IT Managed Services and Remote Work Environments: The New Normal

IT manages services for remote work environments

For years, people thought the best work happened in an office, closely supervised by managers. But the global pandemic changed everything, forcing businesses to adopt a new way of working. Surprisingly, this shift led to higher productivity for many. Yet, this new approach to work also brought its own challenges, especially in managing the technology that supports day-to-day operations.

This article looks at how IT managed services are key to helping businesses move smoothly into productive remote work environments. We’ll cover the importance of leveraging these services, the advantages of outsourcing IT support, and practical steps to implement these solutions effectively. Plus, we’ll share thoughts on how IT managed services are changing to support a workforce that’s been deeply affected by recent events.

Why IT Managed Services are Crucial for Remote Work Environments

Every successful business, from small startups to big multinational corporations, relies on a solid IT infrastructure. This vital support system ensures everything operates smoothly. Before the pandemic, only 17% of U.S. employees worked from home full-time, a figure that rose to 44% during the pandemic, as reported by Statista. With the shift to remote work to maintain operations, the importance of IT managed services grew significantly. Even though the number of remote workers has decreased as employees returned to in-office settings post-pandemic, remote and hybrid work models remain widespread. This emphasizes the continued need for reliable IT support.

Seamless Connectivity

One major challenge of remote work environments is ensuring employees have a stable and secure connection from any location. IT managed services play a crucial role in keeping the workforce connected through reliable network management. This includes the setup and management of VPNs, essential for remote access to work resources.

Cybersecurity Measures

Beyond handling logistics, IT managed services also protect from cyber threats. With a dispersed workforce that is inherently more vulnerable, these services have become more important. IT managed services providers have ramped up security to fight off an increase in cybersecurity risks, like phishing scams and malware attacks. This issue is echoed by executives, with 73% believing remote workers are a bigger security risk than those in the office, a survey by Open VPN shows. To counter these risks, managed services providers offer robust cybersecurity solutions, including firewalls, anti-malware tools, and regular security assessments, to protect sensitive data and prevent breaches.

Data Protection and Recovery

Data plays a critical role for every business, making its protection vital. IT managed services providers offer essential data backup and recovery services to businesses. These services help businesses quickly recover important data after incidents like cyberattacks, system failures, or human mistakes. This way, businesses can reduce downtime and avoid big disruptions, keeping operations smooth and protecting their reputation.

Streamlined Communication

In a remote work environment, clear communication is essential. IT managed services facilitate this through the implementation and management of unified communication solutions that integrate email, video conferencing, instant messaging, and voice calls, enabling efficient collaboration among team members.

Around-the-Clock Support

At home, IT support needs to be as equally accessible as it is in office. Managed services providers bridge this gap, offering systems and IT support staff ready to help across time zones. This setup prevents technical problems from turning into days of lost productivity for remote workers facing IT issues on their own.

IT managed services for remote work environments

What are the Benefits of Outsourcing IT Support for Remote Work Environments?

Cost-Effectiveness

Outsourced IT services provide a cost-effective alternative to in-house support teams. By subscribing to a managed services model, businesses can often reduce their IT expenditures through fixed monthly fees, streamlined operations, and the elimination of costly downtime.

Expertise and Specialization

IT managed services providers bring deep expertise and up-to-date knowledge of the latest IT trends and solutions to the table. Their specialized skills allow them to address complex IT issues efficiently, improving system performance and reliability.

Flexibility and Scalability

The flexible nature of managed services enables businesses to scale their IT operations according to their needs. Whether it’s onboarding new employees or adapting to changing work patterns, IT managed services providers can provide the support required to maintain business agility.

Making the Shift to Managed IT Services

For businesses considering a transition to managed IT services to enhance their remote work environment, the key steps involve assessing current IT infrastructure, identifying needs, and choosing a provider that best matches their unique requirements and industry standards.

  • Assess Your IT Infrastructure: Start by evaluating your current IT setup and support systems. Pinpoint areas needing improvement or updates to efficiently support a fully remote or hybrid workforce.
  • Determine Your Needs: Identify the specific requirements of your remote workers, such as collaboration tools, access to systems and data, cybersecurity protocols, and compliance standards.
  • Choose the Right Managed Services Provider:  Choose an MSP that has expertise in remote work environments and can offer comprehensive services customized for your business needs. Look for flexibility, scalability, and a strong focus on security and compliance.
  • Implement a Strategic Plan: Collaborate with your MSP to craft a strategic plan that aims for minimal operational disruption. Ensure clear communication of the changes and their advantages to your team for a seamless transition.
IT managed services for remote work environments

The Future of IT Managed Services and Remote Work

Remote work isn’t going anywhere. According to a study by Upwork, by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely, an 87% increase from before the pandemic. This shift has big implications for IT managed services as businesses adjust to the challenges and opportunities of remote work.

Emerging Technologies

IT is constantly evolving, with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) promising to revolutionize the way we work. IT managed services providers will play a pivotal role in integrating these technologies into remote work environments.

Adapting Best Practices

Remote work has already necessitated a re-evaluation of best practices for IT management. In the future, we can expect a continued shift towards more adaptive and flexible approaches that prioritize remote accessibility without compromising on security or performance.

The Role of Remote-First Offices

As remote-first offices become more common and an estimated 26% of workers in the United States now operating in a hybrid model—an increase from 25% last year according to Owl Labs’ 2023 State of Hybrid Work report—managed services are adapting to support this hybrid workforce. This means putting more focus on mobile solutions, tools for remote monitoring and management, and continuously pushing for technological innovation.

Conclusion

The move to remote work has emphasized how important good IT management is for keeping businesses resilient and continuous. IT managed services providers have what it takes to tackle the challenges of today’s world, offering the know-how, support, and new ideas needed to create and maintain effective and secure remote work environments. As companies keep using these services, they’ll be in a stronger position to not only survive but also succeed in the constantly changing digital space.

Looking for IT management solutions for your remote work environment? Contact SOHO Solutions now. Our expert team offers high-quality, customized services to meet your specific needs. We’ll help simplify remote work for you and keep your business ahead with the latest technology.

Frequently Asked Questions

The costs can vary depending on the services you require, but generally, transitioning to a managed services model can lead to cost savings in the long term through fixed monthly fees, reduced downtime, and by eliminating the need for a large in-house IT staff. MSPs offer scalable services that can be tailored to your specific needs, potentially offering a more economical solution as your remote work environment evolves.

IT managed services providers offer a broader range of experience due to their exposure to various industries and challenges, enabling them to deal with complex issues more efficiently. Additionally, they provide 24/7 support, ensuring that remote workers receive immediate help, regardless of their location or time zone.

Yes, IT managed services can help businesses design, implement, and manage a remote work infrastructure that meets their unique needs. This includes selecting the right technologies, setting up secure access points, and ensuring that communication tools are integrated seamlessly. Get in touch with us to learn more!

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