Co-Managed IT Services Help Relieve Strain of Remote Support

Co-Managed IT Services Help Relieve Strain of Remote Support

Remote and hybrid work models present unusual demands for resource-strapped IT departments tasked with supporting the hardware, software, connectivity and security needs of employees across both office- and home-based environments. Many IT professionals admit they are overwhelmed by the day-to-day responsibilities.

Recent studies find that nearly 80 percent of IT professionals say remote support obligations require them to work longer hours with less time off. Nearly two-thirds report their workloads have increased by a third or more since going remote, and more than half say they’re burned out and considering a career change.

The problem is particularly acute for small and midsized enterprises (SMEs) that may have some full-time IT staff but lack the necessary depth of resources. The time and effort required to ensure that networks, systems, applications and end-user devices are operating properly prevents them from addressing more strategic business and operational goals.

These demands are driving accelerated adoption of co-managed services arrangements in which managed services providers (MSPs) supplement in-house IT staff. What separates co-management from other outsourcing models is that your in-house IT staff has a great deal of control over the arrangement by providing direction to external staff.

A co-managed IT engagement is closer to a partnership than a typical outsourcing arrangement. Your IT manager and internal IT staff take the lead on all projects, directing external staff to ensure that services meet your unique requirements. You can have the provider’s team help with routine tasks so your staff can work on more strategic initiatives, or you can take the opposite approach. It’s your call.

In many cases, the provider can offer a great deal of expertise and insight that your team may lack. The remote IT support issue is a good example. While your internal team may still be struggling with the tools and processes necessary to support an at-home workforce, MSPs are usually well-equipped for the task. In most cases, they’ve been providing remote network support to customers for years. They have a deep understanding of distributed networks and have already invested in leading-edge remote monitoring and management tools.

Additional advantages of the co-managed IT model include:

• Increased flexibility. You can scale staffing levels up or down as needed for certain projects, ranging from help desk functions, security, application management, network operations and more. It also lets you ramp up quickly by eliminating the recruiting and training process — the supplemental staff already has the skills needed to hit the ground running. And they’re available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to meet mission-critical requirements.

• Improved morale. An overstressed and unhappy workforce leads to increased turnover rates. An MSP can relieve your staff of much of the mundane and time-intensive troubleshooting tasks, allowing them to use their time and talents in ways that are more rewarding while helping the company operate more effectively and efficiently.

• Reduced risk. With around-the-clock monitoring, your provider can detect network outages or security events before they result in costly downtime or data loss. Combined with 24x7 help desk services, remote monitoring helps ensure quick resolution of any issues that could hamper productivity.

• Enhanced security. The increased dependence on devices outside company control creates multiple attack surfaces. An MSP can provide guidance to ensure employees are using good security practices from home. A provider can also ensure that application updates and patches are properly applied.

Changing workforce dynamics have increased the burden on IT staff. With so much focus and energy devoted to day-to-day support responsibilities for a widely distributed workforce, there’s little time for tackling more strategic initiatives. A co-managed IT services arrangement is an efficient way to access the manpower and expertise needed to achieve a better balance.