Over the past few months, IT professionals have made working from home possible with remote capabilities; however, the industry has not been spared from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the IT profession has been hit hard – more than 110,000 layoffs were reported in April. With IT playing such a critical role in business, there is an increased need for managed services as a cost-effective means of keeping operations up and running during these uncertain financial times.
Managed services providers (MSPs) provide the needed infrastructure, network, virtualization, operating systems and security protections to make digital transformation more affordable and available to businesses. FNTS has provided managed IT services for the past 25 years. The top five digital transformation initiatives we are assisting clients with during the pandemic include:
1. Cloud Migration: Continuous technology advancements mean even the newest technology will someday be obsolete, and investing in upgrading equipment can be costly, unexpected and hard to prioritize. An increasing number of organizations are shifting IT focus to cloud computing strategies to optimize services, reduce operating expenses, minimize operational risks and improve performance and customer service. The cloud is the foundation behind multiple business services. With public, private and hybrid cloud options available, customized solutions can be tailored to fit each organization’s business needs. Cloud computing enables them to operate with agility and speed, and the amount of time needed to deploy servers is minutes – instead of days or weeks.
FNTS assists clients with managing multi-cloud environments, in addition to providing cloud capabilities for other legacy hardware platforms. Organizations already in the cloud can complete a cost optimization assessment with CloudHealth to determine if changes can result in additional savings.
2. IT Support: With the current business landscape, there is more pressure than ever for IT staff to drive business value and eliminate time spent on operational tasks. Now is a great time to evaluate the cost of IT labor to determine how team members can shift into more business-focused roles by moving operational activities to an MSP. Leveraging an MSP can provide business continuity and 24/7 support to ensure technical and operational coverage during all shifts, which can be achieved at a fraction of the cost of having a full-time, on-site team.
3. Security Services: Many employees recently had to adapt to a remote work environment without warning. The next challenge will be migrating employees to a new hybrid work environment in which some on-site employees return to the office while others remain in newly remote roles. MSPs can ensure the necessary level of security and control over user access to corporate resources is maintained. In addition, they provide robust security solutions and work with businesses to implement security safeguards that can prevent and analyze threats due to the potentially sensitive nature of information stored in the cloud.
At FNTS, we perform security assessments and work with businesses on an ongoing basis to identify and address concerns, implement added safeguards and ensure the technical teams that are managing the day-to-day administration understand each organization’s internal policies and procedures. As regulatory compliance continues to evolve, FNTS is investing in next generation security capabilities to assist clients with improving security posture and expanding security capabilities.
4. Microsoft Office 365: The business case for operating email and directory services on-site is becoming harder to justify. Companies are adopting Office 365 instead of hosting and managing their own Exchange email environment. Since clients can add and remove employees as staffing changes occur, it is a flexible and cost-effective solution. In addition, Microsoft is phasing out support for earlier versions of Office, leaving older systems vulnerable to viruses, malware and other cyberthreats. Migrating to Office 365 is a low-risk decision, and the benefits are growing month-to-month due to the increased demand for more efficient ways to collaborate remotely and share documents in one central location.
5. Disaster Recovery and Backup Services: Company outages, service interruptions and loss of data can occur if infrastructure or equipment is impacted by a disaster or cybersecurity issue. Ensuring data is protected at all times is a critical but often overlooked task. In the event of a disaster or outage, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) makes sensitive data recoverable quickly. DRaaS will continue to evolve to provide additional automation of recovery exercises, along with providing additional options for leveraging cloud-based alternatives.
Backup as a Service (BaaS) creates a daily backup of data off-site. Off-site data centers are built to withstand the toughest conditions. At FNTS, we perform daily backups and routine disaster recovery testing, which can save organizations the expense of investing in their own hardware, software and staff.
Keeping Cost-Containment and Ongoing Support Top-of-Mind
Partnering with an MSP for data center and cloud hosting solutions keeps cost-containment and ongoing support top-of-mind by allowing complete control over the operating environment; access to the latest technology and equipment; around the clock IT support; and the ability to better utilize staff to be more customer-oriented.
In making the decision to outsource IT operations, businesses need to look at the long-term impact and decide for the business, employees, customers and future. A substantial amount of planning and research is conducted to prepare for a digital transformation. This means many preparations, including engaging employees and managing a potential internal culture shift. Educating employees on the process is crucial in ensuring they are comfortable with change. Finding an MSP that is flexible, communicative and accommodating to business needs is a big separator in the IT industry.
For more information on how we partner with businesses, visit fnts.com.