Your CEO is hosting a major industry conference at your corporate headquarters, and it’s a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) event. Who knows how it happens, but a rogue laptop shuts down the entire network. Who you gonna call?
Following the lead of many Fortune 500 companies, an increasing number of small- and medium-sized businesses are calling on Managed Services Providers (MSPs). Consider these numbers: In late 2014, TechTarget surveyed 2,212 IT professionals around the world. What initiatives did these directors/senior IT managers, engineers/programmers, mid-level IT managers, and IT staff put at the top of their lists for 2015? It was a tie between 1) Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity, and 2) Network Monitoring and Management
Reporting on the survey, TechTarget’s Jessica Scarpati observed that many enterprises are looking for “smarter ways to manage networks that are being thrown curveball after curveball—everything from cloud services to bring your own device.”
Amy DeCarlo, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, adds, “All of those things are putting pressure on network managers to implement new tools and best practices that help them keep up with more diverse network requirements. People are trying to look at how to make their infrastructure environment much more stable, secure and reliable because they can’t afford to have it any other way.”
As a result, the IT industry is seeing a paradigm shift from break-and-fix to monitor-and-manage.
In a recent white paper, Cisco delved into the specific benefits of Managed Services:
- You can reduce or reallocate IT resources, relieving highly skilled, expensive staff of routine tasks such as monitoring routers, responding to help-desk inquiries, and resolving user problems.
- Staff can turn its attention to strategic projects, improving service quality, enabling employee mobility, and integrating new technology—all proven productivity-enhancing services.
- Because service provider-managed networks are monitored 24 hours a day, your business benefits from higher monitoring levels and faster responses to network events. IT staffs spend less time monitoring the network, upgrading facilities and platforms, and restoring service to a troubled network.
- IT groups have better, more flexible opportunities to redesign their networks, relying on service provider network intelligence to provide greater efficiency to satisfy bandwidth demand.
What’s the impact of Managed Network Services on your bottom line?
- Costs leave your business, resulting in lower IT costs and greater profitability.
- Cost for setting up these network platforms and policies is transferred to the service provider.
- You can deliver comprehensive, higher-quality IT services because service providers have larger, more experienced IT staffs with specialists, leading to greater reliability and availability, with service-level agreements (SLAs) promising up to 99.999-percent availability (“five nines”).
- In short, by out-tasking network management, you can reduce management and planning activities, and overall hardware investment.
What does a Managed Network Services agreement cover?
Typically, a Managed Network Services agreement will cover major IT disasters and day-to-day hiccups; cloud backup, exchange, and business continuity; 24/7 monitoring and help desk, security and onsite services as needed.
Server: Whether the cause is human error, power outage, hardware failure, or a troublemaking device, crashes can stop your business in its tracks. Local backup or off-site storage helps, but the better solution is an easy-to-deploy, dedicated local appliance that incorporates local backup, cloud backup, object-level exchange restore, plus local and cloud server business continuity options.
The appliance can replicate servers and virtualize your entire server infrastructure from a cloud datacenter, providing access to your IT environment even with the loss of your local servers. Downtime is reduced to almost nothing.
Cloud: Affordable and scalable, virtual cloud servers supply the processing power you need without the hefty price tag for hardware, while cloud backup and disaster recovery services provide a secure offsite location to store critical business data.
Managed Network Services agreements also cover cloud business continuity services to ensure your continued business operations if your primary systems are damaged.
Cloud Hosted Exchange Services reduce your hardware costs for your in-house email system and, at the same time, guarantee uptime. They ensure that your organization always has access to email so everyone can communicate and collaborate anytime, anywhere.
Security: A Managed Network System will secure your technology infrastructure against threats, both internal and external, while ensuring that your data and business reputation remain intact. The best plans are comprehensive and proactive.
24/7 Monitoring of your server prevents hardware and software failures. The Server and Desktop Management solution is composed of several main support components that are administered remotely to optimize uptime and minimize inconvenience to your organization: software and hardware updates; remote monitoring; and system backup. In addition, image-based backup and recovery through a network-attached storage (NAS) device on your network let you store images of critical servers and workstations.
24/7 Help Desk: IT support should always be available when you need it, including weekends and holidays, to help your organization’s users with their IT support needs. With remote monitoring you’re always covered, but in case of emergency, you want to be sure your Managed Network Services provider also will come onsite if needed.
How to choose a Managed Network Services Provider
As the Managed Services field mushrooms in the coming years—Research and Markets estimates growth from $107.17 billion in 2014 to $193.34 billion by 2019—and your provider options proliferate, you’ll want to assess carefully whether the MSPs on your short list are good matches for your future as well as your current needs. Most important, you want to be sure your provider recognizes that your organization and network are unique.
Commonwealth Digital Office’s All Covered Care program takes a comprehensive approach to the challenge of monitoring and managing different operating systems, work groups, servers, domains, directories, devices, and legacy systems. Not only do you benefit from 24/7 support, but you also gain access to more than 300 full-time IT professionals who are equipped to address all of your IT issues from planning and system reliability to user support and data protection.
This high level of service is clearly what the 44 percent of 2,212 professionals surveyed by TechTarget are looking for this year. The era of break-and-fix is over.