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What do specific terms mean ? ...also see Microsoft Online Services

In the computer industry, just like the rest of the "real world", there are a lots of specific terms that are used. But just like the "real world", these terms mean different things to different people. In our common culture, words like "going green" and "organic" are tossed out all the time. Although each of these words has a general intent, each one really only represents a thought process or a way that a product or service is intended on being delivered.

The same is true for the computer industry.

Solutions to the way computer support and services will be delivered to small and medium sized business is on the edge of another one of its transformations. The term being thrown around is "managed services". The attempt of this page it to help take the tech talk out of through process. After you read this page you should be able to distinguish what the offerings currently available are and how they might apply to your business.

For some businesses it will make sense to take advantage of this service and support model. For others, it will not make good business sense to use. And for others, a hybrid model will be used and you can take the best of both processes and make it work for your business.

Let ACE now take you through the first steps:

There are three broad categories that service is delivered: Break/Fix, Monitored Services, Managed Services. Here is a basic overview of each one.

Break/Fix: This is the traditional model you are most likely use to using. You have chosen a computer support company or individual. You may have them advise you before you purchase or you may not. You simply use computers until a trouble point arrives and then you call them for technical support. There is an agreed upon hourly rate that you pay and your technician works on the problem until a satisfactory resolution is completed. Technician leaves and you wait for future incidents. 

Monitored Services: This is a newer model that employs a little bit of proactive effort on the side of the customer and on the side of the computer support company. You may schedule periodic site visits with your technician during which updates and patches are applied. Other proactive maintenance may be done to hardware or software. There may be some form of remote assistance by your technician to help you during a Windows session or a way of remote access for the technician to log on remotely and perform tasks. New versions of Windows Server and other programs have capabilities to send out emails and have software included into them that report back to someone or some service the health status of your hardware, software or network. The monitoring component involves proactive or reactive elements like remote rebooting machines when necessary or remote stop/start of services to get systems going again for your company.

Managed Services: Although this offering has been available to large businesses for many years, it is starting to become more of a standard offering in the small and medium sized business space. Key components of managed services are: a scope of work, SLA or service level agreement, and a contract for establishing a fixed price of maintenance and what actual services are included. It is common for firewalls, servers, switches, PC's, laptops, PDA/Smart Phone, network printers and other electronic networkable devices to be managed hardware. Additionally, things like training, personalized remote assistance, after hours and weekend support can be discussed and at times added to a contract.

For larger sites, managed services can normalize computer expenditures and makes managing servers, PC's and systems more definable for budget and planning. The goal of any managed service is to create a consistent service cost that can in the long run be lower than paying for peak service to fix critical down systems. One key to successfully delivering managed services is the processes in place to facilitate a great customer experience in this process.

ACE has set up some managed service plans for those customers interested who have more than 3 servers and more than 25 workstations. If you are interested drop us an email

Click here for an overview of the general SERVICES Offered that are not currently part of a managed service plan.


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