How managed services help you address your most pressing business challenges

More and more businesses are turning to managed service providers for their business and IT needs. When a managed solution is adopted and integrated into a company’s existing infrastructure, it enables the organization to shift certain responsibilities to an outsourced, expert team. This offers considerable advantages, especially when it comes to addressing some of the most pressing company pain points.

As this approach continues to become more popular, the market for managed services considerably expands. According to MarketsandMarkets, the global managed services market will reach $242.45 billion within the next four years, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 11 percent.

But how, exactly, does outsourcing specific IT functions benefit today’s businesses? Let’s delve a little deeper to find out:

IT budgeting: An across-the-board challenge

No matter what industry an organization operates within, ensuring that users are being supported with the proper resources while aligning investments with the overall budget is an ongoing battle. As new technological capabilities emerge, it can be tempting to adopt these to help improve productivity and efficiency. However, it’s often difficult to fund these endeavors, especially when these are taken on in-house.

“Managed services allow businesses to eliminate significant up-front costs.”

Many IT strategies require the use of specific hardware and software, which can be very expensive. This, coupled with costs related to staffing, training and other required support can drive up prices even further.

Managed services, on the other hand, allow businesses to eliminate significant up-front costs while still utilizing the most advanced equipment maintained by a staff of experts. The solution vendor is responsible for the purchase of technological components, and its knowledgeable, trained employees update and manage these resources for the business client.

“Ultimately, an MSP will offer a much more extensive level of support for a fraction of the cost,” My I.T. Pros pointed out.

What’s more, the savings enabled by utilizing managed services can be put to better use internally. These funds can be shifted to support other areas of the business, providing financial backing for other important pursuits. This not only addresses the challenge of IT costs, but enables the organization to do more with its available budget.

Bridging the skills gap

A main driving factor behind companies’ decision to adopt managed services revolves around the level of internal expertise within the organization’s staff. Especially within smaller businesses, it can be difficult to find employees with the right IT skills. Some corporations simply don’t have the funds to bring on highly trained  IT workers. The average salary of a systems engineer with a bachelor’s degree hovers around $85,000 annually, according to Sokanu.

As opposed to hiring an individual to fill this role, the business can turn to an expert managed service provider. This vendor provides access to a talented staff at a significantly lower cost. In this way, companies large and small can help cost-efficiently bridge any knowledge gaps that might exist.

Managed services ensure that IT resources are expertly managed by knowledgeable, talented experts. Managed services ensure that IT resources are expertly managed by knowledgeable, talented experts.

Managed service support from ISG Technology

From aligning with available budgets to helping ensure mission-critical platforms are managed by knowledgeable experts, managed services can be a considerable boon for companies in every industry.

When it comes time to adopt managed services, it’s best to work with an experienced service provider that can address your organization’s most important challenges with an array of available solution options. ISG Technology helps ensure that your staff members have all the tools and support they require while keeping your IT costs down.

Our Managed Services – including Backup-as-a-Service, Network Management and Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service – can improve agility, eliminate silos and protect sensitive data. To find out more, contact ISG Technology today.

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3 ways managed services provide access to the most advanced IT tools

An increasing number of businesses are turning their focus to managed IT services. These solutions, when maintained and updated by a team of trained professionals outside of the core business, can offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, enhanced security and access to a growing number of advanced tools.

Those are just a few of the reasons businesses across many industries have adopted managed services as part of their critical IT infrastructure. As a result, the market for these solutions has been on the rise – MarketsandMarkets reported that by 2021, the global managed services sector will reach a value of $242.45 billion, a considerable increase over 2016’s $145.33 billion.

One of the most attractive advantages of leveraging managed services is the ability to access some of the most innovative, state-of-the-art IT tools and components. Let’s take a look at three ways managed service providers make this benefit possible for today’s enterprises:

1) Leveraging advanced infrastructure as a market differentiator

As the market for these services continues to grow, competition among solution vendors will only ramp up. Currently, there are more than a few service providers existing in the marketplace, with more breaking into the sector every day.

This not only creates more options for business decision-makers, but also helps ensure that companies have access to the most advanced infrastructure tools possible. In order to compete, solution vendors utilize their modern infrastructure components to differentiate themselves in their industry vertical. The most advanced tools become feathers in the caps of service providers, helping them grow their client base.

“The most advanced tools become feathers in the caps of service providers.”

“[A]s customers seek to adopt these new capabilities, managed services offerings must adapt too,” wrote MSP Alliance contributor Charles Weaver. “Offering higher value advanced services not only helps to overcome the potential revenue loss, it also helps MSPs differentiate and grow their businesses more profitably by providing greater customer value.”

In this way, having the most up-to-date infrastructure that takes advantage of the newest network components and management strategies enables service providers to make a name for themselves in a growing marketplace. Best of all, clients get to utilize the most advanced equipment possible.

2) Bridging internal technology gaps

One of the top reasons businesses adopt managed services is to leverage innovative solutions in a way that works with the assets the company already has in place. Managed service providers can provide technology that integrates with the enterprise’s infrastructure, helping to bridge any caps in capability or functionality that might have existed previously.

This is especially pertinent as vendors expand their reach, offering access to an increasing number of advanced solutions. In today’s market, an array of critical processes can be outsourced, allowing enterprises and small businesses alike to create a holistic technological approach.

“[W]hile companies are increasingly relying on outside providers for part of their IT needs, MSPs generally complement rather than replace internal IT,” noted CIO senior writer Thor Olavsrud. “Instead, especially in larger companies, bringing an MSP into the mix frees up existing IT staff to focus on more strategic projects.”

This is a considerable boon, not only for the service provider, but for its client partner as well.

Managed service providers can offer access to advanced tools that might otherwise have been too expensive for businesses to implement internally. Managed service providers can offer access to advanced tools that might otherwise have been too expensive for businesses to implement internally.

3) The most cost-efficient IT resources

Building upon this is the fact that managed services can help even the playing field among businesses of different sizes, providing access to advanced tools that might otherwise be out of reach for smaller organizations. Many solution providers offer innovative solutions at an incredibly cost-effective price, enabling businesses to eliminate the need for up-front investments while supporting predictable IT costs.

This benefit is especially powerful for small businesses, but can be a significant advantage for organizations of all sizes.

“Some small businesses just don’t have the capital to purchase new hardware,” Netswitch pointed out. “Instead of figuring out whether you want a lightning-fast server to work with your databases or your web hosting, you get access to high-end servers working in a distributed resource environment. This gives you an even better performance boost. You avoid paying the overhead for expensive servers while still reaping the benefits.”

This only scratches the surface when it comes to the advanced IT tools offered by today’s managed service providers. To find out more, contact industry-leader ISG Technology and check out our managed service solutions today.

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3 Reasons Your Company Can Benefit From a Managed Help Desk

Businesses now use more technologically advanced tools than ever before. These IT systems form the backbone of some of your company’s most mission-critical processes. However, if one of these resources should go down, or if employees aren’t sure how to use them appropriately, your organization may not be reaping as many benefits from its IT solutions as it could be.

This is where the enterprise help desk comes into play, and becomes such an important part of the company. This critical resource provides a place for employees to reach out to when problems occur, and enables the IT team to be in the know about the latest issues it needs to address.

Traditionally, the help desk was staffed by a business’s own IT employees. However, many corporations soon discovered that this was not ideal. Now, more enterprises than ever are turning to outsourced, managed help desk services, such as those offered by ISG Technology. There are a number of advantages a managed help desk can bring. Let’s take a look at how this could benefit your organization:

1) More time for your core team

With a team of experts handling help desk calls, your internal IT staff no longer has to worry about the red phone, so to speak. An outsourced service shifts the responsibility of help desk calls off your IT department’s plate, giving them more time to focus on other, mission-critical initiatives.

“An outsourced service shifts the responsibility of help desk calls off your IT department’s plate.”

There are a number of new IT trends and advancements taking place every day. If your IT team is busy answering help desk calls and chasing down solutions, they may not have the time they need to institute these innovations within your company. Without the burden of help desk calls, though, IT teams have the resources they need to investigate and educate themselves on the newest strategies, and can bring these to the attention of the executive boardroom.

2) Considerable cost savings

One thing that holds many organizations back from adopting a managed solution are perceived concerns about cost. An outsourced help desk solution, like many managed services, can actually help an organization save considerably, particularly when it comes to staffing, equipment and training expenses.

Outsourcing your helpdesk means that an expertly resourced team takes on this responsibility. In this way, your business can save time and money and need not worry about things like training, the necessary hardware and software, a space for the help desk team or hiring new staff members to support it.

“For small organizations, the manpower needed to answer phones with enough extra help to account for vacations, sick days and turnovers could even double your payroll,” market expert Business.com stated.” Add this to the space, equipment and training necessary for adequate support and help desk activity can suddenly take up a large portion of your budget.”

An affordable managed help desk, however, can help eliminate these expenses, ensuring expert support at a fraction of the cost.

A help desk service is critical to business, and is even more impactful when handled by outsourced experts. A help desk service is critical to business, and is even more impactful when handled by outsourced experts.

3) Focused user support

The priority of any help desk is to solve any and all issues that come its way. This means that providing an enjoyable experience for the caller can sometimes fall to the wayside, especially for internal staff members.

An outsourced team, on the other hand, doesn’t just offer top-notch, knowledgeable IT support – these experts are also trained in client support. This means that every request to the help desk is met with a quick and courteous response, providing the best experience possible for your employees.

To find out more about how a full-service help desk solution can benefit your company, contact the experts at ISG Technology today.

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Managed Services Solve Multiple Challenges

Industry: Finance

In the past, all of OSBC’s file and email servers were kept in the office of the institution’s director of IT, but eventually OSBC outgrew its in-house approach:

Challenge

  • It had high data security requirements, putting a premium on safe handling of data and regular monitoring of infrastructure.
  • Its building was normally shut down on weekends to save power and energy. Accordingly, temperatures inside the server room could rise to almost 90 degrees Fahrenheit by Monday morning while the air conditioning was off.
  • Overall, the OSBC needed professional IT services that were economically feasible and wouldn’t require building their own data centers from scratch.

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Top 3 reasons why companies choose managed services

When it comes to managing complicated IT infrastructure, businesses in every industry need as much support as they can get. Business complexity is generally frowned upon in the technology world, because complication within the networking infrastructure can lead to headaches for administrators down the line. Investing in managed services can help decrease this kind of complexity and give IT managers peace of mind knowing their networks are in good hands. But why?

It’s clear that small, medium-sized and large businesses are turning to outsourcing IT. According to a report published by MarketsandMarkets in early 2015, the market for managed services will reach a value of $193.34 billion by 2019, growing at a compound annual rate of 12.5 percent. Data centers, mobile networks and communications capabilities are all things that fall under the umbrella of this market.

The question remains of why businesses should migrate toward hiring an outside company to manage their internal network infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few reasons IT outsourcing provides companies with the right kind of support and capabilities to manage complicated networks:

1. It can be less expensive than hiring in-house
In the increasingly complex world of IT infrastructure, it’s crucial to consider both the capital and operational expenditures of investing in new equipment or personnel. Oftentimes, it can be a financial hassle to hire specialized IT employees – and then keep them on the payroll. One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing is not having to maintain an in-house IT department.

Since you’re reducing operational expenditures in the long run by hiring an outside company to manage your network infrastructure, those saved funds can be put to good use elsewhere. Demand Media contributor Samantha Gluck noted that when you turn to IT outsourcing, you can better manage expenses and therefore place more financial focus on the core functions of your business.

Keeping an in-house IT staff can be expensive.Keeping an in-house IT staff can be expensive.

2. Gain resources you wouldn’t have access to otherwise
Managed services providers often boast partnerships with larger IT companies that have the resources and personnel on hand to solve issues and keep your network running smoothly. By outsourcing IT infrastructure, small businesses can become more competitive, because they’re utilizing similar resources as larger opponents in their respective industries.

“Outsourcing IT systems and services creates a more equitable playing field between small firms and large enterprises,” Gluck wrote.

“You don’t have to worry about managing complicated network infrastructure.”

3. Decreases IT complexity
Forbes contributor Michael Fauscette reported that migrating to a third-party service provider would be a good way to reduce complexity within computing environments. Once your network is off your shoulders and in the hands of a competent managed service provider, you don’t have to worry about managing complicated network infrastructure. In addition, when complexity is reduced, resources can be freed up for other critical business operations, and CIOs can turn their attentions to enhancing quality of services for clients and generating revenue.

Contact ISG Technology today to find out how our managed service professionals can pair you with the right tech solutions you need and help you manage your complex IT environments.





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Why managed services are essential for security success

 

Amid the growing range of cybersecurity threats, companies are facing questions about how to secure their data center and application environments. A recent study by Courion found that 78 percent of IT security executives are worried about the possibility of a breach at their organization, with concerns that included loss of client data and negative publicity for the brand. At the same time, while 95 percent of IT security staff believed preventing breaches is a serious issue, they said they thought just 45 percent of employees share their concerns.

This discrepancy underscores the value of having clear governance practices and security standards in place. For companies looking to bring their security operations up to date, a managed services approach can be valuable. With a trusted managed services provider, companies can develop a clear information governance plan, laying out a strategy to keep files safe throughout their life in the company environment.

“In light of the constant changes in the IT environment, all enterprises should look to IT governance to secure information from the moment it is created to the time it is destroyed,” IT executive Dan Chenok wrote in an article that appeared on FCW.com. “That is why, in the past decade, IT governance has moved to the forefront of enterprise efforts to effectively manage and appropriately protect IT systems and assets, contributing to the success of risk-based security and supporting strategic decisions made by C-level executives across the public and private sectors.”

In addition to helping develop a plan for companies to have clear security policies and keep data locked down, a managed services provider can offer ongoing support in the form of managing regulatory compliance and compliance testing, as well as through services such as continuous network monitoring. A third-party provider can access state-of-the-art security technologies and round-the-clock staffing services that a company might not be able to purchase on its own through an economy of scale. And with the growing complexity of cybersecurity risks, companies can benefit from the expertise and knowledge of a specialized outside provider as well.

Actually meet enterprise security needs with managed services solutions

 

Today’s businesses face a wide range of cybersecurity threats.  While many are confident in their approach to protecting sensitive information, the reality is that security solutions still remain largely inadequate. According to a recent study from the Ponemon Institute, managing security investments and policies is a C-suite concern at 66 percent of companies. However, the amount of information that is actually passed to the C-suite to make informed decisions is “disturbingly incomplete,” with IT staff actively omitting negatives in more than half of cases.

“What is most concerning is that it would seem security in many organizations is based on perception and ‘gut feel,’ versus hard data,” said study author Larry Ponemon. “The stakeholders with the highest responsibility seem to be the least informed: a view that is amplified externally.”

For businesses, this may mean working with managed service providers that actually have an interest in meeting security needs rather than simply attracting as many clients as possible. A recent TechRadar article noted that concerns over staying on top of security needs appear to be driving many companies to avoid large cloud providers in favor of smaller managed services and colocation firms, where businesses can be aware of where specifically their data resides even as they leverage the benefits of virtualization and cloud infrastructure.

Managed services equip companies to deal with changing cybersecurity landscape

Each year seems to bring a broader and more complex array of cyber threats to businesses, and many companies are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of change. According to a recent survey from security software firm KnowBe4, more than half of IT managers – 51 percent – find security harder to maintain now than a year ago. Preventing cyberthreats and responding quickly to security issues are some of the biggest challenges for companies, which is why many are turning to managed services providers for a more secure infrastructure, as well as functions like malware removal and application support.

“Cybercriminals are constantly devising cunning new ways to trick users into clicking their phishing links or opening infected attachments,” KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman stated, adding that companies need to respond with thorough cybersecurity procedures, policies and training.

Another recent study from Solutionary and the NTT Group found that 54 percent of new malware goes undetected by antivirus software. As a result, companies need to make sure they are protected at the application level by using secure software and applying updates, ITBusinessEdge contributor Sue Poremba wrote in a recent column. Leveraging managed services for application support can help ensure software is kept updated and secured against threats, while external expertise can also be valuable in implementing state-of-the-art perimeter solutions and secure data center infrastructure.

Additionally, a managed services provider that offers malware removal can be a valuable partner in responding to and limiting the damage of an incident like an SQL injection attack, which the Solutionary study noted can easily cost a business $200,000 or more. Such protection might be unaffordable for a small business to implement in-house, but, by outsourcing certain IT management functions, companies can access state-of-the-art security solutions and industry-leading expertise. With the right portfolio of tools protecting it, a small business can avoid these ever-expanding threats.

Managed services can help organizations avoid top 10 business hazards

Managed services enable businesses to more successfully navigate a threat-laden enterprise landscape. Although an organization’s biggest IT, operations and security anxieties vary by region, industry and company size, what they’re most afraid of is generally the same across the board – lost profitability, client churn and a tarnished reputation.

In the Twitter age, no confirmed threat goes unpublished or unanalyzed, and it’s difficult for an organization to escape blame even if it’s only affected as a byproduct of another incident. The woes of retailer Target, which reported a 22 percent decrease in its client base in January following a massive data breach during the 2013 holiday season, serve to underscore consumer response to an enterprise that demonstrates less-than-exemplary information security, data management and business continuity.

According to a recent Business Continuity Institute study of nearly 700 enterprise respondents in 82 different countries, the top 10 most common perceived threats to disaster recovery and business continuity are:

  1. Unplanned IT outages
  2. Cyberattacks
  3. Data breaches
  4. Adverse weather effects
  5. Utility supply interruptions
  6. Fires
  7. Security compromises
  8. Health or safety incident
  9. Act of terrorism
  10. New laws or regulations

How managed services assuage anxiety
Managed services offer vast potential for companies to mitigate potential problems in many areas because a provider’s solutions are customized to the needs of the company. The above list offers a variety of incidents stemming from the company’s location, industry, employee behavior and general security management. Overseeing prevention and contingency plans that effectively respond to all of these potential hazards is time consuming, resource intensive and costly. While it’s impossible to prevent adverse weather or control regulatory measures, it’s possible to keep these threats from doing any real damage.

Managed services are scalable, so the amount of a provider’s involvement can correspond exactly a company’s anxieties and potential hazards. One organization may simply require online backup services via an offsite server in order to increase its data loss prevention activities. Another may want to virtualize nearly all of its infrastructure so its employees can stay connected and productive during a wave of bad weather. As a company’s needs change over time, it doesn’t have to rearrange its entire back-end infrastructure in order to keep danger at bay.

Managed services key to making disaster recovery planning stick

Managed services can help organizations eliminate one of their biggest pain points – disaster recovery. Establishing and upholding continuity and contingency plans can be complicated and resource-intensive. Many businesses, especially fledgling ones, choose to shove disaster recovery planning on the back burner. Over time, the lack of attention paid to disaster recovery planning puts organizations at risk.

According to a recent study by The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, many organizations are woefully unprepared for disaster to strike. Its global survey of more than 1,000 organizations, from small businesses to large corporations, found that a whopping 73 percent of organizations do not have adequate disaster recovery plans in place. Its other findings include:

  • 64 percent of respondents said that their organizations’ disaster recovery efforts are underfunded.
  • More than 60 percent do not have fully documented plans.
  • Among the 40 percent that do have documented plans, 23 percent have never actually tested them to see if they work.
  • Of respondents that experienced outages, almost 30 percent lost data center functionality for days or weeks at a time.

Since there’s no way of knowing when and how a potential disaster may occur, companies are gambling with their future every day they don’t do something about their disaster recovery and business continuity planning efforts. Being proactive is the only way to successfully combat the effects of unplanned events.

Managed services can help organizations establish a meaningful, up-to-date disaster recovery system. They can provide concentrated data backup and system recovery services beyond those a business has the budget or time to uphold, noted MSPmentor. Keeping systems current, especially when an organization adds a new application or hardware, is key to eliminating vulnerabilities that stem from outdated disaster recovery plans.

Proactive risk mitigation is important. Managed services providers can help organizations develop recovery time objectives for business-critical applications and conduct automated recovery testing. Having a dedicated IT staff on hand relieves companies of having to make their forays into the difficult science of disaster recovery and business continuity planning alone.