Managed IT Support
EBC Group is one of the largest and most respected providers of IT Support. With offices across the Midlands, we deliver everything from award-winning help desk services to complete IT infrastructure design, management and implementation. As the winner of 'Managed Service Provider of the Year' at the 2017 SVC Awards and trusted partner to our clients for almost 30 years, you can rely on us.
How to choose IT support and managed IT support – a user's guide
Managed IT support involves a managed service provider (MSP) working proactively to take responsibility for your IT systems and services, allowing them to implement strategic improvements and efficiencies, rather than simply responding to problems as they occur. The outsourced work will be paid for with a fixed monthly fee for services and repairs as agreed by a service-level agreement that specifies the appropriate performance and quality levels. As many IT services are now available through cloud computing and hosting services, managed IT support services can provide you with access to a variety of infrastructure, platform, server and software solutions through their own data centres.
The alternative type of outsourcing IT support is known as the 'break-fix' or on-demand model. This is where you employ an IT company on a job-by-job basis to support you when something goes wrong. It can be helpful for very simple IT systems or businesses who are only just starting out and can't commit to a fixed monthly fee or a contract. However, for most businesses managed IT support is much more cost-effective in the long run. Reputable managed IT support companies protect you from the loss of data, money and time that is caused by downtime. In doing so, they will protect your business.
What are the benefits of managed IT support?
Having a reliable IT system is crucial for the day-to-day running of any business. Managed IT services will maintain your key IT systems, leaving you free to concentrate on running your business. This can help you to increase your efficiency and give you peace of mind. First and most importantly, a proactive MSP will discover a problem with a device or service before it affects your system. This will allow them to fix a problem remotely or through a site visit, without the need for the problem to affect your systems and productivity or waste manpower through reporting and downtime.
A managed IT support service can be tailored to fit your organisation’s needs, providing you with a commercially viable solution, and enhancing your technology, typically for less than you are currently spending on IT. For instance, your managed IT support can incorporate a wide range of services, including systems management, software support and maintenance, virus protection, network security, authentication, print solutions, internet connectivity, telephony, data management and more, either physically on your premises or with a hosted system. Managed IT support is completely scalable and equally suited to small business IT support or delivering IT services for a large organisations. An established and trustworthy MSP provides access to expertise, skills and technology that you wouldn't otherwise have. This allows you to plan for the future, developing realistic business goals with a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to IT.
What's more, an MSP's cloud computing and hosting services – where you access your required IT systems and functions remotely over the internet – can deliver further benefits by way of reducing the cost of purchasing and maintaining IT infrastructure. A managed IT support provider can provide access to cloud computing, either directly or through a third party. Hosting and cloud computing services will allow you to store data in a secure environment and make savings on the ever-increasing costs of energy bills from running your own servers.
Private cloud computing services may include hosted email, disaster recovery, offsite backup and business continuity solutions. They can be combined with a fully managed Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offering. Iaas involves outsourcing the equipment used, including hardware, servers and network components; in Daas, an MSP hosts the back end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment. A virtual desktop looks like a standard desktop computer to your staff but can potentially be accessed, along with supported applications, 24 hours a day from any computer in the world. Both the Daas and Iaas models provide opportunities for data recovery.
The savings you make with fully managed IT support and improved efficiencies can allow you to invest in new technologies such as VoIP telephony or to allow you to develop a more efficient remote workforce. These, in turn, provide the potential for further savings. A fixed monthly fee gives you the ability to plan and predict costs. What's more, this type of service can be tailored to fit the needs of your business at it grows.
"Putting all your faith into one company is always a risk, but Tweedale recently did just that, by giving all its IT, telephone and mobile contracts to EBC Group. This decision was not taken lightly, a lot of research, meetings and discussions were held, but having worked with the team at EBC from the start of 2018, it is one of the best decisions we have made. Although a small company ourselves, there is no discrimination on attentiveness or willingness to provide a first rate service. Need we say more."
Tracey Parbery, Company Secretary at Tweedale Ltd
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Outsource vs In-house
Outsourcing IT support vs in-house IT team
Having an in-house IT support desk or team gives your staff access to a physical person if something goes wrong, and the possibility that you will have someone to conduct system and device checks when they are not occupied with urgent work. In reality, however, all sizes of in-house IT teams can be fully occupied with high-priority tasks, and have little incentive to meet targets for performance beyond this. Even if the team is working efficiently, the costs of employing an in-house IT team will be higher than paying an MSP, and your IT staff will not necessarily have the experience to cover all the technology systems you require.
Your IT team will have the benefit of being on first-name-terms with your staff and will have a good understanding of your IT systems and products. Another downside of this is that the knowledge is embodied in a group of individuals who will need time off through holiday and illness, and who can leave at any time they want and take that knowledge with them. The team may not be available whenever you require their help, and you could be in a situation where you are being charged for overtime if a problem occurs outside of office hours. Unlike an in-house IT team, an outsourced IT service can be more readily held to account for any discrepancies between what they promise to provide and what they actually deliver. Many are available 24-7 and 365 days a year so that you won't have to pay for staff overtime.
In reality, with an MSP you can choose which IT tasks are managed day to day in your business, and which ones you want to be managed externally. This can allow you to free up time from many time-consuming and dull tasks. An established managed IT support service will have the technical expertise to know whether your technology products and systems are running as efficiently and as cost-effectively as possible. They will be able to find any liabilities and challenges within your IT systems in terms of your business needs and work to address them. Your business still retains overall control of your IT systems, and the MSP should perform as a valuable member of your team who provides you with the knowledge and expertise to thrive.
You should check that a managed IT support provider is willing to travel to your site if needed, and that they are able to communicate well with your staff. You will need to be clear about what they are offering and how they understand your business priorities, so it is worth investing time to research what each service can offer to your organisation. For this reason, we have come up with some questions that might help you with your research.
"Worcestershire Wildlife Trust has been working with the EBC Group since October 2017. The team at EBC Group has managed a project to upgrade our server, update some of our IT equipment and complete the broadband connections across our offices. The technical team has been excellent throughout, whether remotely, through their technical support team, or on site."
Mike Perry, Head of Resources at Worcestershire Wildlife Trust
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Questions to ask your IT Support
Seven questions you should ask of a managed IT support service
1) Do they want to know how your business works? A value-for-money MSP will want to know about your unique business requirements to create a custom solution rather than trying to fit you into a one-size-fits-all model. This will mean being flexible in developing a package that incorporates your needs for access to your data, infrastructure, hardware and software in a cost-effective way. Ideally, they will have worked with similar business types and understand the business climate in your part of the world.
2) Does your MSP have the capacity to work with you in the long term? You want to make sure you work with an established and reputable managed IT support service, so that that you can trust them to be around in the long term.
3) Can they provide on-site support when you need it? In this case, find out where the MSP's nearest office is located in case help is needed for an on-site installation or implementation. The related question to ask is: what is their typical on-site response time?
4) Is the service available whenever you need it? For instance, you should find out if there are any limitations to the MSP's provision.
5) Does the MSP have a proven track record? This means asking for testimonials, ideally from previous clients in your field.
6) Does the managed IT support provider have experience of delivering IT strategy and IT reporting? Rather than simply thinking in the short term, you should be confident that your outsourced IT service has the ability to work with you to develop efficiencies down the line and to help you work towards your business goals. They should communicate this to you in a way that you can understand.
7) Does the MSP have the staff expertise and availability to provide the support they promise to deliver? While they may look good on paper, you ideally want to know that they follow best practice guidelines and are recognised by the industry for providing a high-quality service.
"EBC Group provide a trusted, knowledgeable service; very speedy and flexible. I love the fact that they are local and can respond both onsite and offsite. Their response times are phenomenal considering the work we expect them to do."
James Hurley, IT Manager at DRP
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Why choose EBC Group?
Why choose EBC Group for your IT technical support?
We pride ourselves on offering our clients our expertise, excellent value and efficiency. This means that we get to know your unique business circumstances and value our relationships with our customers. In this way, we can support you with all your IT and technology needs, including cyber security and business continuity, often for less than you are currently paying. We provide managed IT services to many leading businesses in the West Midlands, including Midlands Air Ambulance, Mayflex, Smurfit Kappa, Worcester Warriors, Talbots Law, Titan Steel, DRP, Worcestershire County Cricket Club and M-Lambe Construction. You can find out what our customers say about us on the 'testimonials' section of our website.
Established almost 30 years ago, EBC Group has grown to become one of the most respected workplace technology specialists in the UK. We provide managed services to hundreds of businesses and thousands of users across the country. Unlike many of our competitors, we are able to provide all of your IT and technology needs without outsourcing to a third party. This means that we can work with our clients to create support solutions that are tailored to their individual needs.
EBC Group is a wholly independent company working with and accredited by some of the leading global IT innovators and manufacturers. Everything we do is managed, maintained and supported by our own specialist team. Securely hosted at our own site in the UK, with fail-over at a secondary site, we ensure immediate access to your data, applications and systems 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
Whether you are a small business seeking an IT company that can offer additional knowledge and support, or a large organisation requiring a complete IT managed service, EBC Group will be pleased to help. We work with businesses of all sizes from a wide range of industries and sectors, from manufacturing and engineering to legal and professional services. We have earned many awards and accreditations throughout our history, and you find out more about how we have helped businesses make savings and improve efficiency through the testimonial section of our website.
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