• September 15, 2022
  • Catagory IT management

Are you ready to support the hybrid office?

By : Sanjeev Spolia

If you’ve got employees coming back to the office while still allowing staff to work from home, you’ve created a hybrid office environment that can create challenges when onboarding staff, providing ongoing support, and securing a vast array of endpoints.

In some ways, having everyone work remote is more straightforward – when you have employees coming and going from the office, the environment becomes even more dynamic because the definition of hybrid work can vary depending on how you manage it and company policy. Consider the different scenarios:

  • The “at-will and remote-first” approach means employees are empowered to prioritize working remotely
  • An “office-first” policy falls at the other end of the spectrum and resets the organization to pre-pandemic norms
  • “Split weeks” mean days are assigned as either remote or office-based according to a schedule while certain employees might be assigned to be in the office on a week-by-week basis
  • Some organizations are designating who must be in the office and who can work from home on a team-by-team basis

No matter what you choose, a hybrid work environment reinforces the need for a cloud-first approach for business applications and robust cybersecurity. You also need to support collaboration for remote workers and those who opt to be back in the office – and everything in between. A hybrid approach may also mean people no longer have assigned workspaces – hotdesking adds complexity to workstation support and endpoint security, which should always be a high priority. Employees who are on the move risk bringing threats to the office with them.

The emergence of the hybrid office comes at a time when threat actors are upping the ante and exploiting as many attack surfaces as they can – it’s can be difficult for your IT team to keep on top of everything and it takes time away from more strategic initiatives such as digital transformation.

Even before the pandemic and shift to remote work, your IT team was under a lot of pressure to secure infrastructure and protect customer data. If you haven’t already turned to your managed service provider (MSP) to help you bolster cybersecurity, a hybrid work environment should be your tipping point. They can take charge of many security tasks that can otherwise bog down your IT staff, such as overseeing antivirus software and firewalls, and even identity management for all workers, no matter where they decide to work.

If your MSP is helping you with a cloud-first approach, they’re able to monitor your end-to-end infrastructure, including every workstation in the office or at an employee’s home office. They can take charge of onboarding employees so they can access business applications from anywhere and deliver security training services.

Getting a handle on what the hybrid work environment means for your business and relevant IT requirements is an excellent opportunity to expand your relationship with your MSP. Not only can they securely provision and manage the services you need, but also help you better understand your workforce in this new, dynamic landscape so you can enhance service delivery to your customers and maximize employee productivity.

  • November 7, 2019
  • Catagory Managed IT Services

IT strategies for SMBs should include a managed services provider

By : Sanjeev Spolia

IT strategies for SMBs are essential for organizations looking to scale and up grow their bottom line, but many face the same challenges as large enterprises without the resources.

There are ways to do what the bigger players are doing so you can grow your organization and your profits, but IT strategies for SMBs must have a vision, an understanding of the cloud solutions available to them, and consider how a managed services provider can get them were they need to be within their budget.

IT strategies for SMBs start with an audit

Not all businesses are the same, so IT strategies for SMBs will vary by industry and inherent regulatory frameworks, business models and overall digital maturity. Regardless, there will be low hanging fruit that can advance the organization quickly and affordably, while other initiatives will be multi-year projects that must to be broken down into achievable milestones.

Common goals within many IT strategies for SMBs are tapping into needed talent, which could involve recruitment and retention of employees or selective outsourcing to access skills on demand, improving agility by automating tasks or handing them over to a business process services organization. Given the ramifications of data breaches, bolstering security should also be a priority and embedded within all growth activities. It also might be achieved with automation—even artificial intelligence—or turning to a managed services provider for help. Most organizations are looking at how they can improve overall productivity.

IT strategies for SMBs should identify priorities based on a comprehensive audit of your environment, whether it’s your own on-premise infrastructure or cloud deployments, including use of the public providers. You can’t have a vision of the future without knowing for sure where you are today. This assessment is also something that can be done in collaboration with a managed services provider and can clarify your current security and compliance posture.  

There are solutions in the cloud

Your IT audit can help you easily identify what you can do by yourself and what elements of your strategy are better executed with the help of an experienced technology partner.

There are number of solutions available with IT strategies for SMBs in mind. You might begin by implementing organization-wide, online collaboration with Microsoft Office 365 and Teams, or alternatively, go the Google route with Gmail for business and Docs. You’ll want to think about the value of consolidating solution providers as simplicity for SMBs can keep costs under control and ease user adoption. Even if you go best-of-breed, most cloud-based SMB solutions are pay-as-go so you can budget expenditures as you grow.

No matter what solutions you adopt, remember they’re only as good as the workflows and processes you foster and the underlying infrastructure that supports them. In case of the latter, it’s one of the first things you should consider handing off.

Leverage the investments of a managed services provider

As much as any SMB requires technology to operate and is just as driven by data as its larger counterparts, they’re not in the IT business. And just as cloud-based SMB solutions are pay as you go, managed IT services providers offer similar pricing flexibility and can scale up and down in alignment with the ebbs and flows of your business.

Once you’ve done an audit to understand where you are and where you’re going, you can figure which problems are best solved by a managed services provider, even if it’s only one business process, but one of the biggest benefits is you no longer need worry about maintaining aging infrastructure with the limited IT staff and resources you have. A managed services provider has made the investments and is committed to maintaining their infrastructure to support your applications and store your data with a high level of security.

This investment isn’t limited to hardware and software. Often, an SMB can’t justify bringing on talent full-time, such as a DBA, but a managed services provider can provide people on demand as needed so you don’t have to worry about recruitment and retention but still enjoy necessary expertise when you need it.

IT strategies for SMBs are all about a better bottom line

Embracing cloud solutions and entrusting data and business processes to a managed services provider are key elements of IT strategies for SMBs, even if it’s only for a small segment of daily operations. The right combination can improve productivity and the speed of your service delivery at a lower cost, and most of all, lead to a better bottom line.

Sanjeev Spolia is CEO of Supra ITS.