the developers realize their mistakes and fix them.
However, sometimes there is no official patch to implement, even after a vulnerability is found. In this case, your managed IT services provider may actually be able to write their own temporary security patch, or cover the vulnerability with an extra layer of security, in order to make your business much more hacker-proof than other businesses using the exact same tech stack.
3) Cyber Security Drills for Your Staff
Of course, your software isn't the only potential weak point in your security. At this point, every business should know that employee actions are now the leading cause of security breaches and malware exposure. This is simply because employees must do things like access the internet or check their email which can lead to a malware exposure risk.
Your managed IT team can actually help you train every employee in cybersecurity best practices by showing them exactly what a phishing email, ransomware attack, and other risks looks like up close. And then they can create surprise drills that challenge employees to recognize these risks on their own and handle the correctly to maintain company data security.
A cybersecurity drill is exactly that, creating fake phishing emails and suspicious software activity that your team should know how to handle.
4) Network Monitoring
Does it seem like your managed IT service has some kind of sixth sense for when your network is overloaded or when a security breach has just occurred? Can they hunt down lurking malware like bloodhounds or identify when to bolster your website just before high traffic causes a major slow-down?
They're not psychic. These feats are accomplished with something called network monitoring, a practice every good IT services provider should be doing. Network monitoring simply allows your MSP to keep an eye on your network activity and performance stats to spot trouble either on the horizon or as it happens in real-time. This allows them to act instantly, preventing problems rather than reacting to them in a panic, and is the real reason why you want managed IT rather than break-fix tech support.
Learn More About Managed IT Services From IronLogix
Managed IT services provide you with so much more than simple repairs after something breaks. They are there for you as if they were your own in-house IT. Sometimes even better because they can see your entire network from the outside and can perform useful services like external penetration testing. When you're considering a new IT service, don't underestimate the very real and diverse benefits of a managed IT services provider.