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What is Managed IT Services that every IT firm is talking about? I don’t understand what a Managed Service Provider (MSP) does.

  • Management, typically by an outside third-party, of an organization's services and equipment related to computers, networks, or software, also known as outsourced Information Technology (IT).
  • True Managed Service Providers are 100% responsible for the safety, security, and reliability of your IT infrastructure and work on a fixed-fee basis. This changes the incentive from “finding problems” to “preventing problems”.
  • This business model also evens out the revenue stream for the MSP and fixes the IT budget for the client resulting in no ugly surprises from a billing standpoint.
  • Trust increases substantially since the MSP now has assumed shared risk with the client enabling what can truly be called a partnership. You can rest assured that any decision we make or advice we give is in both of our best interests because if something goes wrong, it is at our expense.

We are a Physician’s Office. Can we use an outsourced Managed Service IT Provider?

  • Absolutely.
  • However, you must pick an IT firm who is HIPAA compliant themselves. As of September 2013, your BA’s (Business Associates) are required to meet all of the HIPAA Security Rules, just like you are.
  • Failure of your BA’s to be compliant with HIPAA requires you to cease using their services.

How does Managed Services work?

  • The typical Managed IT Services provides 24/7/365 network monitoring of all of your IT infrastructure.
  • Help Desk is provided to answer your questions and your staff’s questions.
  • 24x7x365 response for Server/Network Infrastructure emergencies.
  • Provide technical support-onsite.
  • Provide technical support-using remote connect tools.
  • Assist you with hardware and software Sales.

What kinds of companies are good candidates for Managed Services?

If you can relate to 3 or more of these statements, your company will benefit from a Managed IT Services approach:

  • You realize that IT is an integral part of your business that can no longer be handled by the boss’s kid, one of your staff members, or the guy next door.
  • You understand that IT is no longer an optional expense, but, an operational expense similar to the electric power company.
  • You want an IT firm that thinks like a Business Owner before thinking like IT technicians.
  • You just want it all to work!
  • You did not choose your career to monkey with IT issues.
  • You understand what it costs your company for you to not focus on your top priorities.
  • You do not want to be in the IT business.
  • You do not want to deal with IT.
  • You are done trying to get techies to understand what you really need.
  • You realize the hourly cost of downtime and business interruption is so much more than a technician’s hourly rate.
  • You are finished with trying to manage depreciating assets.
  • You are done with finding, hiring, and managing IT staff.
  • You never want to deal with Technology vendors blaming each other.
  • You realize that a break/fix IT support company is not incentivized to fix your problems.
  • You put up with IT support issues because you do not want the trouble of changing to another support provider.

Signs that you might not be a good candidate for Managed Services?

  • You are a do-it-yourself type and only want help when you cannot figure it out yourself.
  • Why pay someone else if you can figure it out yourself?
  • Your IT plan is to keep the network running until the wheels fall off. Then we will deal with it.
  • You do not measure the performance of your business and employees.
  • You are content creating “work-arounds” or applying “Band-Aids” to fix problems.
  • You do not care how your employees use business resources during business hours.
  • You think “those IT problems” are not too bad, we can just work harder.
  • You believe a PC should last more than 6+ years.
  • You enjoy spending free time learning how to fix computers.
  • You really do not care if employee efficiency or morale can be improved.
  • You depend on "non-professionals" to help you out with IT.
  • You maintain that business productivity and performance are secondary to IT costs.

Do you have any employees outside the United States?

  • No, all of our employees and tech support staff are based in the U.S. so language barriers never become an issue.

What cities do you service?

  • Roanoke
  • Danville
  • Harrisonburg
  • Charlottesville
  • Lynchburg
  • Blue Ridge
  • Shenandoah
  • Blacksburg
  • Martinsville
  • Bedford
  • Rocky Mount
  • Salem
  • Radford
  • Christiansburg
  • And beyond

What sized companies benefit from Managed Services?

  • For managed IT services to be of value to your company, you should have at least 10 workstations/end users and at least 1 server.
  • The maximum size depends on your company's business model, number of locations, strategic initiatives, growth plans, etc.
  • For companies under 200 end users, an MSP can be the total IT department (CIO, CTO, help desk and the like) or just act as a supplement to in-house IT staff.
  • For companies with more than 200 end users, we usually see businesses hire an in-house technology technician, but still keep the IT Planning, Network Monitoring, and Windows Patch Management outsourced.
  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs) don't get sick, take vacations, or require benefits. MSPs also generally cost less than a full time employee.

How difficult is it to change IT Vendors/Managed Service Providers? We seem to have outgrown our existing person’s ability.

  • Outgrowing one’s “computer guy” is an issue that we are seeing more frequently than in the past. Today’s computer networks have become more complex in the past few years and not every “computer guy” has been able to keep up with the myriad of changes that continue to occur in the industry.
  • Sometimes the pace of technology passes the pace of the incumbent IT person and that person is then no longer a good candidate to manage one of your businesses most important assets.
  • Changing to a professional IT firm to manage your network is a process that should not be taken lightly. While it is done every day, there is risk involved. However, a competent professional IT firm should be able to make a changeover as painless as is possible.
  • This is definitely a case where prior proper planning prevents poor performance.

What makes your company different from the others? All I hear is the same things from every IT firm I talk to.

  • Every Managed Service Provider will offer the same basic deliverables:
    • 24/7/365 Network Monitoring of critical systems (Servers, PCs, network).
    • Help Desk (questions from you and your staff).
    • Windows Patch and Security Management.
    • Antivirus/antispyware/malware Monitoring.
    • Data Backup Monitoring.
    • Vendor liaison (work with your other hardware/software vendors).
    • Server, PC, and other Hardware repairs and maintenance.
    • Network Performance troubleshooting.
  • You will find that we are different from other similar firms:
    • We are an exceptional IT firm with exceptional employees.
    • We know that mastering the “basics” is a requirement for client satisfaction. We do not need a better mousetrap, we need the one we have to work-all the time, every time.
    • We have superior working relationships with our clients while acting as their trusted advisors on all things technology related.
    • We have a “recipe” for the standardization of a client computer network, that when followed, guarantees a problem free network.
    • We work on continuous alignment of our standards with your network.
    • Knowledgeable IT staff with a desire to help you and your staff.
    • We think like business people, not IT technicians thereby bringing business value, as well as IT value, to your company.
    • We focus on the security of your network in order to prevent data breaches.
    • We deliver what we promise; then we deliver more.
    • We make decisions based on YOUR needs, not ours, because we become your Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    • We are so confident in our abilities, we offer guarantees that no one else will.
    • We offer rapid, 15 minute, response times.
    • Our company has been in the Healthcare IT business for 10 years; our Founder for 18 years.

I only want to pay when I need you. Why would I want to pay a monthly fee?

  • The “Break-Fix” (pay-as-you-go) model is when an organization calls an IT service provider to fix a single problem. The provider usually goes onsite, and repairs the issue, then sends a bill for their time. This model rewards IT companies when things break.
  • One of the issues with this type of arrangement is that there is no incentive to fix any problem but the one the technician has been called in to fix.
  • Today’s computer networks need regular “care and feeding” to catch and correct problems when they are small and easy to handle.
  • Managed Services reward both the client and the IT service provider for UPTIME! It is in the best interest of both companies to maintain a strong and healthy network.
  • We do not offer “Break-Fix” repairs and only offer monthly maintenance plans.

So, what does a typical plan cost?

  • Most MSPs offer 3 plans. A Platinum, a Gold, and a Bronze. Pricing is generally based on the number of devices (Servers, PCs, laptops, and other peripheral equipment) or the number of users on the network. One method is not superior to another.

But how can you charge a fixed price for unlimited support? What’s the catch?

  • There is no catch. Over the years we have determined what level of network health is achievable on any given network and we know how many hours of support are needed by a network of that complexity, when it’s properly managed.
  • We can use those ratios to predict how much support you’re likely to need once we onboard and stabilize the network.
  • In the beginning, we will lose money because we are taking care of neglected items and pent-up IT demand.
  • Eventually, we will get all of the gremlins out of the network and move into the next phase which is maintaining and planning for the future.

Does your firm come to my office when I have a problem?

  • If the problem you are experiencing cannot be repairing quickly over the telephone, then we immediately dispatch a technician to your office to make the repairs.

How long does it take for you to respond?

  • Platinum level clients are guaranteed a 15 minute response time.

Do you offer any discounts?

  • If you are willing to pay 3, 6, or 12 months in advance, we offer payment discounts.

What kinds of things do I have to pay for?

  • On a Platinum Plan, moves, adds, subscription renewals, and changes are billable items.

Do I have to sign a contract?

  • A Managed Service Provider invests large amounts of time, energy, and staff resources into cleaning up and bringing your computer network into compliance with industry best practices. It is unfair to ask an MSP to come in, perform large amounts of work that the previous Vendor failed to complete, without a long-term agreement.

What happens to my bill if I use more hours than usual in any given month?

  • Your monthly bill is based on the number of machines or number of employees under management, not on the number of hours of support that you require.

Do you charge for “onboarding” us?

  • Generally there is a charge for 1 day of labor at the billable rate for the plan you have selected.

Do you work from a real office or from home?

  • We work from a real office and have no home based employees.

Are you insured?

  • We carry Business Liability, Workman’s Compensation, Errors and Omissions and any other state or federally required insurance that will protect you and your business.

Do you use subcontractors?

  • All of our staff are employees of the company.

We have IT employees. What can you do for us?

  • No problem. Many of our commercial clients have an existing IT staff. If you already have IT employees, we will work with them to relieve their daily responsibilities so they can focus on larger projects. This allows your existing IT staff to work more efficiently, saving your agency time and money.
  • We offer customized IT plans based on your technology needs. Our plans range from 100 percent coverage to simple network monitoring and antivirus protection.
  • We are able to automate tedious tasks that take up much of your IT’s time and can allow your IT to focus on bigger picture issues.
  • You pick the plan, based on what you need and your budget.

What if my network is not at the minimum baseline requirements?

  • Then we have a problem that must be corrected before moving forward. We are unable to deliver the results you expect if your equipment or software is not current.
  • Prior to executing a service agreement with your organization, we will survey your network and give you a proposal to document your network and to get your network to a minimum baseline that we will support. This includes an inventory of all hardware and software. You will receive a copy of this documentation for your records.
  • We highly recommend you have this type of documentation on hand regardless of who you select for network support for your own protection.

What if our network is already working fine?

  • Most networks that we encounter are actually very far from healthy, although the client often doesn’t realize it.
  • There is a lot that can be done, from installing patches to verifying and improving security to replacing outdated hardware that will improve the average network.
  • You have to have the right technical skills, the right network management systems and be prepared to spend the time on proactively stabilizing the network.

What happens if we try out your service but find that we don’t like it?

  • We’re confident that you’ll find value in our service. So much so, that we’ll allow you to cancel the contract with no notice at all, within the first six months, if you find our service is not what we have stated.