One of the biggest lessons to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of technology in business. Companies that were prepared to transition their services to a more virtual offering found ways to continue operations, and even thrive during lockdown orders.
Until now, you may not have considered the ways in which you needed to pandemic-proof your business in order to keep things running. Any under-preparedness within your company likely revealed itself as you worked to pivot your services during covid so you could continue communicating with your team and customers.
Although we do not want to think about future pandemics, unknowns must always be considered in business. Covid-19 serves as a lesson in how to modify your services to transition to a virtual vertical. By taking steps to move towards managed services, you can evolve your business for both your clients and employees.
What is a managed service?
A managed service is a service to which a business subscribes regularly. The service performs a specific task designed to improve communications, operations, or efficiency. Managed services differ from utilities (such as your internet service provider) and consist of a long-term relationship built between businesses to ensure ongoing performance and quality. Here is a list of items that a managed service provider (MSP) might handle for your business:
Managed networks & infrastructure - Eliminates the cost of owning and operating a data center.
Managed computer security - Allows for remote security within your organization, including anti-virus, malware, ransomware, and more.
Managed communication services - Merges data, voice, and video services on the same IP network (think call center).
Managed wireless & mobile computing - Gives your organization wireless capabilities without having to endure the cost and implementation within your business.
Managed print services - Enables remote monitoring, updating, and management of your organization’s document management infrastructure.
Managed support services – Handles traditional help desk responsibilities, including support tickets submitted by your employees to get help with IT problems and network equipment.
Data analytics - Captures and analyzes data that reveals trends and patterns for clients so they can take appropriate steps to further their business goals.
Managed cloud infrastructure – A managed service provider manages your organization’s computing, storage, network, and operating systems. This may also include managing tools and application stacks (databases, e-commerce platforms, and DevOps tools) that run on your infrastructure.
Managed software-as-a-service (SaaS) - Provider hosts and delivers the application to the customer and makes sure it is continuously updated and improved. In some cases, the MSP is the SaaS provider.
How businesses across the nation used managed services to respond to COVID-19
From restaurants utilizing apps for curbside pickup to school superintendents shifting to online schooling, we have seen the incredible ways that managed services helped businesses pivot during COVID-19.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants were some of the hardest-hit businesses in our area. Those who had preexisting managed services through delivery companies, such as Uber Eats and Post Mates, were able to pivot quickly to takeout and delivery-only service. To mitigate the need to answer hundreds of phone calls a day, some restaurants even developed online forms and apps designed to take orders for them.
Insurance agents already use a cloud-based system to communicate with insurance providers. Some agencies were already using online video conferencing to meet with prospective and current clients. These agencies quickly adapted to the new world of social distancing by meeting with clients and having documents signed electronically.
Even with closed courts and social distancing in place, attorneys began using secure video conferencing, teleconferences, and electronic signatures with services like DocuSign to replace their office hours.
With medical professionals put at some of the highest risk of COVID-19 exposure, many healthcare offices took advantage of electronic record systems and telehealth services to minimize in-person appointments. Some medical offices had already integrated Managed IT Services, so they could continue to ensure that their communications remained secure.
With the unforeseen school closures came the need for school boards to pivot to virtual classrooms. Using managed services, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, allowed schools to create a secure platform for students and teachers to communicate, all while keeping proper security measures in place.
How do I get started?
While most businesses have fully reopened, some sectors and services will never be the same. Remote operations are now a common part of society and that likely won’t be changing any time soon.
Partnering with professionals that understand your business goals can help you better prepare for the future (whatever it may look like). Managed services allow you to focus on the customers and employees that matter most.
If you found yourself scrambling for solutions or waiting on hold with different companies as you tried to piece together a plan amid the COVID-19 pandemic, contact us today. Bit-Wizards can help you figure out which managed services will help you meet your business goals and eliminate your IT worries.