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Transition to Outsourcing Business IT Support and Management

Technology is quickly and continuously evolving, transforming how companies operate. Keeping pace is critical to maintaining a competitive advantage, but not all enterprises, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), can afford it. That’s where Business IT support comes in.

By working closely with an established managed services provider, enterprises of all sizes can quickly adapt and compete in a rapidly changing technological landscape. This approach also frees up staff to concentrate on core business outcomes.

In this post, we’ll dive into what outsourcing IT support really is and how to figure out if you need it.

What Is IT Support?

Outsourcing business IT support describes the process of hiring a third-party provider to manage your technology infrastructure, devices, users, and services, including systems administration, network support, and helpdesk services.

A professional managed IT services provider will handle all the IT protocols integral to enterprise operations and ensure seamless processes across departments and hierarchies (with little to no downtime).

While every managed support services provider offers different services, most provide the following:

  • Authentication
  • Data centre, storehouse, and warehouse management
  • Data backup and retention
  • General management and support services
  • IT security
  • Helpdesk services
  • Network management, monitoring, and security
  • Process execution and enforcement
  • Systems administration

The primary advantages of outsourcing your IT support function are immediate access to cutting-edge technology and top tech talent access. Companies also access significant cost savings, mitigate risk, and ensure uninterrupted uptime by outsourcing their IT operations.

Do you need to outsource your business IT support function? The answer to this question depends on the following:

You Need Access to the Latest Technologies

If you need access to the latest technologies but can’t afford the capital expenses that go with it, managed services enable access to cutting-edge technology cost-effectively. What’s more, you won’t have to bother with the setup, deployment, management, or maintenance (as it’ll all be outsourced).

Your support services provider will also ensure that you have the latest hardware and software. They will also help you manage the hardware end of life scenarios safely and resourcefully.

You Need Access to Top Tech Talent

If you can’t afford to compete in a highly competitive labour market, again, an IT support services provider can help fill the skills gap. This approach can help augment or extend in-house teams, or you can outsource all your IT support requirements.

This approach helps businesses plan, strategize, and scale their operations efficiently. Outsourcing models have historically helped businesses tackle existing labour constraints cost-effectively. Going forward, expect this process to become critical in a highly digitised world.

You Need Enhanced IT Security

Maintaining security and compliance is a monumental task that demands specialised skills and automation. In the current threat landscape, bad actors are relentlessly attacking enterprise systems. To stay a step ahead of threat actors, you have to identify and rectify potential vulnerabilities in real-time (with 24/7 monitoring, blocking, patching, updates, and more).

As everyone is now a live target, SMBs and corporations alike can access expert cybersecurity services through managed IT services. This approach ensures peace of mind as your outsourcing partner will work to keep your brand out of the headlines.

You Need to Increase Efficiency

Let’s face it. We can’t do it all by ourselves without the necessary resources. If you do, you’ll end up losing time, money, and (in a worst-case scenario) a data breach. Every company has heaps of stuff going on at any given moment, so managed IT services providers make it all manageable and help boost operational efficiency.

Even better, your managed services partner will accelerate the research, development, and implementation to make the transition to outsourcing business IT support painless.

To find out if your business can benefit from outsourcing IT support, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

META: Outsourcing business IT support helps Australian businesses ensure efficiency and business continuity. But do you need to make the transition? Learn more.

Can Managed Services Reduce Total IT Cost?

Enterprises of all sizes have to contend with capital and cyclical expenses. These expenses relate to accounting, business processes, business IT support, development, helpdesk services, and much more. In this scenario, managed services providers help fill the skills gaps, enhance efficiencies, and reduce costs.

What started in the manufacturing sector has grown exponentially across the technology vertical. Today, companies can take advantage of asset and resource allocation management, IT support, and even software as a service (SaaS) models specifically designed to minimise capital expenditure.

Cutting IT costs through managed services depends on the organisation and business model. Sometimes companies are equipped to handle IT operations internally, efficiently, and cost-effectively. But most often, small and medium-sized businesses find that they can’t keep up with the rapid evolution of technology.

Whenever this is the case, enterprises benefit from outsourcing some or all IT operations to a managed IT services provider.

Let’s take a quick look at how managed services help reduce total IT costs:

1. Reduce IT infrastructure Costs

Setting up your own enterprise IT infrastructure demands massive investment in both hardware and software (and let’s not forget personnel). For example, when businesses leverage managed IT services and move to the cloud, they immediately access substantial savings.

They don’t have to invest in an in-house data centre, and they don’t have to pay for prohibitive expenses like power, cooling, software, storage, security, and more. What’s more, the cloud services provider will provide network support, systems administration and will keep track of hardware and software updates.

The best part of managed infrastructure services is the fact that you’ll never have to worry about updating your hardware and software ever again. Your business IT support services provider will ensure that you’re always working with the latest technologies. Sometimes they will also offer software like Office 365 at a discounted rate.

2. Reduce Operational Costs

Deploying IT infrastructure is one thing. Maintaining it is another. The maintenance of robust enterprise infrastructure requires a dedicated team of experts to oversee it daily. Maintenance costs are also unpredictable. You never know how much time and money it’s going to cost to resolve a problem.

Managed IT services help eliminate surprises down the road and provide maintenance and security services at a fixed cost (monthly or yearly). With the help of cutting-edge tools and experienced professionals, your outsourcing partner will monitor the infrastructure 24/7, engage in regular backup and retention, and minimise the risk of downtime by resolving potential problems in real-time (saving you thousands of dollars).

3. Reduce Human Resources Costs

Software engineers and technology professionals are in high demand and don’t come cheap. This makes hiring and retaining a full-scale IT support team will be expensive.

The ongoing tech talent shortage in Australia also makes attracting IT professionals much more challenging. If you manage to hire some engineers, you also have to consider training costs, benefits, and overhead expenses (to keep them on-premises).

Often, IT departments are overwhelmed with mundane and manual work like maintenance or fixing minor issues. When managed IT support services take on this responsibility, your staff is free to focus on what’s important, your business, and your customers.

This approach goes a long way to streamline processes, improve operational efficiency, and boost productivity. Happy employees are also easier to retain in a highly competitive labour market.

When companies are supported effectively by business IT support services, they can invest more in core business teams. This means that you’ll be able to add more qualified personnel, allowing you to scale without resource-related bottlenecks.

Managed services help reduce total IT costs. It’s just like renting or leasing an office space for a few years rather than buying the whole building. You also don’t have to deal with expenses related to infrastructure depreciation, hiring costs, or worry about creating additional space for new employees.

Are you looking for a managed IT services provider to enhance operational efficiencies, improve productivity, and cut total IT costs? We can help, schedule a commitment-free consultation now.

What Is the Real Value of IT Managed Services?

In an age where data is just as good as gold, robust IT support is critical to enhance operational efficiencies and avert potential data breaches and disruptions. But in a highly competitive marketplace, enterprises find it both difficult and costly to manage on their own, so it makes sense that many turn to managed IT services.

Today, IT managed services are at the heart of digitally transformed businesses. When companies partner with an established managed IT services provider, they get immediate access to cutting-edge technology and professional expertise (that’s often out of reach), cost-effectively.

What Is IT Managed Services?

IT managed services describes the practice of outsourcing secondary IT functions and processes to a third-party provider. This approach helps organisations concentrate on their primary tasks while drastically improving efficiencies and cutting costs.

For example, a Systems Administrator in Canberra commands an average salary of $85,000 per year (not including the costs of benefits like healthcare, paid time off, and more). But with IT managed services, companies can refocus their capital and other resources and concentrate on their core businesses.

Based on service level agreements, companies can focus on their customers without worrying about systems administration, helpdesk services, maintenance, network support, updates, upgrades, and security.

What Are the Key Benefits of Managed Support Services?

There are several direct, and indirect benefits to signing up with a managed IT services provider. In this post, we’ll explore the top four advantages of partnering with a managed IT services provider:

1. Access to Cutting-Edge Technology

When you sign up for business IT support, you avoid expenses related to hardware and software upgrades. With enterprise infrastructure deployed in a state-of-the-art data centre, you can rest assured that your data is safe, secure, and always available.

You won’t have to hire a team to assemble technology products, pay for training, and so on.  A managed support services provider will be equipped with the right infrastructure to start the project immediately.

It’s the most effortless and cost-effective approach to staying up to date with the latest technology. IT support services also ensure that small and medium-sized businesses compete on par with corporate giants.

2. Enhanced Efficiency and Improved Proficiency

When your staff is free to focus on core business tasks, there’s an opportunity to boost productivity with lower downtimes and reduced lead times. Employees are also better placed to identify new opportunities and create new revenue streams.

With highly experienced IT professionals just a click or call away, you’ll avoid significant disruptions and ensure compliance and business continuity.

3. Lower Risks and Robust Security

Ensuring regulatory compliance, privacy, and IT security is getting more complicated by the second. In the current threat landscape, expertise and experience mean everything.

For example, your support services provider will boast significant knowledge and expertise to deploy robust security protocols and secure your infrastructure in real-time. You’ll also benefit from their wealth of experience securing similar enterprise IT infrastructure.

Your business IT support services provider will also secure your business with the latest security tools. For example, if you have a payment gateway operating on your system, they will help ensure compliance with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI/DSS). They can also help with training exercises to mitigate the risk of human error.

4. Save Time and Money

When you partner with an established IT support services provider, you’ll have a clear idea about your IT spend (whether it’s on a monthly or yearly basis). This amount will be significantly lower than hiring an in-house support team, which comes with additional overheads like benefits, office space, training, and more.

With managed support services, you decide your contract terms and pay for only what you need. Furthermore, you avoid situations like the sudden need for capital expenditure to update and upgrade your technology infrastructure.

Your business IT support services partner will breakdown these expenses into fixed, manageable monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments and ensure seamless upgrades with little to no downtime.

As you’re always getting immediate access to the brightest minds in the business, you’ll also save time (with fewer breakdowns and troubleshooting exercises).

There are plenty more advantages to outsourcing your enterprise IT function. To learn more about IT managed services, schedule commitment-free consultation.

What Are Managed Services in the IT Industry?

Managed Services Providers (MSPs) offer a wide range of technology services following a subscription model. This approach eliminates initial capital expenses and ensures immediate access to cutting-edge technology, cost-effectively.

Originally designed to help corporations outsource some of their operations to boost efficiency and cut costs, managed services are now accessible to small and medium-sized businesses.

But before we go any further, let’s first define it.

What are Managed Services?

Managed services describe the process of outsourcing certain functions (like back-office processes) to enable efficiency and optimise costs. As it gets harder for small businesses to access the expertise they need, things like managed helpdesk services and support services are quickly becoming the norm.

Whenever enterprises adopt this approach, they get an external dedicated team of experts assigned to handle specific tasks and a team leader who is accountable for the services rendered.

When you partner with an MSP, you essentially free up your staff and resources to focus on your primary operations and what’s really important–your business.

As this industry vertical evolves, Managed IT services have grown to offer services like cloud hosting, real-time monitoring, maintenance, and more. This approach helps organisations fill the skills and technology gaps while ensuring business continuity and regulatory compliance.

In this scenario, managed services don’t just help enhance operational efficiency through technology adoption but also control expenditure and mitigate risk.

What Kind of Services Does an MSP Provide?

MSPs today offer a wide array of services. However, it’s important to note that all service providers won’t provide the same kinds of services. Some might provide all the services listed below, while others might just offer a handful of services. Some might only offer business IT support.

Managed Data Analytics

Data is the underlying force that drives digitally transformed companies forward. Managed data analytics services help companies access business intelligence technologies, data management and analytics tools, and real-time monitoring services.

Managed Cloud Infrastructure

Cloud infrastructure management is widespread, especially in a post-pandemic world. Managed cloud infrastructure services providers help manage cloud computing protocols, operating systems, data storage, software, and more. Some even provide virtualisation services for apps.

Managed Communication Services

Managed communication services or managed unified communication services provide extensive communication capabilities for a monthly (or annual) fee. For example, a managed communication services provider may deploy communications infrastructure to enable instant messaging, VoIP (voice over internet protocol), and video. Some MSPs also provide third-party call centre services.

Managed Network Support

MSPs that provide managed network support usually manage the entire enterprise network. In this scenario, they’ll handle your LAN, WAPS (and other connections) and manage backup and storage options.

Managed Print Services

Managed print services blend both business and managed IT services. For example, the MSP will provide the technology, remotely assist with data and file infrastructure, and (sometimes) connect to external printing services. This type of service is suitable for companies with highly complex file management and printing needs.

Managed Cybersecurity

As data breaches become the norm, it’s now critical for companies to fortify their infrastructure. But not many boast the necessary resources and personnel to achieve it. Managed cybersecurity services help even the playing field by deploying robust security technologies that are supported by real-time monitoring, 

Managed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

While you can directly access SaaS options from a company, for example, Office 365 from Microsoft, it’s often cheaper to subscribe to through an MSP. This is because managed IT services providers often have special agreements with tech giants that enable cost savings (that trickle down to the customer).

Managed Support Services

As alluded to above, the most common service offered by MSPs is IT support services, which usually takes the form of helpdesk services. This approach provides businesses with real-time IT support without any of the HR or overhead expenses.

If your company has been digitally transformed, you’ll benefit from support services. It can also have a positive impact on your bottom line by boosting productivity and keeping costs down.

To learn more about managed services and how it can help your business, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Microsoft 365 vs. Perpetual Licensing: What’s the Best Option for Your Business?

Last year, Microsoft announced that it would no longer sell perpetual licenses for their products like Office Home and Business 2019 and Office Professional Plus 2019. This deeply discounted option to use Office 365 on PCs and Macs seemed destined for a subscription-only licensing model.

However, a year later, the tech giant quietly announced that they would release a new perpetual licensing version of Microsoft Office during the second half of 2021.

The company also announced they would release new versions of Exchange Server, Project Server, SharePoint Server, and Skype for Business Server (although these will follow a subscription model).

So what’s the best approach for your business? Let’s take a look.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365, formally known as Office 365, is the only option for anyone who needs unlimited access to a wide range of Office 365 apps. Furthermore, it’s the best option if you need to use it across multiple devices.

At its most basic, a single subscription can be shared by up to six people who access the account simultaneously, or you can pay $9 per month for a single user. Finally, this subscription-based solution offers an endless stream of upgrades and updates with a low cost of ownership for apps like Access, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word.

Microsoft 365 also comes with artificial intelligence and cloud features that enable real-time collaboration and automation. This approach helps staff maintain productivity across devices.

The Microsoft bundle also offers one terabyte (TB) of OneDrive storage (which can be expanded for a small monthly fee), Skype minutes, and real-time customer support.

While perpetual licensing comes with a one-time fee and limited options, Microsoft 365 allows access to all its applications for a monthly or yearly subscription. However, you might also end up paying for functions and features you’ll never use during your day to day operations.

Pros and Cons of Microsoft 365

ProsCons
Unlimited access to all office appsLimited functionality and potential service issues
$9 a month per userOngoing monthly or yearly payments
Free real-time upgradesPaying for features, you don’t use
Windows 10 and macOS supportSome changing can be overwhelming
24/7 customer support 

Perpetual Licensing

Perpetual licensing is ideal for home-based users. In this scenario, you can obtain immediate access to popular software like Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word with necessary functionalities for a one-time fee.

If you don’t need access to extensive features and you’re happy to use it on a single device, then the perpetual licensing model makes the most sense. You make a one-time payment (that’s on the higher end of the spectrum), and you never have to pay again.

This software pricing model doesn’t provide regular upgrades or updates. But you’ll get all the necessary security updates.

One of the drawbacks here is that you risk using an obsolete version of the software in a year or two. However, the software usually has a life-cycle of five years, so you can still get a lot out of it.

Pros and Cons of Perpetual Licensing

ProsCons
Access to core appsLimited features
One time feeOne PC per license
Traditional computing experienceNo customer support
Regular security updatesNo upgrades
Windows 10 and macOS supportOnly provides support for Windows 10 and macOS
 No 1 TB OneDrive storage or Skype minutes

So what’s the best option for your business?

The answer to the question depends on your specific needs. If you’re working in teams and plan to use office apps for an extended period of time, Microsoft 365 makes perfect sense. This approach ensures seamless access to their entire catalogue at a low cost of ownership.

To learn more about Microsoft 365, schedule a commitment-free consultation.

Office 365

Office 365 for Email – Migrations and Downtime

Office 365 for email – Migrations and Downtime.

Some of the questions we get asked all the time when switching clients to Office 365 for email is: ‘How long does it take?’ or ‘Will there be any downtime?’

I thought I would write a post about these two questions specifically, in the hope that it can at least put you the reader at ease when deciding if Office 365 for email is for your business.

‘How long does it take?’

This is not a simple question, but has a simple answer – it depends. The time it takes to perform an Office 365 mail migration depends on a number of factors, factors you should consider when planning to move your mail services.

How many mail boxes? Obviously if you have 5 mailboxes, it will take less time than if you have 50 mailboxes, and 50 mailboxes will take less time than 500 mailboxes and so on and so forth. The more users the more support and admin will be required for the transition.

What type of migration? There are 3 types of standard migrations that can be performed to migrate email to Office 365 email, Cutover Migration, Staged Migration and Hybrid Migration. This is of course assuming you are coming from some type of Exchange based solution whether it is On Premise or Hosted. We also perform what we like to refer to as a custom migration, which is where we might move you from POP, IMAP email from a different source like Gmail or Mac Mail Server etc etc. The type of migration required will affect the required time to perform the migration.

How much data? The amount of data to import into Office 365 email is generally the biggest factor in determining the amount of time required to perform a migration. If there are 10 mailboxes with 2Gb of email, this will be 20Gb of data that has to be uploaded to the Office 365 servers. Now I am not sure if you have ever tried to upload 20Gb of data on a poor ADSL2+ connection but it’s not great fun. Now imagine if you have 100 users with 10+Gb mail boxes.

Internet Speed? If you are importing your existing email into Office 365, and why wouldn’t you. The data has to be uploaded to the Office 365 servers, and depending on the migration type re-downloaded to sync your new mailbox. For example, if you are moving to Office 365 from a hosted IMAP solution like Gmail, then the email generally will be uploaded from those servers which you would assume would have a decent internet connection, but then you have to have Outlook connect to the Office 365 Exchange Servers and download all of your email, calendars and contacts, which depending on your Internet connection speed will vary.

Aftercare support? So you have migrated all of the data, users are connecting with Outlook and everything is going well. Until your phone starts ringing and a user no longer has their email address autocomplete from before the migration, or they are missing Calendar items or maybe they can’t connect their iPhone to Office 365 for email. Allow time to provide support for these types of requests. There will always be things that can get missed, the most common ones are Scan to Email for on premise scanners, signatures, and email address auto complete.

The time it takes is generally not an issue as generally there is no interruption to services while the migration is being performed – if planned correctly. We recently performed a staged migration of a Hosted Exchange 2010 server with over 1000 mailboxes and 3TB of mailbox store, this migration took weeks of planning and preparation and was seamless to the end users with very little impact to the hundreds of tenants hosted in that environment.

‘Will there be any downtime?’

If everything has been done correctly, there will be very little interruption to business email services. The majority of the work is done during the planning, preparation and migration phases, again, if planned and prepared correctly. At most the interruption should be while a mail client is re-configured to connect to Office 365 and the mailbox is synced, during this time if there are any urgent emails that are waiting to be sent or received, keep in mind the user can always use Outlook Web Access or the webmail client.

So if you are thinking of migrating to Office 365 for email, which is an awesome tool for any business ensure you plan thoroughly, stay informed and communicate with your users, this will ensure a smooth migration and everyone will be happy, and of course if you need help or would like someone to do the migration for you get in touch with us here at AUIT and we will certainly be able to help.