Oh Jeeves…please fetch my data and clean my computer.

I’ve always been fascinated by butlers.  It’s a career where you have to dress up in a tuxedo everyday, then be paid great money to do things like answer the door with a smug look on your face or lay out your boss’s clothes for him every morning.  You also have to bring everything to your employer on a silver platter for some reason.  Breakfast bagels, the remote control, the newspaper, car keys…all of them get the silver platter treatment.  I imagine a whole “silver platter course” in butler college.  It takes training to be able to cart 12 glasses of Champaign across a crowded room of people on one of those things. 

Unfortunately, not many of us are lucky enough to obtain our very own Mr. Belvedere.  However, the latest trend in the industry is allowing everyone to get their own “computer butler” per se.  Managed Services are low-cost, specialized services that take over critical but mundane tasks for you.  Things like data backup, antivirus, email marketing, and web site administration are all examples of things that can be very expensive to handle yourself.  You can hire your own staff for only a few dollars a month to handle these services for you:

  • Your Data-Backup Butler– No more tape backups that never complete, no need to bother with troublesome external hard drives, no worries about keeping your backups off-site.  Simply run a small program on your computer and your data is backed up daily and automatically.  Your faithful servant will make sure your data is securely backed up with no problems, and alert you if something isn’t quite right.  Since your data is not placed on physical media, it can be backed up or restored from any Internet connection.  He works cheap too- typical prices are around $1/GB of data.
  • Your Antivirus Butler– Typical costs to hire this guy are under $5 per PC.  Antivirus service means that all of your security updates will be monitored, any detected infections will be brought to your attention, and assistance will be provided if a virus does get through.
  • Your Marketing Butler- Why spend all that time pulling together email lists, designing news letters or ads from scratch, then send out your message only to have it returned because of problems with your mail server’s spam filters?  Get your own email marketing steward to handle most of the work for you.  Manage email lists from a simple website, use pre-made templates to fill in your newsletters or advertisements, schedule times that you would like your information delivered…all for about $15/month.
  • Your Web Site Butler– The problem most people have with their website is they hire someone to create it, then it’s so complicated to update that they have to pay someone for every change.  It’s like someone is holding your company’s face on the Internet hostage.  Well, that’s enough of that!  Employ a web site valet to design your sites to your liking, and then add the tools for anyone to make updates on the fly- as easily as typing an email!  Need to change your business hours?  Go to your site, log in, and you now have weekends off.  Have a new product?  Log in and copy/paste a picture in there.  It’s the way all web sites should work!  Website hosting plans range between $10-$30/month, and it usually costs around $100/page to have a site professionally designed to your liking.  Not a bad investment considering your web page will most likely be the #1 way your customers get information about you.

How about that?  You can hire an entire entourage of people who take care of you and your business for a fraction of the price of  a Gentleman’s gentleman.  You’ll save thousands on the cost of silver platters alone!