Seven Moves to Make in Consultation with Your IT Service Provider
Seven Moves to Make in Consultation with Your IT Service Provider
Teamwork makes the dream work. That is the case whether you have outsourced 100% of your information technology to a service provider or whether you handle certain IT functions in-house. There are many advantages to working with an IT Services provider, even when you have IT professionals on staff.
Leveraging an IT service provider is a smart move for growing companies. Working with a service provider helps you gain a focused and highly experienced technical team for your business. An outside service provider has a privileged view of the current IT landscape, since they get to work with dozens of similarly situated clients and in turn they are able to rapidly incorporate learnings and best practices.
Likewise, IT service providers work closely with technology vendors and innovators, gaining access to enterprise-class technology, products, and services. They also possess the training and support capabilities to successfully deploy this technology into the SMB space.
Your IT service provider will utilize world-class software and cloud services to deliver cyber security, backup and disaster recovery, and remote monitoring and management services, giving you peace of mind and enterprise-class protection and business continuity. Lastly, for most companies, working with a service provider gives you a single point of contact for all of your technology requirements.
However, even when companies have made the wise choice to work with an IT services provider, decisions get made by company leaders without the proper involvement of your provider. The “do it yourself” spirit can often kick in and people may forget to inform their provider about key upcoming changes.
In other cases, company leadership may not fully understand or appreciate the downstream impacts of decisions on the technology, infrastructure, and cyber security posture of the company. This is why it is so important to consult with your IT services provider if you are planning any of the changes listed below.
1. Office Moves
Not surprisingly, office moves can have a huge impact on the technology and infrastructure of a company. Unfortunately, sometimes new leases are signed and office moves are initiated without proper consultation with your outside service provider. This can lead to service provisioning delays or missed opportunities for timely technology upgrades.
There are many long lead time items in an office move, such as high-speed internet access provisioning and the availability of certain forms of hardware and furniture that may be in short supply. Suffice it to say, it is wise to involve your IT service provider at the earliest stages of a decision around an office move.
2. New Internet Access
There is a nearly insatiable demand for higher internet speeds, both for companies and individuals. With more and more video conferencing traffic on company networks, congestion and capacity constraints are popping up more frequently. Sometimes people jump to a new provider or initiate a service upgrade to try to implement a quick fix on network congestion or performance problems.
The reality is, sometimes the problem is much more complex. If the Wi-Fi network is underperforming, it may have more to do with age of the Wi-Fi hardware than the capacity of the Internet bandwidth. In other cases, simple network configuration changes may be needed to deliver the right quality of service. Whatever the case, it always makes sense to involve your service provider before any actions are taken, especially when ordering and provisioning new services.
3. New Line of Business Applications
Adding new software applications is often a seemingly riskless proposition. But it makes sense to do so in close collaboration with your IT service provider. Whether the application is running on-site or in a cloud-hosted SaaS infrastructure, there are always important considerations around security, reliability, and business continuity.
New applications need to be integrated into the company’s security and authentication schemes. Sometimes new data backup and data governance issues pop up with new applications. And depending on the application, new infrastructure or capacity may be required for proper performance.
4. Additional Network Equipment
In similar fashion to point #2 above, sometimes companies implement quick fixes or Band-Aids to network capacity or performance problems. Most commonly, companies or departments may add unauthorized Wi-Fi access points attempting to quickly upgrade a Wi-Fi network. In no time, unauthorized network additions can lead to further network complexity, poor performance, and new cyber security risks and vulnerabilities. Corporate networks need careful planning, and integration with the cyber security policies and procedures currently in place.
5. Employee Adds, Moves, and Changes
Making changes to personnel without involving your IT service provider can lead to some big security risks. No matter the size of the company, employee churn is a never ending battle. Properly onboarding and offboarding employees is key to maintaining high cyber security standards.
When employees are hired in haste or without proper involvement of the IT service provider, an employee’s first day on the job may be a somewhat chaotic experience, with critical equipment such as laptops, monitors, and other key software tools missing. New employees want to start a new job with everything they need to excel.
On the other side, when employees are terminated or resign, it is just as vital to have your IT service provider fully plugged into the process. Organized offboarding of employees is vital to maintaining cyber security and data privacy. All too commonly employees leave an organization and access to software systems and online services are left in place. This can leave an organization exposed to data theft or other forms of employee malfeasance. Many of these risks are magnified if an employee is terminated from their employment.
Suffice it to say, timely and close cooperation with your IT service provider is vital when onboarding or offboarding employees.
6. Growth or Downsizing Decisions
Both company growth or downsizing can stress the stability of IT systems and infrastructure. When companies are rapidly growing, your IT service provider is a key partner in helping ensure that your infrastructure and services scale with the needs of the business. Moreover, practical issues like hardware procurement are best performed by your IT service provider, with their sourcing expertise and industry connections.
By the same token, when organizations face economic head winds and need to control costs or downsize their operations, your IT service provider is just as important. When employees are laid off, it is critical to trim licensing and service costs as well. Consolidating office locations can save on rent and could require IT projects to move and combine technology solutions. In other cases, companies are trading in their offices and real estate and moving employees to home offices on a permanent basis. Again, your IT service provider is critical to helping make work from home strategies successful.
Lastly, budgeting and strategic planning need close involvement of your IT service provider. When doing annual planning, organizations should think strategically about how technology can improve efficiency, productivity, sales, and customer service. Whether companies are growing or shrinking, cyber security is a key consideration to manage risks and avoid many of the challenges posed by cyber crime.
Technology business reviews (TBRs) are quarterly meetings between your IT service provider and company management. TBRs are an important opportunity to check on progress around technology projects, revisit IT budgets and capacity, checkpoint on cyber security, and explore planning considerations for the next budget cycle. Many companies struggle to keep their IT service provider team involved every step of the way on their planning process, but it pays big dividends to do so.
Protek encourages new and existing clients to work closely with us every step of the way. If you are planning any of the previously mentioned changes, please contact Protek Support right away to coordinate the change.
Eric is the owner and CEO of Protek Support and is a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). He graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business with an emphasis in Information Technology (IT). He is an IT Services expert in a variety of technology related fields. Some of these fields include document management software/hardware, enterprise level networking and VoIP phone systems, as well as large scale software implementation projects and the setup of small business networks.