Managed Services - How it Works
DSTech Solutions often works with businesses on the rise, who want to bring their productivity to the next level. Many of these business managers and owners may not be familiar with higher-tier managed IT. They may have "had a guy" helping with computers and now that person needs some backup or more. Yet, having an internal IT department is inefficient and too costly for many mid-sized businesses. Or, your business may already be familiar with Managed Services Provider (MSP) plans, but need a better service provider and aren't yet familiar with DSTech Solutions. Either way, the following should help explain our process and why we do what we do...
Why Managed Services?
One of the first questions some owners ask is why they can't simply buy their computers and servers and then be on their way. With personal computers or home businesses this is often how it's done. We have encountered many businesses who have tried to make this 'break-fix' approach work way past where they should. The result is frequent costly down-time, many calls to technicians, and a lot of lost money on labor costs until the next disaster. Some of these have even ruined businesses, such as with crypto-locker virus attacks, business data lost to bad backups, and more.
A business computer network is like an organism. There is constantly new data coming in and out of the system, user errors, malicious attacks, system updates that break compatibility, expired licenses, and hardware issues over time. Not having an MSP plan for your business system is like buying a car and expecting never to have to change the oil, check the tires, or fill the gas. This is why IT departments exist.
Fortunately, DSTech makes it possible for businesses to have all the advantages of an IT department without the payroll and other in-house expenses. Unlike the cousin or friend or individual technician, we offer a number of advantages. These include: coverage for emergencies by more than one person; access through our vendor relationships to better tech at better pricing and better warranties; the shared expertise of an IT team, all familiar and consulting on your system; constant monitoring tools; world-class experience and security knowledge with some of America's largest corporations. The idea behind managed services is the same as prevention vs treatment in healthcare - and just the same, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of treatment.
What MSP Plan Can Include
Your MSP plan will be customized to your network's size and complexity level, and to the needs of your business. We are not interested in the 'quick sell and leaving' approach. We want a long term partnership with our clients so our incentive is for your systems to work into the future, priced reasonably to your business. The MSP plan is billed monthly and involves a contract of at least one year. Depending on what's needed, an MSP plan can include the following:
- Remote and On-site Rapid Response
- System Monitoring & Down-time Prevention
- Backup and Disaster Recovery
- Data Security from Top-Tier Experts
- Ransomware, Malware, and Virus Protection
- Phone Systems / Hosted Exchange Services
- Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
- Printers and Copier Leasing, Sales, and Service
- Cloud Virtualization
- Servers and Workstations can even be leased as part of your plan (never buy another computer)
Next we'll explain our process for bringing on new clients...
Step 1: Free Consultation
The first step in our process is the free consultation. This should be scheduled with a person who can answer higher level decisions on your business needs and make decisions about your purchases and technology. We will get to know one another and see if we are a good fit. You will be able to ask questions about us, plan options, your systems, tech issues, and more. Click here to contact us to schedule your free consultation.
Step 2: Technical Audit
After consultation, if it looks like we are a good fit for your company, we will schedule an audit. Before a business can qualify for an MSP plan, we need to be sure your computers and network do not have any problems or issues that would prevent smooth maintenance over time. We will also need to have everything documented so our technicians are familiar with your systems. Lastly, you may want upgrades to your system given your business' growth, higher level operations, more employees, and so on - which is your choice and discussed in the consultation.
On the day of the audit our technicians will conduct a thorough study of your current computers, servers, firewall, software needs, and other technical conditions. Here we are only observing and making notes, not altering anything. These notes will allow our technicians to be intimately familiar with your system and your business requirements for it. The audit is designed to have a very low impact on your business operations. We will need about 15-30 minutes at each PC and about 1-2 hours examining each server and an hour on the firewall.
From this audit, our senior techs will be able to find problems with your current system such as security issues, backup vulnerabilities, imminent crashes or performance issues, underpowered and overpowered systems for their respective duties, and more. The senior tech will then develop a plan of projects that will bring your computer system up to where it needs to be, given all of the business uses you require. In the days following the audit we will bring all of this together in a report that will be provided to you.
This list of projects will include descriptions and costs for each (equipment, warranties, licenses, shipping, and labor). Not all of these projects may be necessary at once. For your budget considerations, projects will be outlined and grouped according to how urgent they are, and planned in a workable manner. Things which respond to immediate dangers to your system will be first, followed by those which are necessary in order for your system to qualify for an MSP plan. After that may be listed some recommended but not crucial projects, which will increase your productivity, efficiency, or security - but which may not be required for an MSP plan. Some of these may, however, lower the cost of your monthly MSP plan (much like taking certain precautions lowers the price of an insurance plan).
In your initial free consultation, we can give you pricing information for the audit, which depends on the extent of the work needed for your particular operation. If you choose to proceed with us on the MSP plan (and any required projects needed to qualify for an MSP plan), the price of the audit will be folded into those costs, becoming free to MSP clients. However, even if you chose not to proceed with us, the extensive analysis, consultation, and recommendations of a DSTech Audit Report alone is of great value to any business, and could be used anywhere into the future.
Step 3: Projects
The projects outlined and proposed (in this order) in the audit report are designed to:
- Address any immediate security or imminent crash situations
- Bring your system up to par such that it qualifies for an MSP plan
- Integrate DSTech Solutions tools and software needed to monitor and maintain your systems
- Achieve business performance excellence, cost efficiency, and position for future growth
It is possible your current system is already functioning perfectly and meets the requirements of an MSP plan, in which case, only the projects for the last two points above would be included. Realistically, unless you've already been operating with an MSP plan or top IT management, your system will likely need at least a few projects. All of these will be clearly explained, outlined, and planned over time in a way that is within your budget. Our goal is that every dollar you spend with us becomes an investment that makes you more profitable than what you invest. There is no substitute for knowing that the technology that runs your business is being cared for, looked after, and planned for the benefit of your business growth.
Step 4: Managed Services Plan
At the point where your network is capable of covering the needs of your business operations, and set up to run smoothly, we can begin an excellent monitoring plan that includes addressing issues as and before they come up. This is where your business will begin to see real payoff. When we are at our best, you won't be thinking about us - you'll be able to focus on your business.
Security Testing & Auditing
Our team has experience working data and security projects for America's leading banks and other corporations. Cyber crime, Hacking, Identity Theft, and Ransomware schemes can destroy a business and are on the rise. We can provide testing and fortification of your networks and other systems.
Contact us to schedule a security assessment.
Note for healthcare providers: We have become specialists in HIPAA compliance standards and can even address your Security Risk Assessment (SRA) and other HIPAA requirements. Learn more about our Managed IT for Healthcare Providers.
Risk Management, Disaster Preparation, and Recovery
It is extremely common to find businesses whose entire history of contacts and accounts is hanging by a thread and they don't even realize it. Our backup services go beyond the norm, providing multiple secure sites and time periods. Further, we test whether backup systems are working properly so a broken backup system isn't discovered when the restoration is critical.
Click here to learn more about our Risk Management services.
Custom Software Development
We are one of the few full-service IT providers with in-house custom software development. Our team members have developed secure systems for some of the nation's leading banks and other corporations, as well as helping with unusual small business needs.
Contact us for details.
Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions
We can also manage, design, and implement custom solutions that require interfacing computer systems to specialized equipment, such as bar code scanners, manufacturing machinery, healthcare instruments, and more.
Contact us for details.
DSTech Solutions can provide full digital signage for your office, waiting rooms, show floors, and more. These dynamic and easily changeable systems are quickly becoming a popular option for businesses in many sectors.
Contact us for details.
Server & Workstation Provision
Your business need never buy another computer. We can provide workstations, servers, and other equipment your business needs to run for a flat monthly fee. This can even be integrated into your managed service plan.
Contact us for details.
We also design, manage, and implement customized projects of all sizes and types to meet any business' needs. Click here for detailed descriptions and case studies of special business enhancement projects we have performed for major corporate accounts.
Call (832) 975-1825