The way that we work has changed completely over the last couple of months, and for many the change may become permanent. Organisations are fast realising that the remote working model has been good for productivity and digital transformation. Remote working employees work an additional 1.4 days per month in comparison to those that work in the office. Remote work can potentially be beneficial for individual employee morale, work/life balance, and therefore the retention of talent. It’s for these reasons that Gartner has predicted that 41 per cent of employees are likely to work remotely at least some of the time post-pandemic.
The channel will play a key role in enabling organisations to capitalise on the opportunities that remote working presents, and in particular managed services providers (MSPs) will be relied on to help support the diverse, disparate and mission-critical IT environments of these remote working operations.
The transition to better managed services
Remote working brings additional challenges for IT teams. Some organisations may find it difficult to monitor environments, ensure uptime and rapidly address issues where they may occur. When employees are working remotely, downtime has an even greater impact as it effectively takes the employee off the “grid.” Another concern is security, as employees connect to the enterprise network over residential Internet connections.
As noted in one recent report: “Corporate networks, unused to having a majority of their connections coming in over virtual private networks (VPNs), are experiencing unusual quirks.”Those “quirks” will require ongoing monitoring, upgrades, and even digital transformation projects to address, and many organisations (especially those in relatively resilient sectors) are expecting that they will increase spending this year with those projects in mind. That spending will be spread, with the most popular areas flagged as employee communication (43 per cent), mobile devices and services (37 per cent), bandwidth and network capacity (32 per cent) and information security (28 per cent). Download this eBook to find out what are the 5 cyberthreats that slip past traditional antivirus.
IT service providers can offer high-level, managed services to solve these challenges for their customers. Shifting from the break/fix model to a proactive engagement model gives IT service providers a more predictable recurring revenue stream. However, many IT services providers have difficulty scaling their business to provide the depth of service that their customers need without leveraging automation to manage the complete environment.
SolarWinds’ N-central provides IT services providers with the automation, visibility and control that they need to monitor, manage and secure their customer’s environment. As an additional benefit, by adopting this solution, an MSP can improve profitability and the capacity for the organisation to scale much more rapidly and in a less resource-intensive manner.
SolarWinds N-central and its features can also help mitigate cybersecurity threats from ransomware and help protect your customers with advanced security solutions. Along with automation, the security features will ensure business continuity and minimal downtime.
N-central in action
Managed services provider, Premier Technology Solutions, has become an enthusiastic user of N-central because it has allowed the Premier Tech team to become proactive with the support-heavy customers.
One such customer is offset printing specialist Bambra Press which Premier Tech needs to constantly monitor, because uptime is critical. “We’ve got lots of machinery. We’re capital intense, and all of those machines are networked,” Troy Riley, Director and General Manager of Bambra Press said. “They’re all running flat-out, they need to be networked, and they need uptime. Premier Tech help us on three fronts. They help us going in what we’re doing now, they help us plan for the future, and they help us deal with our problems.”
Premier Tech has also been an enthusiastic adopter of N-central because it allowed them to shift away from the break/fix model and scale in an efficient manner. “We used to have a preventative maintenance program, where we patch servers and reboot networks during business hours. That didn’t become scalable once we hit two engineers full time. We wanted to find a platform that we could use to automate those tasks.” Anthony Quaresima, CTO, Premier Technology Solutions said.
While Bambra Press’ technology needs are on-site, the N-central solution applies to Bambra Press’ devices being used by staff in remote environments, too. Managing an organisation that enables remote working means managing a technology environment spread over a great geographic distance.
The best way for an MSP to be able to manage such an environment is to introduce automation into the process, so that the necessary security measures can be set for vast amounts of customers, allowing the MSP’s tech’s time to be utilised more effectively (billable hours) e.g. for migrations, installing new office equipment, setting up and configuring new software etc. It’s also unlikely that that the techs will need to physically visit the customers’ sites, as automation is a more reliable means of keeping up to date with repetitive tasks and checks.
Leveraging a solution such as SolarWinds’ N-central to automate and optimise the full gamut of support services will allow the MSP to assist their customers to run at full efficiency at this highly disrupted time.