How many times has something stopped working like it should? If you manage an office, have computer problems disrupted your business when something breaks? How do you get computer problems resolved?
In the computer repair business, there are essentially two basic service models: 1) Break-fix and 2) Managed services.
At ClickIT, we have a third service model. It’s basically a “hybrid” of the two we call “Hybrid Services”. This is something a small business can easily afford and it certainly is justifiable. I’ll briefly explain the standard service models below first, and then explain Hybrid Services.
Most organizations have the philosophy, “Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke”, as the saying goes. So if you’re like most, you won’t fix something if it seems to be working just fine. Therefore, when something does stop working, for many in businesses that depend on computers, it can feel like a fire drill and is often very disruptive.
So in desperation, you go to the phone book (if you can’t get online) or Google and search “computer repair”, unless you have a regular tech. You then explore your options by calling whomever, or whatever pops up on the page or screen — anyone you can speak with to help you decide what to do and how to get the problem fixed.
This is why we call this the “break-fix service model” in our business. It breaks, you bring it in and we fix it. The problem with this method of maintaining your IT is that it obviously can get very expensive, fast. Unexpected expenses are the enemy of any budget. The worst thing is when it happens, it affects your cash flow, as we’ve heard many times. This is why having a managed services plan in place is a better choice of the two service models. However, is it affordable? It is the classic battle of, “Pay me now or pay me later.”
Large organizations can’t operate under this break-fix service model. The risks associated with it do not make good business sense. Managing preventable disruptions to a business is a necessity when the fluctuation of cash flow isn’t an issue. Large organizations typically have a dedicated staff maintaining their computerized systems so if they do break unexpectedly, there is a plan in place to deal with it. Every scenario is covered. Preventative maintenance of computer systems and networks is the foundation of what’s referred to as “Managed Services”. There are all sorts of different ways an organization like ClickIT provides managed services to organizations as an MSP (Managed Services Provider), who “outsource” this function. A lot depends on many factors, such as the age of the appliances monitored and maintained, the make-up of that equipment, and the software and hardware maintenance plans in place. Without getting too deeply involved in describing too much in a blog, I’ll just say that every MS (managed services) plan is unique in how it is designed and implemented. For us as a business at ClickIT, taking on this degree of responsibility for a business, where they have “outsourced” to us their managed services work, it is a matter of reserving our skilled labor and scheduling their time.
So, to summarize the difference between these two standard IT services models, what happens when a computer breaks is preventative through a maintenance plan called “Managed Services”. However, most small businesses can’t justify the expense of having a managed services plan in place because the charge is fixed, and paid monthly. So they typically have their computer systems fixed only when they break.
Like the term “hybrid-cloud”, which you may have heard about in the news, “hybrid services” is a combination of the two service models described above. To describe this third service model simply, we put monitoring software on your devices (computers, services, laptops) and then warn you of a pending problem we see indicated through our connection with this software. We charge a very nominal fee for this type of monitoring, and then tell you of something we see that could go wrong, if the issue is not addressed. We then propose a solution, and you can either have us do the work, or get a second opinion. There is no obligation. This type of service is affordable and sensible, and any business can justify the monthly expense.
Obviously, a critical component in a computer is the hard drive where all the data is stored. Hard drives have a signature that, like a heart beating, indicate their health. We monitor this to see if there is an impending failure possibly coming soon, and then suggest a replacement. Operating systems and software, along with Internet browsers, for instance, are changing constantly, and this requires that you download updates. Many updates have to do with the prevention of viruses and worms invading your network, called “security vulnerabilities”. Under a managed services contract ClickIT would do these updates; testing them ahead of actually installing them, because updates can break things and actually do quite often.
Instigating Hybrid Services lets our administrators provide the critical information needed to make intelligent decisions about how to keep systems operating smoothly and efficiently. Through the use of specialized software, ClickIT can turn on many additional service features for customers to benefit from. including the following:
In this world of IT cyber-wars and the fact that we’re so dependent on electronic systems, just about anything can go wrong. Luckily today, we can monitor and manage just about anything. For instance, watching over what employees are doing on your network has become crucial today. Below is a list of optional features ClickIT can provide when setting up Hybrid Services for customers:
- Controlled access to the configuration and monitoring interface
- Monitor or block a connection in real time
- Monitor or block applications’ hidden downloads
- Action-based alerts
- Search engine keyword monitoring
- Support for virtual environments
- Whitelist and blocklist
- Policy exceptions
- HTTPS scanning
- Proxy caching
- Anonymization of personal data
- Delegated role-based access to UI and reports
- Local agents apply policies to roaming laptops and notebooks.
For more information or to sign up for our “hybrid preventative-maintenance services”, visit www.clickitco.com or call us at (440) 247-4998.