The True Value of a Managed Services Provider

The True Value of a Managed Services Provider

Evaluating Your MSP

Many companies see their Managed Services Provider (MSP) as a simple Help Desk that can be called when a system goes down or an issue occurs. However, having an effective MSP Partner brings real value to your organization through preventative and predictive maintenance. 

The value of an MSP is often discussed in terms of cost-cutting, but is your company cutting costs by paying less for Managed Services or are you lowering costs with scheduled tasks and fine tuning? 

There are several items you should consider when evaluating an MSP, including:

  • Is the provider more about break/fix services, or are they true IT consulting experts?
  • Is this MSP experienced enough to adapt to new market trends and deliver the best technologies for our type of business?
  • Does the MSP work as a partner to us instead of a maintenance provider?
  • Will the Managed Service fix our current IT infrastructure challenges and optimize our environment for growth?
  • Can the MSP help us with a digital transformation that fits our business model and needs?
  • Will we be able to assess the cost of the Managed Service in terms of efficiency and innovation?

MSP – Provider vs Partner

If you’ve never worked with a true Managed Services Partner, you may be wondering how an MSP can provide value to your organization outside of typical IT support. What if your MSP could prevent incidents from happening in the first place?

If your MSP is only working for you when you make a call, that means they work at a reactive capacity. Your business needs a partner that manages your devices before something goes wrong. A good MSP should provide: 

Monitoring – observation of workstation health with alerts and antivirus

Automation – updates for Operating System (OS), anti-virus, server OS, and third-party applications

Centralization – single location to monitor servers, network devices, and backups with alerting

End-User Support – remote and on-site support for your critical IT issues

These services allow your organization to lower the cost of service and save time by maximizing performance and stability through network monitoring and preemptive maintenance. Moreover, you can cut costs without sacrificing the level of support your business needs to run successfully. 

Using these guidelines can give you a solid understanding of what Managed Services Providers can do for your business and your bottom line. You should consider them when evaluating your current or potential MSP. 

Contact us to learn more about Managed Services or explore our MSP offerings
 

Why Should My Business Have a Technology Strategy?

Why Should My Business Have a Technology Strategy?

Creating a Technology Strategy

A technology strategy is a long-term roadmap that describes how a business will evolve its technology infrastructure and technology acquisitions to improve overall business development and investment returns. The primary element of a technology strategy is driven by the needs of the business, so it should align with business objectives. 

Most companies incorporate a complex array of technologies that must work together. This includes network, infrastructure, cloud, mobility, security, and IoT, which challenge executives and decision makers to stay on top of a constantly shifting landscape.

Gaining a clear picture of your IT Landscape

It is important for businesses to understand not only what technology they are implementing but why they are implementing it and understanding the best options for continued growth. Do your executives have a clear understanding of the IT infrastructure or other technology in use? It’s easy to lose sight of things until problems begin popping up, but at that point it may be too late. 

Aligning IT with Business Objectives

While technology may have been a luxury in the past, IT has become an integral part of the way companies run. Having IT align with your long-term business plans is crucial to the success of your organization. IT Directors are asked to solve business problems with technology, but they may not understand the business reason. Executives should work with IT to come up with solutions that meets the needs of their customers, employees and business.

Accelerating Digital Transformation

Rapid advancements in technology including IoT devices, automation, artificial intelligence, and Big Data have impacted all industries. However, incorporating new technology must be done in a strategic and prioritized way that will fundamentally change the way you operate and do business. Many companies struggle to roll out, adopt, or keep up with IT acquisitions. 

Keeping up with Security Threats

Each new device attached to your network represents another attack vector, and it only takes one device to compromise an entire network, disrupt business operations, or have a disastrous impact to the business. These threats are not just a technology issue; they are a business risk, and companies must be aware of the latest security measures to defend against modern cyberattacks. 

Improving Network Efficiency

Many companies today are running on IT solutions that were not architected to easily adapt to rapidly changing technologies and business demands. Your business needs will change over time and companies should build a network that is ready for growth and digital transformation. CIO’s face increasing demands to improve network up-time and efficiency. Is your network ready to meet the challenge?

Investing in Technology That Drives ROI

Companies need to make continuous investments in IT to gain operational efficiencies and improve customer service, yet many fail to see a return on their investments. Adopting new technology is one thing, but how can you ensure that your investments will create a measurable return? You don’t want to solve a long-term problem with a short-term solution. Profitable growth can be seen when IT investments are aligned with a company’s capabilities and needs while being supported by the right operating model and implementation skills.

Creating a Strategy for Success

Interactive Discovery: The first step is to discover your current state. Stakeholders should discuss current processes and technology use. What is the current state of your technology, what is used, how is it used, and how does it align with business needs? 

Focused Evaluation: Stakeholders should then identify the health status of IT infrastructure to pinpoint areas of concern and systems at high risk. Then, incorporate the goals of the business – what’s not currently in place that is desired? 

Technology Strategy:  Once you know where you are and what you need, your team can create a roadmap and timeline to correct high-risk and potential-risk issues and implement new initiatives. 

Not sure how to begin? 

ZAG Technical Services developed the 360° Technology Strategy Review to help organizations create a thorough strategy for moving your business forward.  Learn more by watching the video below. 

How To Get the Most Cost Efficiency From Your Databases

How To Get the Most Cost Efficiency From Your Databases

Maintaining Your Databases

Databases are critical IT components for any business, so it is crucial that the health and the performance of the databases are monitored and maintained for optimal performance. Whether the database is large, small, on-premise or cloud-based, all have the potential to fail.  

Database failure can be caused by transactional errors, system crashes, no-memory errors, or no-disk space errors. Sometimes they just can’t cope with growing demand and fail slowly over a period of time. Database failures can result in: data loss, loss of productivity, other systems negatively affected, and dwindling user experience if the systems fail over time

No one can promise 100% uptime, but there are things that can be done. Best practices include: 

  • Regular and consistent backups and archive 
  • Test backups 
  • Practice strategies by introducing controlled failures 
  • Alerting

The problem is that many IT departments are short staffed, and maintenance gets sidelined—something to be handled after all the daily issues are averted. Keeping up with the latest database technologies and data management best practices can be even more challenging if you don’t have the expertise in-house. 

In order to get the best database performance and limit costs, your organization should have the following database support tasks in place: 

Schedule Maintenance – To ensure minimum impact to your business, a DBA should have regularly schedule maintenance windows to complete a performance review, install any updates, and find any potential issues. 

Health Checks – Ensure that your database environment is performing optimally. Regularly conduct health checks to assess backups strategy, index maintenance, DB integrity, log and trace files, security, versioning and specs, disk latency, current/projected business needs, and more.  

Performance Tuning – Monitoring your databases with a proactive model allows you to analyze patterns and take remedial actions before they become incidents. Making adjustments ahead of time will prevent you from having larger issues when something breaks.  

On-Demand Support – There are situations that require flexible support on-demand without incurring ongoing expense. You need someone who can quickly identify the root cause and remediate your database problems.   

If your organization does not have the skills or the staff to implement these recommendations, insights to the health of your databases, or has no recovery model, you should consider obtaining Virtual DBA services. 

Contact us to learn how you can work with a ZAG Technology Strategist to leverage Virtual DBA and other database services while implementing a long-term IT strategy for your business.