The IT environments of today’s businesses are involved—very involved in fact. To keep those environments running smoothly and serving customers internally and externally requires a vast array of computing resources and an extensive set of IT skills. For most businesses, information technology is table stakes in the Texas Hold’em of modern commerce. While a company may not shy away from wagering on the activities it does best (for example, selling products, servicing customers or developing new ideas), chances are it would rather not be pushing chips into the center of the table in the hope that its technology runs smoothly.
The demand for IT that reliably meets the needs of the organization while at the same time remains current, updated, and serviced has never been higher. But not every business has the resources or internal IT skills to keep everything running smoothly. It’s here that managed services providers can make a difference. In fact, Deloitte predicts that by the end of 2018, spending on IT-as-a-Service for data centers, software, and services will grow to $547B.
Not Just About Networks and Monitoring Anymore
Traditionally, businesses relied on multiple vendors and service providers for their technology and networking needs. Managed services providers arose out of the need to ensure that these networks and systems all worked together. The job of these providers was to keep everything connected and, hopefully, create some cost efficiencies. For the most part, they focused on networking, storage, monitoring, and maintenance.
With the advent of software as service (SaaS), businesses, for the first time, were exposed to the appeal of expense-based IT models that skirted weighty capital expenditures and provided greater flexibility. Still, without robust IT staffs, many businesses were left without the required experts to help them make the transition to this model. In time, however, companies began to lean on their managed services providers to help them shift to the new paradigm.
Managed Services are Effective IT Management
Today, managed services are practically synonymous with effective IT management. Companies that are looking for ways to save money, gain efficiencies, and provide better service to internal and external audiences are working more closely with their managed service providers. Managed services providers can relieve the burden of IT management, which enables companies to stay focused on relevant business functions.
Most recently, the breadth of available managed services has grown wider. Small, medium, and large companies have embraced these. Managed services now include network management and data protection, disaster recovery, cloud management, and hardware management. These are big, overarching aspects of managed services that can reach deeply into an organization. Today's managed services providers can also look more granularly at a business’s IT environment and provide solutions on a finite basis.
Below are three areas that many companies may not think about when considering shifting the care of their IT environment to a managed services provider:
- Video Conferencing
Video is an annoyance for many organizations. Getting various protocols, codecs, and systems to connect and work with each other is no small feat. Given this, it’s no wonder that video communication Platform as a Service (PaaS) is projected to grow to nearly $1.7 billion by 2020. Additional challenges for businesses often surround understanding capacity—knowing if there is enough bandwidth to support the application and the utilization of that capacity. The right managed service provider can provide these insights and other guidance for business video conferencing deployments.
- Security Event Correlation
Recently, businesses have become more comfortable with the idea that the cloud is secure. Most professionals agree that in considering the three Ps of security—policy, procedure, prosecution, the cloud may be a most secure option because cloud service providers have superior security protocols and more highly trained employees. This shows a trend, in general, by businesses to entrust third parties with their data.
For businesses that, perhaps, aren’t ready to fully unload security management, event correlation is an easy way to work with a managed services provider and add a layer of security to your business. Using inputs from either application logs or host logs, the service provider analyzes event data and identifies relationships between these events. Based on the analysis, the service provider can take specific actions, such as sending alerts for hardware or application failures, or other anomalous activities based on user-defined rules.
- Carrier Management as a Service
Telecommunications carriers are necessary intermediaries for connecting businesses to the Internet, or the public switched telephone network. When problems or issues arise, working with these behemoths can be overwhelming for companies that are under-staffed or lack expertise in dealing with carriers.
Businesses of all sizes that prefer to have their in-house IT staff focused on business processes and growth may be well served by letting a managed services provider take over the hassles of managing their Internet and telecom service providers. The right partner will help you centralize critical activities and optimize your organization’s communications. They’ll even take routine tasks like sourcing, ordering, configuration, and overseeing contracts.