An increasing number of colleges and universities are taking advantage of managed IT services to augment their IT staff and cost-effectively fill holes in their organizations. Services include 24/7 help desks, application and network support, IT security, and cloud-based data backup and recovery.
Managed service providers (MSPs) have become an attractive option for some higher education institutions as they face budget shortfalls and reduced IT budgets, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they are relying more on technology for online instruction and remote work. Indeed, a recent EDUCAUSE survey found that 63 percent of colleges had slashed their IT budgets for the 2020-2021 academic year.
“Managed services of all types help with organizations’ staffing limitations. They eliminate the need for an upfront capital investment in equipment,” says Amy Larsen DeCarlo, a principal analyst with GlobalData. “The subscription-based model is more predictive. You can budget more accurately, and in areas where organizations have little expertise, such as security, managed IT services can be helpful.”
Making 24/7 Network Support Possible
As part of his IT transformation effort, McKenzie looks for ways to operate more effectively and efficiently. Managed services, he says, can accomplish that.
Lincoln University, a 2,200-student, historically Black public college near Oxford, Pa., has a core of 15 IT staffers, two of whom are network administrators. To augment his staff, McKenzie recently contracted with CDW Technology Support (CTS), a managed service that provides the university with 24/7 technical support for Cisco infrastructure.
Previously, the university received reliable technical support, but it would often take 30 minutes to an hour and multiple points of contact to reach the needed support person, McKenzie says. Now, he and his team can simply contact CDW to have an expert work directly with Cisco to troubleshoot the problem, allowing his IT personnel to focus on more strategic projects.