Finding the Right IT Provider: Avoid These 8 Mistakes
February 1, 2022 |
Your business can benefit a lot from working with an IT provider. However, you need to avoid several key mistakes when choosing your team.
Time spent on trying to figure out the technology you use in your business can be costly. While doing that, you can’t focus on your business needs, which can then result in poor customer satisfaction.
This is where IT providers come into play.
They enable you to outsource hardware and computing-related services, such as managed IT security and cloud computing. IT providers can also provide a robust IT infrastructure so that you can direct your attention to revenue-generating activities.
While there are numerous IT providers to choose from, not all of them may accommodate your business’s specific needs. And integrating with the wrong team can raise your spending due to irrelevant services, recurring security issues, data backup problems, and downtime.
Therefore, you need to be extra careful when selecting your team. The only way to avoid disappointment is to avoid these eight common mistakes when looking for the right IT provider.
THE EIGHT MISTAKES
MISTAKE #1 – INSISTING ON THE NEWEST TECHNOLOGY
Many advertisers want to trick you into believing that the latest technology will resolve all your issues. While the newest virtualization or cloud offerings can boost operations in many enterprises, they might not suit your business. Hence, don’t let the hype surrounding new products dazzle you.
Carefully consider the results your IT provider will help you achieve and determine if the investment enables you to fulfill them. Your provider shouldn’t confuse you with state-of-the-art features – they should guide you and allow for seamless integration.
MISTAKE #2 – FAILURE TO CONSIDER THE RESPONSE TIMES
Determining the response times of your prospective IT providers is essential. You need to ask them how long they usually take to reply to queries and resolve problems. Be sure to gauge their onsite support efficiency, too. Not inquiring about their availability is another grave error. Your IT team should provide specialists that will monitor your system. Constant monitoring and availability can help ensure you can detect IT issues early. With this, the provider can immediately administer patches and updates to safeguard against disasters. Furthermore, your IT provider should offer simple access to their desk support. You should be able to contact them via email, phone, and chat for instant guidance.
MISTAKE #3 – NEGLECTING THE SECURITY ASPECT
Disregarding the security features of your IT provider might be the most severe mistake. Teams with improper defense mechanisms can’t shield your system from cyber attackers, increasing the risk of losing data and access to resources. To avoid this, look for IT providers that can protect you from malware and other threats. They also need to prioritize protecting your business’s confidential data, like trade secrets and customer information.
When it comes to specific security measures, your IT provider should have features that prevent data intrusions instantly upon detection. The list includes phishing attacks simulations, web content filtering, DNS security, endpoint protection, mobile device management, and dark web protection.
In addition, responsible teams should eliminate point-of-sale and network intrusions before they compromise your system. Making sure they abide by security compliance and government regulations is also paramount.
MISTAKE #4 – FORGETTING THE BUDGET
Many IT companies operate under pay-as-you-go pricing schemes. Although this helps you minimize upfront investment, adopting a large number of technologies simultaneously without considering the recurring costs can cripple your finances.
Thus, think twice before signing on the dotted line.
Research your providers thoroughly and draft your budget with professional assistance. These steps can prevent considerable frustration down the line.
MISTAKE #5 – NOT DETERMINING SCALABILITY
One of the biggest impediments to growing your company is choosing an IT provider with poor scalability.
By contrast, scalable IT teams allow your business to evolve and grow. They can continually extend their services to accommodate your company’s goals, even if these goals change.
MISTAKE #6 – OPTING FOR A NON-RESPONSIVE SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENT
Service level agreements (SLAs) hold IT providers accountable for their services. It establishes standards for responsibilities, quality, scope, and delivery time in writing. Without it, you’ll have no way of ensuring transparent collaboration.
When selecting your IT provider, find one with a responsive agreement. It can help guarantee the SLA scales with their services while rendering continual improvement.
MISTAKE #7 – LACK OF TEAM TRAINING AND FEEDBACK
The story doesn’t end once you’ve found and partnered with a trustworthy IT provider. New technologies won’t magically increase your bottom line and decrease outputs.
To accomplish your goal, your employees will still need to understand how to use your new tech solutions. But bear in mind that not every team member may be able to grasp new tools easily. Some may even prefer the existing platforms. Fortunately, you can hire IT experts to train them. These professionals should simplify any complex steps and advise your staff on making the most of your new investment.
Also, some enterprises set up regular training but fail to monitor their team’s performance. This is a huge mistake, as it keeps you from assessing your employee’s response to new technologies.
So, conduct questionnaires and other forms of feedback collection to determine and address any weaknesses.
MISTAKE #8 – IGNORING EXPERIENCES WITH PREVIOUS CLIENTS
Choosing an IT provider is similar to buying standard products and services. Failure to check user reviews can lead to disappointment.
To get a clear picture of your IT team’s capabilities, analyze their current and previous clients from similar industries. Look for reviews, testimonials, and ask the provider for a list of projects and references.
After doing your due diligence, you should be able to tell whether an IT provider is an ideal match for your company. However, keep in mind that every IT team is different. For instance, they might be well-versed in the healthcare industry but have no experience working with retailers. That’s why as mentioned, stick to IT providers servicing your industry to get the best results.
FIND THE RIGHT FIT
Nobody wants to end up with a poor IT provider that can’t deliver great results, leaves your company open to cyberattacks, and causes other vulnerabilities. Your investment goes down the drain, and your operations suffer.
Luckily, we can show you a way out.
Let’s arrange a quick, 10-15-minute obligation-free chat. We can discuss more ways on how to find the right IT provider for you and ensure you get your money’s worth. Feel free to schedule a quick call with a Morefield specialist to discus what is right for your organization.
Wireless connectivity for most enterprise environments has matured from a convenient mode of connectivity to a mission critical mode of connectivity. So how do we ensure that our wireless user experience is in line with the increased criticality of our wireless network?
All too often wireless networks are deployed by just picking spots and placing access-points. While this approach will most likely give you wireless coverage, it will also most likely not give your wireless user a great wireless experience. For wireless users to have a great wireless experience you need to have a wireless design not a random wireless deployment.
So, this is where most people say, “I need a wireless survey.” While a wireless survey is a component of a wireless design, by itself, it is not a complete wireless design.
Components to consider when performing a wireless design
Important wireless Design and Development Questions:
What applications will be used on the wireless network?
Will the wireless network need to support voice, video, or location?
How many wireless clients do you expect your wireless network to support?
These are all important questions needed to establish parameters that you will use in your wireless design.
Wireless clients come from many different manufacturers and use many different components. It is important to know what wireless client you intend to use and the capabilities of that client.
Identify the “most important, least capable” client and frame your design to support this client.
Choosing the Best Access-Points
Let’s consider this question, can you pull a horse trailer with a car? Sure, but should you? Probably not. A truck would be a much better choice for pulling a horse trailer – same applies to access-points. If you need to support enterprise activities, you should be using an enterprise grade access-point. Remember, components matter. Choose an access-point make and model that will satisfy your intended use and design using that access-point. Never design using an access-point that will not be used in the actual wireless deployment and never design using the “mythical” generic 802.11 wireless access-point.
How will you know if you met your wireless design requirements?
You will know you’ve met your wireless design requirements with validation. Every good wireless design should include an onsite validation component. Using the initial wireless design requirement as performance indicators, you should be able to validate the deployed wireless network against the wireless design requirements. This is also a good time to assure that the “most important least capable” wireless client also performs as desired.
Need Help with Your Wireless Design?
Contact Morefield Communications to learn how we can help with your wireless needs. Our team of IT experts have been providing best-in-class solutions across client networks and IT support for decades. Reach out online or give us a call at (717) 761-6170 to speak with an expert about possible solutions for your problem.
What Is Infrastructure as a Service?
December 6, 2021 |
Organizations need reliable, flexible platforms to support their applications, which is why so many have realized the benefit of migrating towards infrastructure as a service. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) ensures your business has efficient, easy-to-use, compute, data storage, virtual hardware, and network management, so your critical applications are optimized to accommodate your specific needs.
What Does Infrastructure as a Service Mean?
Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is a common cloud computing offer that delivers virtual computing resources over the Internet. IaaS service providers offer managed information technology (IT) infrastructure as a monthly subscription to companies. The infrastructure service is the combination of components required to run IT operations such as compute, data storage space, networking, managed in such a way to keep software and hardware running efficiently.
When your company subscribes to an IaaS service, you’re only responsible for running your own operating systems on the virtual servers, and your provider is the one who is responsible for all maintenance and repairs.
IaaS is important for companies that house business and customer information in the cloud. IaaS allows companies to deliver application services to employees, partners and customers while securely managing the content.
About the IaaS Architecture?
IaaS architecture is the structural design that delivers cloud resources to organizations customized to their particular requirements. Architectures are flexible enough to rapidly scale, so when your company consumption exceeds initial specifications your IaaS provider’s services can grow with you.
Cloud computing is architected with a dynamic multi-point framework that allows the IaaS service to accommodate a variety of end users. IaaS architecture allow your line of business applications to easily adapt to company changes, serving all your fluctuating needs at optimum efficiency levels. A well-designed Cloud compute architectures will guarantee that your business always has access to the computing resources it requires.
How Does IaaS Work?
Elements of infrastructure include resources such as virtual hosts, networks, as well as virtual hardware and software for data storage. After subscribing to the services from a IaaS provider, companies have access to these resources with minimal upkeep on their part.
Other infrastructure resources include network connections, also known as cross-connects, virtual processors, memory, storage, IP addresses and bandwidth. Providers have clusters of servers and interconnecting networks housed in multiple data centers across the United States. They maintain these hardware resources while the clients use the virtual components in their individual platforms through remote cloud access via an Internet connection.
What Are the Benefits of IaaS?
IaaS is just what your business needs to use cloud computing effectively. The many advantages of infrastructure as a service include:
No maintenance responsibilities: Managed IT services provide professional network support and serviceso your IT team can focus more on the business. The provider takes care of the underlying real estate, hardware, network, cooling, and uninterruptible power so your business only reaps the virtual benefits.
No maintenance costs:consuming your infrastructure as a service from a provider is cheaper than building your own infrastructure using your IT department and company resources, to include office space, electricity, and cooling. The management services include network maintenance and repairs. IaaS helps you reduce total costs, saving you money in the long run. Some elements of IaaS services are offered at a flat rate to allow for a predictable IT spend versus fluctuating costs to fix issues on your own as they occur.
On-demand access: Paying for IaaS through a provider allows you to use resources whenever you need them and only pay for what you use.
Remote services: IaaS providers monitor your systems remotely, giving you 24/7 support from wherever you are. The remote nature of IaaS means your users can access these resources while operating from anywhere, globally, with an Internet connection and overlaying security to protect sensitive information.
Scalability:You can adjust your infrastructure as a service plan to reflect your specific business demands. Services are available as you need them, so you won’t pay for resources than you do not use, and you can quickly scale resource capacity to meet your company’s growing needs.
Constant monitoring: IaaS gives you consistent peace of mind by keeping track of your cloud systems around the clock and preventing issues whenever possible.
Less downtime: Downtime renders your technology or servers unusable for a period, costing your business valuable resource and lost opportunity. IaaS can prevent the issues that cause downtime, failed hardware, loss of power, and weather events, so you can stay focused on your business’s larger goals and avoid costly mishaps.
Help from experts: IaaS providers offer professional cloud management services monitored by their knowledgeable employees. Providers exist to offer you the best services possible, and their teams are trained in this exact area of expertise.
How Should You Choose the Right IaaS Partner?
To find the best provider for you, you must first understand your company’s needs and the type of service that works best for your data.
In public clouds, IaaS providers offer infrastructure to many customers, meaning all the customers are tenants on a hyperscaled platform rely on shared resources across different accounts. With private clouds, the provider builds a solution dedicated to the specific needs of just one company, including protecting their sensitive company data. Hybrid clouds combine the features of public and private where businesses manage multiple platforms and decide where data should be stored.
When searching for a specific IaaS provider, keep these important factors in mind:
Know what you will need from the IaaS provider: Begin by identifying what application workloads are moving to the cloud. Then, list the amount of compute, memory, and storage that you expect will be required for each application. Finally, review the list of applications in total, decide how much bandwidth will be required to cross-connect these applications to employees, customers, and vendors.
Have a plan for file backup and disaster recovery: While these services are not mandatory, many IaaS builds include backup services for file / folder recovery and disaster recovery services to include workload replication across multiple datacenters. Replicating workloads in bi-coastal data centers can account for major weather events or other regional disruptions that could impact the operation of one datacenter.
Be familiar with your industry regulations: if your organization operates within a regulated industry, make sure to include this in your discovery discussion with a potential supplier. Some IaaS suppliers are better suited to accommodate specific industry segments and the overlying regulatory commissions.
Find a service level agreement that works for you: Providers should clearly state what they’re able to offer their clients. By setting clear client and provider expectations at the beginning of your partnership, you’ll know whether a specific provider’s services are right for your business.
Work with people who know your industry: Businesses operate in a range of industries, and their technology services should reflect the specific work they do. Businesses in all fields can benefit from infrastructure as a service. Find an IaaS provider with experience working with other companies in your industry so you know you can trust them to manage your information and meet your goals effectively.
Use a service dedicated to helping you grow: As your business grows and changes, you’ll want a partner that can sustain your new advancements and help you further expand when the time is right. Look for providers with innovative ideas and forward-thinking approaches so you can feel confident knowing you’ll always receive the most current solutions.
Partner With Morefield Communications
Using cloud-based technology in your business can maximize efficiency and set your company on a successful trajectory. Infrastructure as a service makes it possible for your business to use high-quality networks without being responsible for time-consuming and costly maintenance.
Morefield Communications offers a variety of IaaS solutions your business can customize to suit your needs, goals and growth. Our expert team works with your company to provide top-of-the-line cloud management that includes technological organization and integration. We’ll help you guard your data, increase efficiency and free up time for your staff to focus on making your business thrive.
How To Streamline Technology at Continuing Care Centers
October 29, 2021 |
As a type of healthcare facility, continuing care centers have some unique technological requirements. These facilities have specific vulnerabilities, such as populations with health issues and even high-security concerns. Older adults have higher rates of multiple chronic conditions, and there is even a specific type of fraud in which scammers target older adults. The operating environment is unique, too, requiring a mix of healthcare, business and residential technology.
You’ll find many different types of technology in senior living centers. By ensuring organization and streamlined structures, you can offer sizable benefits for residents, employees and the facility itself.
How Technology is Evolving in Senior Living Centers
In the past decade, the ways people communicate, entertain, stay secure and track personal habits have changed because of technology. The introduction of tablets, smartphones, smartwatches and other devices granted residents and staff access to more information, data and connection. Advances in commercial tools like cybersecurity and telecommunications services have brought plenty of new possibilities to light like faster results and more protected and accessible digital information.
From an administrative perspective, facilities are seeing a range of new technologies that help run the business, such as competent facility management software, information security and data processing solutions and more advanced physical security options. Administrators can monitor and communicate faster, more securely and more efficiently than they could even just a few years ago — but only if they support the technology environment appropriately.
Between keeping up with the times and meeting cybersecurity requirements, technology has seen a significant shift. These developments are modifying the way that facilities must approach IT, hardware and security. Below are some of the ways they’re shifting.
When it comes to technological security, the industry is consistently making strides with new solutions to prevent malware, ensure privacy and monitor performance. It needs to evolve to keep up with an ever-changing landscape of threats, such as sophisticated scams targeting older adults and a more extensive collection of personal devices, such as smart home speakers.
These devices, which are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), are a rapidly growing threat because they lack strong securities in their hardware and connect to larger networks. They can provide a “bridge” to sensitive information and offer up more points of entry. They’re just one example of challenging security requirements. The popularity of these devices has spiked in recent years with the healthcare market alone experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 21%.
Protecting residents and facilities against these new threats requires strong security solutions and ongoing assessment to ensure that security keeps pace with advances in technology.
Better Staff and Volunteer Support
The staff and volunteers working at the senior care centers work around the clock to offer the best care for their residents, but that stress can turn into burnout, which is especially prevalent among skilled nursing staff. Sometimes, that stress comes from a clunky, challenging workday. Modern technology has made it possible for facilities to make work easier and more efficient, offering benefits like:
Quicker daily routines: Intuitive technology and well-supported infrastructure give staff more time to attend to residents and perform their daily routines without worrying about connection or software issues. Technology supports the hard-working staff by offering up-to-date computer programs, phone service and intercom systems that simplify and speed up their workday. Online work management tools can empower staff members, minimize paperwork and add automatic record-keeping features.
Flexible workspace: Cloud-based software and reliable internet connections allow staff to work with laptops, tablets or smartphones for easy operations throughout the facility. All important documents can be housed on a secure, shared database for greater visibility.
Contactless interactions: Recently, facilities around the country have changed their contact protocols with residents for health and safety reasons. Modern technology allows for more contactless communication, such as intercom systems, video calls and phone calls.
Improved monitoring: Senior care facilities typically require around-the-clock monitoring of entrances and exits to protect residents from both elopement and external threats. Modern technology might include faster, higher-quality camera systems, advanced security features and immediate notification systems. IT monitoring is also important to keep an eye on servers and other technical aspects.
Predictive analysis: By leveraging the power of data, today’s technology can even help make predictions, such as maintenance requirements, schedule generation and risk assessments.
Eliminating buffering, long load times and poor connections can make the workday much smoother and more enjoyable for the entire staff, which also helps to improve job satisfaction and efficiency. Better work experiences can help reduce staff turnover, labor costs and more.
Active and Comfortable Environment for Residents
Independence is a significant factor that many families consider when choosing a senior care center. More and more places offer apartment-style living for independent adults who want a safe community to reside in while staying connected to their families and friends and maintaining active lives.
Entertainment, socialization and safety are at the forefront of these residents’ minds, and in the modern world, those often come through digital means. Overall, 67% of adults 65+ use the internet, with a higher percentage of 82% for younger seniors aged 65-69. Internet use enables many important activities, from streaming TV shows to connecting with the grandkids, so having strong, reliable connections is essential for resident comfort, especially in the coming years as more tech-savvy elders join these facilities.
Aside from simple internet access, this infrastructure often supports assistive and IoT devices, as well. The technical environment must support these tools securely, factoring in the unique IT landscape these additional devices create.
How Technology is Used in Senior Care Facilities
Much like schools and hospitals, senior living centers need technology to give staff members the best resources and residents the best experiences while maintaining a secure, reliable environment that keeps them safe. Let’s take a look at some of the common ways you can use technology in nursing homes.
Communication and Entertainment
Modern technology like smartphones, tablets and laptops give everyone transportable access to all kinds of communication. Connection to devices gives older adults the ability to keep up with friends on social media, join weekly video calls with family members and send daily text messages to loved ones. Modern technology makes these vital connections easier to come by and more versatile. It also gives them various entertainment options, from watching their favorite show to playing a game on their phone.
While these devices are important for resident happiness, communication is also vital for their health and safety. Many older adults are now using digital technology to communicate with their doctors and healthcare team. This might come in the form of Telehealth appointments or remote monitoring devices for vitals like blood pressure and heart rate. Of course, they must be supported with essential telecommunications systems like the internet and cellular service.
Staff can also use modern technology to send out email announcements, newsletters and updates to the community faster than ever. They can share virtual sign-up sheets for activities and create billboards for upcoming events to send directly to residents or even post on social media.
Assistive technology is making great strides every year, and older adults often use these devices to get around, communicate and make their days easier. Some examples of these devices include:
Smart home devices and assistants.
Remote controls for lights, blinds and fans.
Devices like remotes and keyboards with large, tactile buttons.
While some of these tools are essentially self-contained and don’t need access to the internet, many do need this connection to function or take full advantage of their features. Apps, for instance, often use Wi-Fi to communicate with smart lightbulbs, thermostats, TVs and other components of daily living. They may link up with smart speakers for easy voice control.
These kinds of IoT devices can improve access and independence for residents, but they also change the technical landscape of the facility. They might require more robust IT monitoring and next-generation firewalls built for the job.
The care and protection of the residents is a crucial responsibility of a senior care facility. This kind of support means constant availability is necessary from the staff. However, this isn’t always possible with limited resources. Technology provides alternatives that allow smaller teams to keep up and provide more attentive care throughout the facility.
Some examples of safety tech include:
Sensors: Sensors allow care staff to be alerted to concerns when they appear, allowing them to focus on other duties in the meantime. Sensors on the beds in each room, for instance, can be used as a precaution during the evening hours. If someone falls out of bed, the monitor senses the weight shift and alerts the staff member on call. This technology sends help to any resident without the constant watchful eye of staff.
Medication dispensation: Similarly, technology has made it possible for senior care facilities to access digital medication dispensers. These machines safely distribute the correct amount of medicine to specific residents to avoid over or under dosage. For older adults who have trouble remembering if they took their medication or not, this technology creates a safe solution while removing the human error of staff who typically count out everyone’s dosages.
Entrance monitoring: Security cameras aren’t just necessary to keep threats out of the building — they’re also necessary to help staff monitor the locations of residents. In some cases, residents may experience disorientation or other altered mental states that could cause them to leave the care and safety of the facility. Security systems and notification solutions can help alert staff to elopements at points of entry.
Remote patient monitoring: These devices might include watches, blood pressure cuffs, insulin monitors and many others. Patients can use them to send ongoing data to their providers and monitor their health over time. They contribute to a holistic, 360-degree view of the patient’s wellness.
With all of this powerful tech, it’s no surprise that security concerns are paramount. Senior care facilities need robust cybersecurity in place to protect against risks of malware, data breaches and performance problems. While most organizations have these same concerns, the unique environment of senior living communities makes their IT solutions look a little different, with factors like:
Elder fraud: With an older generation that isn’t as familiar with internet scams and the many schemes targeted to them, technical protections must be in place. You should install devices and networks with the most updated technology to work against harmful attacks. The right security solution can help residents learn to avoid attacks and prevent malware on their devices, but it should also protect the shared servers and databases to which residents connect to.
Medical information: Senior living centers also hold plenty of medical information that must be carefully guarded according to industry regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Appropriate protections might include firewalls and safety filters that help avoid leaked data, malware or regulatory fines. Without these risk mitigation measures, you could be putting the facility at risk for negligence.
Vendors: If you work with partners, such as a maintenance crew or cable provider, they must adhere to your security standards, both technical and physical. For example, you may need to have your maintenance workers sign a privacy agreement regarding resident information, so coming across a patient file doesn’t create an undue risk for security.
Security breaches in long-term care facilities create risk for the residents, damage to the facility’s image and costs associated with regulatory fees and lost business.
How to Streamline the Technology in Senior Living Facilities
Technology is constantly changing, and with a fast-paced environment like a senior care center, it’s crucial to stay up-to-date. Streamlining the technology in senior centers means making it more accessible, secure and reliable for staff and residents. From common areas to private rooms and apartments, access to technology gives older adults the independence and freedom they deserve while still caring for their wellbeing when it comes down to health, safety and communication.
Some ways you can streamline your facility’s approach to assisted living technology include:
Align new technology with your business goals and strategy: Technology shouldn’t be added just for the novelty of it all. Make sure it fits into your overarching strategy and helps you meet new goals. Consider its effects on your key performance indicators (KPI).
Focus on adoption: If no one uses a piece of tech, it just becomes something extra that’s taking up space and costing you money. Make sure your residents and staff know about the resources you have to offer and how they can help them. Try and build excitement.
Educate residents and staff: Similarly, offer training and classes to help residents and staffs use their devices properly and stay safe. A simple 20-minute class for residents on avoiding phishing scams could be all it takes to prevent a data breach.
Integrate technology: Whether you’re redoing an entire system or adding something small, look for ways to integrate devices and technologies. A seamless operation can streamline management and improve use overall. With Morefield Communications, we can take care of many different aspects, like training, unified communications, cybersecurity and networking services, so we can make sure your technology plays well with each other.
The best way to streamline usage is to ensure you’re patterning with a comprehensive IT solution provider.
Work with a Trusted Technology Partner
Wondering what technology is best for seniors? Instead of training all the facility’s staff and volunteers on the technology, the best solution is to hire an IT specialist. Morefield Communications offers expertise in telecom, networking and cloud services to keep up with the latest technology. As a managed service provider for senior facilities, we can help you offset the costs of state-of-the-art tech.
With expert help desk support, on-site and remote technicians rely on an outside source to assist with your facility’s technology with giving residents the connection they need to maintain their routines and social lives. At the same time, it provides staff with peace of mind while carrying on with their daily routines and check-ins without interruptions. Working with a trusted technology partner like Morefield Communications makes everyone’s experience with technology easier and more efficient in the long term.
Reach Out to Morefield for the Best Results!
Let’s talk about incorporating and enhancing technology at your senior care center together. For more than 75 years, Morefield Communications has offered our dedicated service to clients in the Pennsylvania area. Contact us for more information, and let us help you upgrade your senior care facility with the technology services it has earned. After all, your residents and staff deserve the best.
What are Co-Managed IT Services?
January 22, 2021 |
Managing the complexity of IT networks, system requirements, industry regulations, cloud computing, cybersecurity, VOIP, application updates, software licenses, hardware replacements, and more, is a lot to expect from one employee. Co-Managed services is an IT model that blends the convenience and strategic framework of an internal IT team with the support and comprehensive knowledge of a managed-service provider.
What Is Co-Managed IT Service?
Co-managed IT is an IT management service model that allows businesses and administrators to customize which IT services to keep in-house and which to partner. It gives businesses a unique opportunity to pair the convenience and up-to-date resources of an external IT management service with their own in-house specialists to optimize efficiency. With co-managed services, you can pick and choose the resources you need and when you need them. IT co-management is an opportunity to create a partnership to supplement, enhance and support your existing IT team.
How Does Co-Managed IT Work?
Many businesses need help or additional workforce from external IT management services, outsourcing IT operations entirely does not make sense for their business. That’s where the co-management model comes in. When you establish a co-management approach, you:
Analyze your existing IT department’s needs, skills, resources, tools and abilities.
Determine which services or resources you need to meet department or organizational goals.
Partner with a third-party organization to supplement those needed services.
Co-management looks different for each business. For example, some companies may rely on their in-house IT department for helpdesk support while depending on an external partner for large-scale strategies and security, or vice versa. It’s also important to note that co-management is flexible — as your needs or resources change, so does your co-management strategy.
Who Uses Co-Managed IT Services?
Co-management is the ideal IT solution if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
Your IT staff is too small or overworked: IT departments can easily become overworked if there is a spike in demand, a new and more demanding projects on the horizon or employees on leave. While businesses do have the option to hire additional staff, the process can be costly or time-consuming — and sometimes not worth the budget and time spent if there is only a temporary need for support. Supplement your existing department with a third-party co-manager to get the benefits of outside help without the same level of ongoing commitment.
You’re taking on a new project: Get critical IT projects done without compromising already stressed business resources. Co-managed IT is what you need to work alongside your staff to create smoother transitions or maintain operations while your business adjusts.
There’s a knowledge gap: Even the most gifted or experienced IT department may find that a specific task or issue lies beyond their skill set or training. In these situations, an outside party with specialty experience can supplement the gap in knowledge to help your team accomplish more in less time.
Many orgnaizations — including schools, health care, manufacturing, law firms, accounting offices, banks and financial institutions — are grappling with these issues and could benefit from a co-management IT model.
Pros and Cons of Co-Managed IT Services
There are numerous benefits of co-managed IT, but also a few considerations to keep in mind before selecting it as your management model.
Advantages of Co-Managed IT
Co-management offers much of the same benefits of total third-party IT management while allowing you to keep control of chosen tasks and let your IT team focus on their areas of expertise. These are a few reasons you should consider a co-management model for your business or department:
Retain control over operations: Your IT team retains control of all administrative access – and even gets access to tools and services provided by Morefielld. Choose which areas of operation you want to streamline with third-party input and direct the rest toward in-house staff.
Less responsibility to manage: Keeping your operations running smoothly and working faster with third-party help means there’s less responsibility to manage on your own. Compared to hiring a new staff member, you aren’t responsible for training or guiding a third-party expert. You have extensive access to diverse IT professionals with a range of experience to help you develop or implement strategies, give valuable insight and boost your day-to-day.
Keep up with trends: Keep up with IT trends, like security, software and technology, without adding the extra time and resources required to train your in-house staff to use them.
Offer around-the-clock support: One of the biggest advantages of using a co-management IT model is that you can offer around-the-clock support, including after-hours support, an essential quality businesses who don’t just operate 9-5. They can also help cover things like sick or vacation time so you can take time off and know that the network and systems are still being supported!
Get instant implementation:No more spending time finding, hiring and training new staff for a temporary or one-time project — co-management means instant implementation for new strategies or projects without the commitment involved with hiring a new employee.
Save and reallocate hiring costs: By supplementing your existing IT team with an external specialist, it allows your department to accomplish more with fewer employees and on-site resources, translating to cost savings for you and the IT budget. Outside experts can also provide insight into which product upgrades or technologies may better serve your specific business, resulting in more long-term savings and benefits.
Build employee morale: Business insights, improved strategies, quicker response times, professional consultations and decision support are empowering tools that can help to foster a more positive employee culture among your IT team. By giving them the resources they need to be successful, you’re creating a work environment that promotes longevity and better focus on the task at hand.
Get increased security: Bolster your current cybersecurity posture with our best in class tools and processes. Implement vulnerability management, security information and event monitoring (SIEM), mobile device management, endpoint protection and more with our partnership.
Disadvantages of Co-Managed IT
Choosing the right partner is essential: Choosing the right IT partner is critical to finding success with the co-management platform. They must have the tools, experience and flexibility to meet your specific needs. Depending on the partnering company, you may also have to navigate lengthy onboarding or transitional periods.
You could encounter compatibility issues: Always check with your chosen IT partner regarding software requirements and compatibility needs to keep operations running smoothly throughout the partnership.
There are upfront fees: While there are cost savings associated with co-management, you are responsible for paying the upfront fees for your new partnership. However, you do have some control over these costs, as you only pay for the resources you need and how often you need them.
How to Choose the Right IT Co-Management Partner
Before you begin your search for the perfect third-party to help you manage your IT, it’s critical that you audit your existing operations. Consider which services and skills you already bring to the table, then compare that to your goals to see what resources you’re missing. This will give you a clear picture of what you need, what you can afford and what to look for in a partnership.
Once you’re ready to move forward, consider the following attributes to make the right choice for your business needs.
Different third-party IT management companies have different co-management models that may include varying resources, technology or time commitments. Research each option carefully and consider what’s best for your budget, team, project and business.
Pay close attention to the following:
Contract details:Consider the details of the contract, including its duration, the services included and the division of responsibilities and duties. The idea of co-management is flexibility, so you can find the help you need, whether it’s temporary assistance for a one-time project or ongoing supplemental support.
Services included: In addition to the types of services offered by the third-party co-management company, consider the scope of those services and what tools, technology and equipment they use to complete tasks successfully. What is their plan of action should there be a system error, power outage or environmental disaster? What sort of data backup and security features do they offer?
Communication method: Frequent, open communication is the most critical component of successful IT co-management. Before you partner with a company, both your IT department and the third-party manager should discuss their plan for communication, including the method — phone, email, video conference, in-person meetings, etc. — as well as the frequency and emergency protocols.
Mission alignment: Finally, review the company’s mission statement and objectives. How does it align with your own business goals and values? For some businesses and organizations — such as nonprofits — similar passions or dedications may fuel an even more successful co-management partnership.
Choosing a co-managing partner with prior IT management experience and expertise is essential. Check the following:
Referrals: If you’re unsure where to start your search, seek advice from industry insiders or other people in your business who have found success with a co-management model.
Reviews: Once you find a potential company to partner with, check all references in detail and read reviews from previous clients. Request samples of previous IT management projects, including co-management and total management projects. Look for information about their skill set, technical expertise, professionalism and communication.
Expertise: Expertise is always important hiring criteria for in-house staff and external partners. Consider the technology they are proficient with, past strategies they have implemented and the scope of their previous projects. Look for partners that have IT experience in your industry or field for an easier transition and more valuable insight and recommendations.
Tools: Ask for a list of the technology, equipment, software and strategies your partner has experience with and which resources they will bring to your team.
Flexibility is a critical component of an IT co-management partnership. Your internal team needs to know that your external partner is available to adapt to new projects or issues as circumstances evolve and your business grows. Ask your potential partner about their formal escalation process, including any project management tools they use to resolve issues or reassign tasks. Consider the methods they use for updating tickets and how long a ticket stays at a specific tier before being escalated further up. This also includes post-escalation, like the method for notifying involved parties and marking tickets as complete before using the information to inform future training.
Don’t forget to consider different time zones and how they may impact duties or communication. If possible, partner with a local trusted expert who is familiar with your community and your business.
Your chosen third-party partnership should operate within your budget. Keep these cost factors in mind:
Know your financial status: Before you start outsourcing any portion of your IT workload, you need to know your financial situation in detail. Know what you can afford, where there are opportunities to save, cut and reallocate costs and understand the ongoing cost associated with each potential partner.
Be upfront about your budget: Be upfront with your third-party manager. Let them know your budget, so they know which tools and resources they can utilize and how often they may be expected to contribute to your operations.
Monitor ongoing expenses: Keep track of all IT costs. Compare the cost of upfront third-party fees with the money saved from not hiring additional on-site IT staff. Make adjustments as needed.
Contact Morefield Communications for Co-Managed IT Services
The right co-management partner can transform your existing IT team by resolving tickets faster, supporting your staff, meeting unique project needs and keeping up with changing market demands.
Morefield Communications is ready to step in as your co-managed IT provider. We offer technology assessments, personalized insights and recommendations and access to the latest technology in networking, wireless and security. Learn more about our managed IT services and solutions and connect with us today to speak with a representative.
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