It’s simple. Every business in the world relies on the power of information technology. IT solutions are the core element and a driving force of the Fourth industrial revolution.
In fact, the global IT spending reached just shy of $4 trillion in 2021 (20% larger than in 2020)!
The fact that IT represents the foundation of almost every single company is not up to debate. Now, the question is — what types of IT services are required?
When it comes to services in IT, there’s plenty to choose from and that choice largely depends on multiple factors including your specific niche/industry, product and/or services, compliance and security requirements, budget, data storage and ultimately – your business goals.
Before we continue helping you determine the right kind of IT business service, we should first define it.
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What Are IT Services?
Put simply, IT services are the essential services that provide businesses access to technical tools, as well as the means to streamline operational processes and daily tasks.
In other words, IT services refer to the application of business and technical expertise to help organizations of all sizes in the creation, management, optimization and access of information and business processes.
As is often the case, specialized teams with established expertise in IT or computer science background are primarily those who manage these services for organizations across industries. Depending on the business type, the IT services team can either comprise internal teams or external IT teams.
For example, in the field of medicine, hospitals to be precise, an internal IT team provides services that keep crucial databases operational and easy to use for all staff members. On the other hand, in a small business setting, IT services primarily include data and accounts storage and network security that a third party takes care of.
Understanding the different types of IT services will help you determine which ones you actually need when looking for a competent IT service provider.
There is an expansive IT support services list. No matter the scope or context of your business, some of them are a MUST HAVE to help you reach your goals.
What Are the Types of IT Services?
While the lines between them may be blurred, depending on aforementioned factors like industry, requirements, etc., there are three main categories of IT services:
- Business process services
- Application services
- Infrastructure services
And when outsourced, they fall into a business process outsourcing (BPO), application outsourcing (AO) and infrastructure outsourcing.
Here is a list of IT support services your business can benefit from:
1. Hardware and Software Support
Some types of IT services, like hardware installation, support and maintenance tend to be outsourced on-demand as it usually involves work like repairs or replacement of outdated equipment.
A professional provider will dispose of your hardware correctly, which includes formatting hard drives to wipe them of all potentially sensitive information (as simple data deletion poses a security risk).
IT departments are usually responsible for installing the computers, hard drives, printers, modems and routers that the business needs to operate successfully. On the other hand, wherever there are tons of hardware equipment, there is a constant need for repairs.
Repairing also includes troubleshooting for errors. Software services or software asset management (SAM) usually includes making sure that your licenses are always current and that your company is complying with various end-user agreements.
Additionally, the SAM service providers aim to reduce software costs by finding unused and redundant licenses.
IT services can also include software development companies' processes, i.e., the creation of custom-tailored applications that fulfill specific business needs.
2. Network Infrastructure Management
The business’s network infrastructure typically includes its internet connectivity and internal networking between computers and other devices. Network services start with the configuration of infrastructure at your location, including setting up servers, installing firewalls for preventing malicious traffic, etc.
Network management also refers to monitoring the network to spot and react to abnormal traffic and intrusions. Businesses with remote access, intricate payment systems and other specific network types require round-the-clock monitoring.
3. Network Security
Data is a key component of any organization. Although data is an invaluable asset in many important decisions, strategies and plans, it’s useless without the ability to seamlessly share and safeguard it.
Therefore, one of the most demanded IT support services is network security. Providers specializing in this service ensure that their clients’ data remains under lock.
In addition to managing network systems, businesses need robust network policies. These could include preventing outside logins into the system, requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA), cybersecurity measures implementation, installing virtual private networks (VPNs) and other steps.
4. Mobile Device Management
Today, everybody brings their own phones to work and also uses them for work purposes. However, not every business has a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) system in place to secure sensitive data and assets on these external devices.
According to a Symantec report, one in 36 devices used in organizations was classified as high risk. This included devices that were rooted or jailbroken, along with devices that likely had malware installed.
An IT services provider may help implement BYOD within organizations through mobile device management (MDM) which lets business owners enforce security policies on employees’ devices.
5. Data Storage and Management
As an extension of our previous points, another important service related to data is, well, data storage and management. Since data is crucial for all businesses and companies no matter their scope and background, one of the highest paying managed IT services is data storage and management.
Usually, managed IT service providers set up servers and databases that host the company’s data. They not only store their client companies’ data but also come up with strategies and techniques that allow easy and efficient access to it, resulting in companies/businesses having more time to focus on other key areas and tasks.
Beyond data storage, hosting and security measures, sensitive data needs to be regularly backed up. Backup solutions protect the data and mitigate potential information loss by storing copies of data on external hardware or online platforms, such as a cloud service. Information backup services can help protect your business's information should any issues occur, like a power outage or system failure.
6. Cloud Services
The cloud is basically an online platform that can store and access information and programs. Cloud services are gaining more and more popularity, beyond mere data storage. They are not only budget-friendly and economical (they are scalable, meaning you pay only for the services you need), but are great in terms of performance and efficiency as well.
Cloud services provide quick access to everything you need on the go. Moreover, the implemented security protocols and access control strategies are more efficient than physical storage locations.
Additionally, cloud services allow employees to join meetings and work on projects from any location, which is especially useful if you have remote workers or operate in multiple locations.
Cybersecurity is an intrinsic part of each of the IT services listed above. However, it’s worth discussing on its own because it’s a fairly complex and constantly evolving field.
While many of the above-mentioned services cover cybersecurity to some degree, if you are at particular risk from a targeted attack, it’s crucial to invest in “heavier armor,” so to speak.
IT service providers typically keep track of all the trends and shifts, as well as invest in the necessary technologies and skills to keep themselves and their clients secure. In turn, you don’t need to distract your internal IT department from keeping up with these issues. Instead, you can focus on your core goals.
If you neglect cybersecurity, several things could happen, including:
- Risk of data loss or theft
- Disruption to your operations
- Loss of credibility, trust, reliability
To improve your security, the first step would be to install anti-malware software that protects you from viruses, spyware, ransomware and trojans. Since cybercriminals are always adapting their strategies, it’s absolutely necessary to make sure you have the latest versions and security patches.
However, 95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error, so it is advisable to pair your internal security with expansive employee training.
8. Technology Training
While tech training is not one of the standard types of IT service, it’s becoming more sought after, especially since technology and software change often and exponentially quicker. Technology training helps your internal team learn how to operate updated devices and software, which in turn helps them use said tools more efficiently and with minimal questions.
Many IT services providers include technology training for business teams that focus on technical tools and resources for their everyday operations.
9. IT Consulting
What is IT consulting and how is it different from your basic technology training? Basically, IT consulting helps you identify which IT services are the most beneficial for your business.
The IT consulting service providers assess the needs of a business and company to determine which IT pathway would be best for them based on their goals/requirements. Afterward, they may help clients deploy selected IT Services and maintain them.
How To Choose the Right Type of IT Services?
Depending on the size of your business, as well as your industry, the services will depend on the following:
- Your employees’ expertise
- The time and resources you can dedicate to IT
- The security level you require
In any case, you’re bound to outsource some types of IT services and hire a Managed Service Provider (MSP). Many small businesses choose this option, as it makes it easier to receive a variety of services from just one place. Alternatively, you may decide to outsource a specific service and contract others when you need them.
Types of IT Services Takeaways
IT business services are necessary not only to stay afloat in the current business environment or have a leg up the competition. They are now irreplaceable to streamline and maintain your daily business operations, whether its internal communication, data storage, high-quality equipment and more.
IT services can be divided into three categories:
- Business process services
- Application services
- Infrastructure services
The 8 types of IT services your business can benefit from are:
- Hardware and software support
- Network Infrastructure Management
- Mobile device management
- Data storage and management
- Cloud services
- Technology training
- IT Consulting