It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or is it? Ready or not, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season are upon us and while most employees are making plans for travel and personal time off your business is in it for the long haul. Running a business means being available 24x7x365, at least from the IT infrastructure side of things. Managing updates, ensuring uptime and proactively enforcing server security are just a few of the many tasks that are handled by your IT employees on a daily basis. The conundrum at hand is, while everyone is on vacation, who’s ensuring that your infrastructure is running properly? With managed services, your company may not have to ask this question year after year.
Managed services are the practice of outsourcing day-to-day management responsibilities and functions as a strategic method for improving operations and cutting expenses. In the IT world, this means offloading your IT operations and management tasks to a managed service provider where the provider assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for the IT infrastructure within a business.
The holiday season can bring forth management issues within your organization that may have been hidden throughout the year. However, there are many companies that are well aware that their IT department is understaffed, over-worked, and stretched thin even outside of the holiday season. In the past it was easier to manage your infrastructure, perhaps just hosting a website and providing the organization’s mailboxes. Every year, more and more technology advances come out and keeping pace with the new advancements is critical to an organization’s ability to stay at the forefront of their industry. So what is a business supposed to do? Managed services may be a great option for your company to embrace and change the way your IT department functions and operates completely.
Managed Services Benefits
There are many benefits to an organization that uses managed services. Finding the right service provider can offer added expertise, increase productivity, and also decrease costs to your organization.
• Added Expertise – A managed services provider is basically an extension of your organization’s IT department. Many providers have a larger employee base which increases the expertise and problem resolution abilities of your organization. Working with a provider will ensure that any kind of integrations or new applications that your company wants to implement will be well coordinated to meet the needs and requirements of your business. This is all capable while the provider is making sure that all updates are being handled, servers are secure, and to trump it off is backed by a service level agreement guaranteeing the services provided. This opens up increased availability for your IT personnel to be used more effectively on tasks that will help to increase the organization’s capabilities and revenue.
• Cost Efficient – At first glance many companies feel that managed services are just an added expense to the IT budget, when in fact utilizing managed services will actually save you money in the long run. A company that has an in-house data center has to utilize their capital funding in order to purchase new hardware as their infrastructure needs grow. This is all while you are adding more responsibilities to set up and properly integrate solutions for your IT personnel whom may already be bogged down with a task list they have yet to complete. In turn, your employees are required to work overtime in order to complete their tasks, critical updates may be missed which increases your company’s vulnerability and could possibly shut down your website disabling your abilities to sell your products and services. What does downtime mean to your business financially?
• Ease of Deployment – Due to the increased availability of your IT personnel, infrastructure is often set up in minutes or hours, rather than the days it would prior to utilizing managed services. Setting up network physical servers and possibly hiring additional maintenance and support staff can dramatically decrease the time it takes to scale your resources. With managed services you are able to scale to meet your increased requirements. By allowing the provider to handle the day to day tasks your IT personnel can quickly and efficiently rack and stack.
Managed services may also not be a fit for every company. It is up to your organization to look at your IT personnel and determine if you are utilizing their abilities to the fullest extent. Are you leaving money on the table by not being a more efficient and productive company? These are the things that you must ask yourself when determining if managed services are a fit for your company.
Choosing a Managed Service Provider
It is also important to remember if your company chooses to utilize managed services that you find the right provider for your company’s requirements and needs. As mentioned earlier in this article, the provider is an extension of your IT department. You are willingly putting your trust into another organization that will directly affect the functionality of your IT infrastructure and indirectly affect the profitability of your company. In order to make sure that you are choosing a trustworthy company, evaluate the provider and find out how long they have been in business, check forums to get a feel of their presence in the community, make sure they provide a clear vision of their managed services, and be sure to address any questions that you have with the provider’s SLA.
Managed hosting services are a specialty for Caronet. We apply our Engineered Hosting philosophy to our suite of Managed Hosting services. Our managed hosting solutions include colocation, cloud and dedicated servers. Each offering is designed to maximize uptime and take over critical tasks so that your IT staff can spend more time focusing on your applications and other revenue generating tasks. In essence, we become an extension of your team.