Let's identify and fix three common problems with Co-Managed IT services. MSP services don't always succeed as planned. It's sad but true. Like any relationship, bad matches between clients and their MSPs are a two-way street. One company's best-in-class MSP is...
How Does Co-Managed IT Help Mortgage Companies? (4 Examples)
Co-Managed IT gives this mortgage company the best of both worlds.
A 200-person mortgage company has a variety of IT needs. In this blog, I’ll review a series of tickets from a Co-Managed IT client with two full-time IT people on staff, who share technical support responsibilities with us.
In a nutshell, this collaborative arrangement allows their onsite team to focus on line of business software support (and timely, “grab by the collar” requests). For example, one of their brokers may need immediate help processing an online mortgage application or generating a report in Salesforce.
Integris’s role applies to another technology area: all of the backend infrastructure support, automated system upkeep, data backup, cybersecurity, compliance frameworks, and more.
These foundational assets are almost always more cost-effectively managed by an MSP.
All client IT systems and user devices are continuously monitored, tracked, and mapped to ticketing tiers within Connectwise, Integris’s Professional Services Automation (PSA).
Four different types of tickets are created in this IT support plan then prioritized according to severity: Emergency Response, Quick Response, Elevated, and Normal.
(Integris grants the client’s in-house team access to the PSA so they can manage all of their internal IT affairs. And if they can’t figure something out, they escalate the ticket to our system engineers.)
#1 – P1 (Emergency Response) Tickets
Integris’s remote, monitoring, and management (RMM) is integrated within Connectwise where it functions as a proverbial Apple Watch, tracking every last movement on a client’s network.
At 3:01 AM, the RMM discovered multiple on-site servers were currently down or unreachable. The cause may have been an Internet connectivity issue or someone may have shut the servers down. This sometimes happens when full-time IT personnel are tinkering around.
Shortly thereafter, all servers were automatically reset, with no ticket time logged. The client didn’t even know until they were notified the next morning. (Thank goodness IT support never sleeps.)
The RMM detected one or more physical disks on a server with virtual disks that have failed. A virtual disk may be part of a virtual machine or may be mounted on the operating system of a physical machine.
Within twenty minutes, we discovered the virtual disk was non-redundant and assisted the client in recovering the data and moving it to a new file share.
#2 – P2 (Quick Response) Tickets
We received an alert at 2 AM triggered by a memory issue with their Dell PowerEdge R510.
Here are some of the stats for a ticket that was opened and closed within an hour in the middle of the night:
- Total Physical Memory: 7.99 GB
- Used Physical Memory: 7.91 GB
- Free Physical Memory: 83.23 MB
- Physical Memory Usage: 99.00%
- Total Virtual Memory: 17.50 GB
- Used Virtual Memory: 13.14 GB
- Free Virtual Memory: 4.36 GB
- Virtual Memory Usage: 75.00%
Engineers logged in remotely and executed RAMMap, a physical memory usage analysis utility. They proceeded to monitor the server for fifteen to twenty minutes until memory utilization was normalized.
A ticket was opened for an onsite test of the client’s ISP Failover solution. They have services with AT&T and Comcast that run in tandem to ensure redundant access to the Internet. If one fails, the other one automatically takes over.
This exercise involved rebooting their Star2Star VoIP router, unplugging the AT&T fiber switch, and verifying that both the Cisco ASA firewalls and the Star2Star router automatically failover to the Comcast connection.
It concluded with reconnecting the AT&T fiber switch, unplugging the Comcast circuit, and verifying the Star2Star voice and Cisco ASA connections were still working. ISP failover success verified!
#3 – P3 (Elevated) Tickets
As I mentioned in the introduction, the client uses Connectwise, Integris’s ticketing system. Every now and then, the application (like all software) has issues.
The client’s IT Support Manager sent us a ticket to report a malfunction, and it was quickly addressed with a new update from the developer.
Integris has used Connectwise for over a decade and it sometimes requires tweaks and special integrations. However, it’s extremely reliable and robust which is why it’s the gold standard in MSP client management tools.
After the client narrowly escaped an attempted wire fraud attack, they opened a ticket for us to assist with some forensics.
The attack was thwarted when their closing attorney (at his private firm) got suspicious after receiving a series of fraudulent emails and faxes from somebody pretending to be a customer.
The real customer was in the process of closing on a transaction which made the correspondence seem realistic. However, a few glaring misspellings and out-of-context plot points created enough pause for the attorney to stop the process and engage all relevant partner IT contacts.
Luckily, no money was wired!
The root cause was a spoofed email from someone trying to assume the identity of the buyer. Phony communiques like this can arise out of man-in-the-middle attacks and open intelligence efforts where cyber crooks attain work email addresses from company websites and social media sites.
Password Management and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) can dramatically reduce threats from these areas and countless others.
#4 – P4 (Normal) Tickets
The quarterly vCIO meetings for this client are planned in advance and activated with a ticket to book each event and capture all items on the agenda.
The ticket for this particular consulting session was appropriately named “Microsoft 365 Feature Deployment/Reducing the onsite server footprint.”
A lot of clients are upgrading to Microsoft 365 Business Premium from Business Standard or Basic. However, many will frequently wait to deploy all of the extra services because the transition involves a project that includes planning, implementation, and training.
Here is a brief list of a few new features and the business reasons supporting roll-out:
- Azure Premium P1 Active Directory – The PCs will be joined to Azure AD in preparation for decommissioning the on-prem AD in the next phase.
- Endpoint Management/Intune – This allows us to centrally manage the encryption policies and keys for all workstations.
- Self-Service Password Reset – This will enable a tighter synchronization of passwords between the Azure AD and the on-prem AD/DC.
- Creation of Auto Pilot policies – The goal is to improve the PC build process including activating policies that allow a PC to be automatically set up based on the user log in.
- After this project is complete, we will be better poised to assess which onsite servers can be decommissioned and replaced by less expensive cloud alternatives.
- When all is said and done, your monthly expenses with us will be reduced.
Working with this account and their in-house IT team has been a study in teamwork and digital transformation.
In addition to having a large physical server footprint, they were also using two different email platforms when they originally engaged with us.
Everything that was scattered and decentralized is being consolidated to better serve strategic business outcomes.
And it’s very rewarding to see them enjoy the benefits of safer, more secure, and flexible IT systems.
Can you say the same about your IT environment?
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