As technology continues to make a greater impact on how companies conduct business, organizations are finding it increasingly difficult to manage their complex and ever-changing IT systems and the users that engage with them.
In the past, IT professionals had the capacity to learn and stay up-to-date with the systems that were critical to running the business. Over time, the needs of the business have changed. The diversity of skills required, the need for on-demand specialized expertise and the acceleration in the deployment of new solutions in the cloud have made the traditional IT model – both on the infrastructure side and the Service Desk side – unsustainable for meeting modern business demands.
What Has Changed?
While the cloud has helped businesses overcome many of the limitations of traditional IT, it also brings with it a new set of challenges that will require Managed Services Providers to adapt to continual change, learn new skill sets, and create support models that work with cloud elements. This often means migrating critical workloads like email, authentication services, or application servers to a cloud platform such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Cloud – or a mix of multiple vendors. But even with all this focus on innovation in the cloud, there still seems to be a lot of confusion around how to transition from a legacy state to a fully cloud-managed platform. This is where having a Modern IT Roadmap is essential.
Complex IT Environments
Gone are the days where you can set it and forget it. Organizations looking to grow must continuously retain, extend, and modernize their IT infrastructure to meet modern business demands. When you think about a typical midsize business today, the IT components likely include virtual infrastructure, a Storage Area Network (SAN), switching, routers, firewalls, end-user devices (laptops/desktops/phones), and most recently some sort of cloud integration. It’s not enough to just review your hardware for updates; you must constantly consider the model for which you support that environment, figure out where you can optimize, and how you can better serve your end-users in the end. In the fast-changing landscape, a few missed opportunities now could result in significant misses in cost reduction, risk mitigation and security down the line.
The Expectations of IT
IT departments are not only expected to react when a server crashes, backups fail, or users call in to help fix their Outlook problem. Today, the expectations of IT have shifted in such a way where reacting to issues is no longer enough. Even if incidents are remediated quickly and thoroughly, IT must get to the root of the problem and focus on prevention and optimization. Gone are the days when a Managed Service Provider was just a bunch of technicians resetting passwords, updating printer drivers, and keeping servers online. IT is expected to provide value well beyond supporting the day-to-day. They must know the ins-and-outs of the business and proactively surface new opportunities that drive innovation and growth.
Security is always top of mind with IT professionals these days. There are numerous examples where trending ticket data points to opportunities in layered security improvements. One example is the rise in phishing emails being reported. Top executives are reporting an increase in overall targeted phishing emails which makes the security discussion and planning more important than ever. Understanding who is being targeted, the current protection in place and possible attack vectors, is key in preventing and improving an organization’s security posture as the attacks become more sophisticated.
Sometimes security improvements are less obvious. For example, an organization that typically has 1-2 requests each month to change folder permissions on their primary file server, all of sudden is now having 12-14 of these. Taking that data to the business units often leads to discussions around changes in Compliance and Regulation that is being driven at the executive level. From here, a successful IT Model is able to show the costs/benefits of implementing a more secure platform or solution that drives optimization and adds a new level of security.
In today’s business environment, a successful Managed Services model is one that can quickly respond to the day-to-day incidents as well as provide long-term, forward-looking value that is meaningful to the business. In my next blog, we’ll take a closer look at how modern Managed Services providers have evolved their approach to meet the needs of modern business.