Managed networks are a popular IT solution for small and medium sized businesses. The ins and outs of exactly how they function though are still confusing to many new business owners. How do they work, why are they so popular, and what purpose do they serve? What is a managed network exactly?
How a Managed Network Works
A managed network is a network set up and overseen by a third party provider. This provider is often called a “Managed Services Provider,” or MSP for short. The MSP handles the software, the technical support, and the IT infrastructure for the client. As a small company grows, usually by around ten employees, business owners realize that everyone on their separate devices and servers just won’t work any longer. That is where managed network providers come in.
A managed network is managed remotely, delivered through the cloud. This means your MSP will rarely, if ever, be on-site and there is virtually nothing for a business owner to oversee themselves. The server space, software updates, antivirus, almost everything you can think of is managed by the provider.
Advantages of Using a Managed Service Provider
The two main advantages of using a managed service provider are cost and convenience. The MSP model allows small and medium sized businesses to have little to no IT staff in house while still benefitting from the use of a dedicated server and private network. Employees can share files and email clients with the knowledge that all information exchanged is private and secure.
MSPs handles all technical issues and will on-board new staff as well, meaning less time spent by valuable staff solving computer problems or setting up new hires. Let the MSP handle it. With a fixed cost model, there is no reason not to take full advantage of the services offered. You can also rest easy each month knowing that your IT costs are fixed and predictable.
How Managed Networks Came to Be
The idea of MSPs came about in the 1960s with the first telephone company to allow customers to pay a monthly fee to use telephone equipment owned by the provider. This model was very appealing to companies that did not have the need or means for switchboards and other communication equipment, but of course still needed to be able to manage multiple phone lines. As computer technology later emerged, this model was transferred to IT equipment and network management. The model has thrived because of the abundance of businesses that need the benefits of a computer network without the cost in-house IT equipment and staff.
What is a Managed Network?
In a nutshell, a managed network is a network of computers that is managed by an outside service provider, most often through the cloud. Server space, software updates, and technical support all come from this provider, allowing businesses without in-house IT staff all of the benefits of a full IT department. Managed networks are convenient and very cost effective in a business landscape where skimping on technology is nearly impossible.