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What does proactive IT support really mean?

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As a rule, managed service providers love to speak of proactivity over reactivity. However, although we know how to define the benefits of the “proactive approach,” the actual execution tends to remain a mystery to business owners. What’s more, overly complex, inflexible business models and agreements often don’t support the time and effort integral to “proactive work.” At MyITpros, we’ve put together some practical steps to demystify the art of getting out in front of potential IT disasters.

Clear agreements

Let’s start with the agreement. Some MSPs will provide numerous agreements to choose from, in which you’ll find hourly services, break/fix estimates and pools of support time per month. We keep it super simple here at MyITpros, adhering to the belief that an agreement should give your service team time to build relationships and maintain systems. With this in mind, we have a grand total of two agreements, neither of which has a cap on time.

Monitoring and alerting

At MyITpros, we’ve designed a remote management and monitoring tool to keep track of hot-button issues that can bring a server or network to its knees. This tool can detect issues before they happen by keeping track of predictive hard drive failure warnings and alerting you when your endpoint security (antivirus program) needs to be updated.

Arguably the most critical part of our proactive monitoring is our technology roadmap. Twice a year, we provide clients with a list of their technology, mapping out what needs to be updated/replaced and when. All the hardware and software used in a business has a life cycle, and staying on top of those replacement schedules is important for security, budgeting and business efficiency.

We also have a team dedicated to the upkeep and evolution of our monitoring tools. Don’t set and forget; remote management and monitoring systems need review too!

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Regular reviews

Regularly scheduled reviews are the final item that anchors our approach. First, we perform a monthly review during which we check/test the health of backups, patch endpoints and more. This usually creates “spin-off” tickets for our service team to address the issues uncovered. While I’d love to never find any problems during reviews, the fact that we do identify and address issues means the review process is working.

In addition to the monthly checkups, we also have a quarterly on-site visit during which we get face time with our clients and take the pulse of the business, identifying areas of growth and identifying the company’s short- and long-term goals. Finally, we hold biannual, large-scale meetings during which we do in-depth analysis and present a report card of the client’s infrastructure, make improvement recommendations based on report card scores and assist in growth planning.

For MSPs, maintenance isn’t sexy or super-exciting work, and it doesn’t generate a ton of dollars for the bottom line. On the flip side, nothing hits harder than an unexpected disaster. With that in mind, we advise you to:

  • Build simple agreements that flex enough to allow system maintenance without directly costing your clients
  • Dedicate time to build out your monitoring tools and dedicate people to your process evolution
  • Create regularly scheduled reviews of key infrastructure items, keeping in mind that finding things in need of attention show the process is working; over time, you’ll encounter far fewer “major” problems and hone the science to simple maintenance and upkeep

NewmanCircle-1.png Matt Newman, Service Manager 

The purpose of this blog is to answer the questions you ask! For more information around MyITpros' managed services and approach to proactive IT, feel free to contact us! You can also visit our services pages to learn more about what we do, and how we do it!

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