5 Common IT Challenges Managed Services Can Overcome
Jan 30, 2022 02:03
It is every business’ dream to be able to simply focus on their trade, getting leads and making sales, and just have everything else running like clockwork. However, running a business encompasses so many complex processes, from accounting and bookkeeping to IT support, that it is impossible to have them ticking over without any human interaction. While it would be very nice to just focus on the areas of a business that generates revenue, there are many other challenges that need to be addressed in due time.
One of the main areas of a business that seem to demand a lot of time and attention is a business’ IT stack – the hardware, software, network, and potentially Cloud solutions that make up the organisation’s infrastructure. Unless the business is in the tech sector themselves then technology is not likely to be their internal priority. This is precisely why many organisations opt to partner with an IT managed services company.
What are Managed Services?
When a business reaches a certain size, it makes sense for them to outsource the maintenance and support of their growing IT infrastructure to a professional third party with a wider pool of expertise and resources to deal with the challenges of IT – this is what is known as Managed Services. Unlike standard IT support, IT managed services companies go beyond the well-known models of break-fix IT support, and outsourced on-demand support, by offering an ongoing technology strategy that can encompass everything from user support, all the way up to full digital transformations.
The main features of managed services include monthly billing for services agreed between the customer and the service provider. Managed services are usually underpinned by a service-level agreement (SLA) – this is a legally binding agreement that outlines the commitments of both the customer and the provider; some of the components of SLAs include agreed response times for specific services, and guarantees on business continuity in the event of a disaster recovery scenario.
This is an essential component of any business, especially as technology is critical for businesses in modern times, and one of the main services to expect from a managed service provider. In this day and age, a good IT support service should include both reactive and proactive support solutions. For reactive solutions, expect a high-quality helpdesk service with a range of options for access – such as standard work hours, extended hours, weekend access, and 24-hour access. Callouts may also be a feature, provided the customer has a site and asks for onsite support. In terms of proactive support solutions, network and infrastructure monitoring is critical for detecting hardware, software, and network faults as soon as they arise, thus avoiding or minimizing downtime for the company.
While a good IT support company will offer all of these services, an IT managed services company will be able to provide all of that and more services that are related to other areas of IT besides support.
A feature that may not be included in many outsourced IT support services is security solutions. Unfortunately, the battle over information security – fought between tech leaders and cyber criminals – is a never-ending effort. Cyber attacks are increasing in sophistication and frequency every year, and it is important that businesses are constantly evaluating their infrastructure, identify vulnerabilities, and explore what technologies and solutions can be implemented to increase the safety and resilience of their IT. This is precisely what managed service providers can help to facilitate for businesses – it is their businesses to keep abreast of the latest technologies that are become available to their customers, and recommended them on a case to case basis.
Since the onset of COVID-19, more and more businesses have discovered the possibilities of extending their business perimeter beyond that of the office – many employees have been going remote, some businesses are even hiring talent from different countries. Even before the onset of COVID-19, more and more businesses are expanding their perimeter with the use of Cloud-based networks; digital nomads have been able to sustain remote careers for a long time.
If businesses want to expand their perimeter and enable remote workers, they need to assess the mobility of their organisation – this includes implementing security measures that allows users to access company data remotely in a secure way. These measures range from defining BYOD policies, installing company-approved VPNs on employee devices, and more.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
All businesses should have a strategy for disaster scenarios. A disaster scenario is any form of catastrophic infrastructure fault that endangers a company’s data and resources – this could be anything from natural disasters like floods, storms, or earthquakes, as well as man-made disasters like robbery, arson, and more. While the likelihood of any of these disaster scenarios varies depending on the nature of the business and where they are based, it is a case of having it without needing it, instead of needing it and not having it.
An effective backup and DR solution can be difficult to set up, which is why a managed service provider often help customers with it.
One of the most pervasive and disruptive technologies to emerge over the last decade is definitely Cloud computing. It is the technology that enables much of the solutions discussed above (such as Backup and DR, mobility, and security). Especially since remote and hybrid working have become commonplace, there has been a big shift towards Cloud migrations and Cloud-native IT infrastructures. While there are a number of ways that the Cloud makes managing a company’s IT infrastructure easier, it also take a fair enough of work to implement it. To start with, every business will have slightly different requirements, therefore a tailored Cloud strategy must be devised for them – this is usually performed by Cloud and Solutions architects.
Cloud migrations are one of the main services that many businesses want to get from a managed service provider. The general trajectory for managed services customers is a Cloud migration, followed by ongoing infrastructure support and IT support.
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