Virtually every small business has already incorporated the use of computers and/or smart devices into their day-to-day business operations, and in fact have come to consider them as an integral part of doing business.
While technology tools have certainly made operating a business notably easier and more convenient in a myriad of ways, they do require a certain level of expertise in order to effectively manage them.
This article will define and discuss two very popular services, cloud services and managed IT services, so that small and medium-sized businesses can learn how to leverage these popular services for their own benefit.
Before defining what cloud services are, it's important to know what technology experts mean when they refer to "the cloud".
Cloud computing is defined as using a network of remote servers hosted on the internet to manage, process, and store data, rather than performing these processes on a personal computer or an internal corporate network. When corporate information is processed or stored "in the cloud", all employees need to access the information is an internet connection and login credentials.
One of the great features of cloud computing vs. traditional computing is that it greatly facilitates the ability to be able to work on-the-go. Any employee can access corporate systems from any place, by way of their smartphone, tablet, or portable laptop rather than having to wait until they get back to the office to work from their desktop.
Cloud services refers to any and all IT services involved in the management of a cloud computing model accessed over the internet.
Managed IT Services
While even small businesses have come to greatly appreciate everything that technology can do to help them operate and grow their organization, many do not necessarily have the technological expertise to effectively manage the complexity associated with the IT industry.
While it certainly is possible to create an entire IT department to provide the expertise smaller businesses require to manage their use of technology, this avenue involves a significant financial investment. It also requires a high level of technical understanding so that a company will be able to hire the best-qualified experts.
Managed IT services offers a different route and is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses who don't have the proficiency to hire the right people, and who don't want the overhead that comes with creating an entire IT department. The ideal solution is to hire an independent third-party vendor to provide and manage all their IT services for them.
The Benefits of Managed Services
Hiring an outside vendor to manage IT services, allows smaller companies to focus on what they do best -- providing outstanding products and/or services to their own clients.
Companies that take this route will have access to all the technology that helps them in their day-to-day business operations, plus the peace of mind knowing that a highly-qualified IT team is managing all their critical behind-the-scenes IT services.
Some of the essential services that managed IT service providers offer, include:
- Backup and disaster recovery.
- Patch management.
- Antivirus and malware protection.
- Help desk and support (on and off site).
- Asset management.
- Client portal and reporting.
- Mobile Device management.
- 24/7 monitoring.
Managing Cloud Services
Of course, along with managing all the other responsibilities of using corporate technology such as managing backup systems, ensuring protection against data hackers and thieves, etc., third-party vendors can also manage a company's cloud services.
This type of management includes a wide variety of responsibilities including managing hosted exchange services, supporting cloud services and desktops, ensuring secure file-sharing, and managing collaboration software, in addition to productivity tools such as Microsoft Office.
By employing the expertise from a third-party technology vendor, even smaller companies can benefit from complex technologies without the added costs associated with maintaining a large IT staff. If you are a small to medium-sized organization and would like to know more about cloud services and/or managed IT services, please contact us.