It’s no secret that technology has advanced over the past decade.
We’ve seen new technology such as Windows 10, Amazon Echo, and Google Chromecast, and the Internet continued to advance as speed and access increased.
At The KR Group, the improvements with the Internet mean we now remotely service approximately 80% of our customer’s requests.
We still include as-needed and pre-scheduled on-site time with our clients, but we also offer a version of managed services for companies who don’t rely on the in-person portion of a managed IT services contract.
As with any servers, remote-only IT services have their pros and cons.
Ultimately, you know your business best and if remote-only services will work for you, but we hope this transparent look at the pros and cons will help you decide.
Pros of remote-only IT support
The best way to think about remote-only IT support from a managed services provider (MSP) is as a version of a managed IT services contract. Both include remote monitoring and management of your systems and IT support; the difference is the on-site portion of the contract.
When it comes to the pros, remote-only IT support:
- Has the same benefits of managed IT services
- Reduces the contract price.
- Is more flexible with location requirements
These positive aspects of remote-only support are appealing for many customers, and we’ll explain more of just what customers can enjoy with this option.
Same benefits of managed IT services
Many companies choose managed services because of the redundancy and availability they offer.
In IT, redundancy refers to having a back-up solution. MSPs operate this way by staffing multiple engineers to solve your problems or escalate it to someone who can.
These engineers are available to you when you sign a contract with an MSP. Once you find a reputable MSP, you’re entitled to all the knowledge and service they have to offer; there’s no need to go through the recruitment and hiring process.
Reduces the contract price
For a traditional managed IT services contract, you can expect to pay at least $500 per site for an audit, between $750 and $2,000 for firewall hardware and between $85 and $100 per month for software and back-up.
Generally, managed services are the most cost-effective option for IT support.
However, the reality is businesses have budgets. Sometimes, a managed IT services contract is still out of reach. MSPs who provide a remote-only managed IT services options provide an option for those companies who couldn’t historically afford an MSP.
Since a remote-only contract takes away the need for an engineer to drive and spend time on-site, remote IT support agreements are less expensive. They often are an option for businesses with budgetary constraints who still need IT support.
In general, companies that opt for remote-only support from an MSP can expect around 20% savings.
More flexible with location requirements
One benefit a remote IT support contract has that traditional managed services contracts don’t is flexibility with service distance.
Not only does taking the need to have an MSP engineer drive to your business decrease the cost, but it also means you don’t have to be within your MSP’s service radius.
For example, here at The KR Group, most of our MSP customers are within a 90-mile radius, but we provide remote-only IT support beyond that and even out of state.
However, you should keep in mind that if a problem arises that does require your MSP engineer to visit your office, you’ll be paying for travel, time, and material.
Cons of remote-only IT support
Remote-only support isn’t for everyone, though, and there are some cons.
We discuss some of the negatives of managed services in our article, “5 Common Managed IT Services Problems and How to Solve Them.” However, there are three problems specific to remote IT support:
- Customers tend to hold onto their problems until an on-site visit is warranted.
- Without an MSP engineer frequently visiting your company, it becomes easy to forget about managed services.
- IT can lose its cost-effectiveness if you require frequent on-site support.
For some companies, these problems might make them pause at remote-only IT support, but we’ll explain how they’re all avoidable.
Hold onto their problems
While it is ultimately your decision on how to run your business and place IT service requests, most MSPs, including us, recommend you request support as soon as a problem arises. Doing so informs your MSP immediately of the problem, so they can triage it for resolution.
However, often companies with remote IT support hold onto problems that might warrant an on-site visit until they have a handful of them that definitely require on-site assistance.
While the thought process might be to save an MSP time and yourself money, if you end falling into this pattern, you’re aren’t effectively using your IT.
The way to avoid this con is to inform your MSP of the problems you’re experiencing as they come up. If you are hoping to save an on-site visit for multiple problems, ask your MSP if the issue can wait. A reputable MSP will give you an honest answer.
Easy to forget about your MSP
One con many MSPs encounter with remote-only IT support is their customers easily take their IT support for granted.
Ideally, an MSP keeps your system running so smoothly you rarely encounter problems. When this happens and you don’t have pre-scheduled on-site visits with an MSP, it means they may fall off your radar.
For some companies, this translates into the question, “What am I paying for?”
While not having to think about your IT is the ideal scenario, it also makes it easy to forget about the proactive IT support taking place, such as RMM and providing antivirus software and back-up solutions.
In reality, the fact that you don’t have to think about your IT is evidence that what you’re paying for is worthwhile.
If you want to keep your MSP at the forefront of your mind, though, you can still schedule times to talk to them over the phone to check in periodically. This is still more distanced than a traditional managed services contract but will provide an opportunity to build a rapport.
Loss of cost-effectiveness
The whole idea behind remote-only IT support is that it is beneficial for businesses that don’t require frequent on-site assistance.
While you should plan for some of that 20% savings to go towards an occasional on-site request, most businesses see overall cost savings.
However, if your needs dictate frequent on-site support and you’re paying time and material for every visit, your costs can quickly exceed your savings. A traditional managed IT services contract is more than likely a better fit.
The good news is most MSPs are willing to work with you to adjust your contract if you realize you need more on-site assistance than you originally anticipated. (The same is also typically true if you realize remote support is a better fit than traditional managed services.)
Who is and isn’t remote-only IT support?
As our previous section suggested, remote-only IT support isn’t a good match for everyone.
We’ve talked about how those looking for the benefits of managed services, a more affordable price, and/or flexible location requirements can benefit from a remote-only IT support contract through an MSP.
On the flip-side, if you think you’ll tend to hold onto your IT problems, forget about your MSP, and/or require frequent on-site assistance, a traditional managed IT services or augmented IT services contract is likely a better fit?
Whether you decide to sign up for a remote-only or traditional managed services contract, the onboarding process will be similar. To start planning for beginning managed IT services, download our free onboarding checklist.