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15 Apr 2021
Benefits of IT Managed Services
Today, businesses strive to be more efficient and capable of generating actionable insights through data using modern-day technology. Since your network houses vital information that enables you to get more work done, you should manage this valuable asset with the utmost care and focus on upkeep and maintenance.What is IT Managed Services?IT Managed Services enable businesses to entrust their IT operations to third-party organizations with proven IT expertise. The third-party organizations, called Managed Service Providers (MSPs), are in charge of managing a business entire or partial IT operations, depending on their Service Level Agreement (SLA). The IT equipment, however, is usually provided by the client. Depending on the SLA, MSPs may offer around-the-clock monitoring, issue reporting, and resolution, among other things.Specifically, the SLA streamlines the exact services offered, the degree needed to excel with such services, and the criteria for measuring the services success. Additionally, through the SLA, MSPs usually charge a flat fee for the benefits over a definite period.By adopting Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technologies, Cloud Computing has enabled IT Managed Services to go further than the regions and borders that limit the average break/fix IT. With these feats, IT Managed Services increases and speeds up scalability better than in-house IT operation systems or break/resolve providers.Why is IT Managed Services Important?IT Managed Services enable organizational growth as it aligns the outputs of the organization. IT Managed Services will decrease your organizations problems and ensure services are delivered, as they have KPIs linked to your IT operations.IT Managed Services also provide peace of mind. By leaving the management of your companys IT needs to MSPs, you can devote and focus more of your time on running and growing your business. Instead of constantly fixing IT-related problems, IT Managed Services work to prevent the same problems from happening, thereby keeping your systems up and running.Furthermore, IT Managed Services aligns its services to your companys vision and goals. More than the daily IT support, MSPs provide an IT Manager and a virtual CIO with whom you can strategically discuss how your IT systems can fit your organizational goals.Benefits of IT Managed ServicesWith the rise of IT Managed Services, the cycle of experiencing a problem, calling up an IT expert, and getting stuck in between costly repairs and increased downtime in a reactive service approach known as break-fix, is soon broken. Aside from constant and consistent monitoring, IT Managed Services offer the following benefits:Predictable Low CostUnlike housing an IT team that can drain your budget for frequent and unexpected expenses, IT Managed Services get bundled into a set amount paid on an annual or monthly basis, depending on the SLA.With the predictability and lower cost offered by IT Managed Services, small businesses reap the most benefits as they can dodge the impending costs of hiring and training a team while simultaneously paying to maintain network servers and other necessary equipment. Prior to making a final decision on a provider, be sure to browse multiple options to ensure that youre getting the most bang for your buck.ScalabilityIT Managed Services saves you the monetary resources to hire and train an additional employee to your in-house IT team. MSPs not only absorb the costs of training but keeps your IT experts from jumping ship due to feeling as though the companys evolution is flatlining.Ensuring the scalability of a network takes intense coordination, significant human resources, and new equipment. Partnering with MSPs rids you of these worries as they allow you to expand or upgrade systems when you need to while simultaneously freeing you of the need to hire and train employees you wont be needing later on. IT Managed Services can ensure your business flexibility to accommodate swift changes, something that might be difficult to do with an in-house IT team.Experienced MSPs such as Equinix allow you to integrate everything and fully realize the benefit of bringing all of your data applications to the digital edge. Theyre experienced in solving enterprise network, security, data, application, and multicloud challenges.Decreased DowntimeDowntime usually results from equipment issues, such as server failures and computer malfunctions. Additionally, system attacks are also probable causes for rest, especially among small businesses that are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Human errors also account for a portion of downtime. Whatever the reason is, it is important to employ a strong protective system to reduce potential risk.IT Managed Services can cut down costs due to downtime by preventing it in the first place. Since MSPs constantly and consistently monitor your companys IT system, downtime instances are controlled, and thereby, minimized.Partnering with proven experts such as Databank provides you with a robust team of implementation, security, and support specialists to your environment which allows you to focus on innovation. Entrusting your network to organizations with experience securing complex, high performing environments will pay dividends for your business. Preventive ApproachThe appropriate reaction after breaking something is trying to fix it. With networks and data, this is easier said than done. And not to mention, very costly.Unlike the break-fix approach, IT Managed Services employs a preventive approach. Instead of rushing to call in experts in instances of problems, MSPs constantly monitor your systems for issues and resolve them right away before turning into full-blown disasters. This monitoring does not only save you from downtime but from the impending big dent in your companys budget as well.Industry leading MSPs such as Tierpoint deliver best in class technology and skill sets which free your IT staff for strategic projects, as opposed to burning time on reactionary tasks. Having a team that provides day to day management, monitoring, security, and maintenance allows problems to be mitigated prior to them affecting business operations. Proven ExpertiseOne of the foremost challenges in developing an in-house IT team is that it is expensive and time-consuming. You cannot know for sure how good your team is until they encounter a serious network issue. Although some may pass and do an outstanding job, others may not be able to solve the problem at all, causing you good money that should have gone somewhere else.However comfortable you are with your IT team, it is only a matter of time until you find that they are not well-equipped to operate or maintain brand new equipment or procedures as you add them. With IT Managed Services, an MSPs large team can add specialized services to your teams expertise. Specifically, an MSP offers you easy access to a group of IT experts whose skills you would not have access to otherwise.As markets and industries grow more competitive each day, it would only be wise to use a proxy agency. Instead of wasting a reasonable sum of money and a significant amount of time coming up with questionable IT operation systems, its safer to trust experts and turn to IT Managed Services.
1 Apr 2021
Unleash Your Potential for Business Growth
What is AppSmart Unleash? Why Should You Register? And, What About a Drone? I had the opportunity to dive into these topics and more with Brian Leonard, VP of Marketing at AppSmart.[Kyle] Tell me a bit of the thinking that went into creating this event. What was the driving force?Technology Advisors are 100% the driving force for AppSmart Unleash. This digital event is the premier gathering of Technology Advisors and business experts united by one mission: Growth. These Technology Advisors include technology consultants, trusted advisors, telecom agents, MSPs, VARs, integrators and IT solution providers of every kind. These individuals are highly skilled at working with companies to understand their goals and IT challenges and helping them find, buy and manage some or all of their business technology services.AppSmart Unleash is simply the best place to hear exactly whats working when selling in this post-pandemic world. Just as importantly, theyll learn whats NOT working so they dont waste their time and money. AppSmart Unleash, scheduled for April 20 -21, is all about empowering Technology Advisors to sell more, earn more and scale their businesses through industry best practices.[Kyle] Can you elaborate a little on the role of Technology Advisors?Sure. As business technology buyers embrace digital transformation, they really want and need guidance from technology experts who have their best interests in mind. Their only other alternative is to rely on the sales team from the provider, and we all know that while they may be talented, theyre biased towards their own company and solution.Customers want help around how to find, buy and manage hundreds of technology solutions including their data centers, connectivity, mobility, software, infrastructure, managed services, devices, and energy services. Thats where AppSmart excels and where our top Technology Advisors are thriving. We want them to continue doing so while also achieving next-level business growth.[Kyle] So what can attendees expect at AppSmart Unleash? Technology Advisors can expect to hear anything and everything about business technology services, including top technology trends, proven sales strategies, and hyper-growth tools - all shared from top-performing Technology Advisors. Theyll also learn the latest approaches to lead generation, solution selling, cross-selling, customer retention, project management and business negotiations.[Kyle] You mention customer engagement, which is key in the sales cycle. How does this event differ from other events?The best Technology Advisors build trust with clients and provide value to the customers after the sale. But this is really hard to do as you grow, and many Technology Advisors see churn as a result. On top of sales strategies, at AppSmart Unleash, advisors will also learn what all the chatter is about surrounding the AppSmart WorkSpace and how it drives customer engagement. Theyll see a demo on the AppSmart platform functionality and learn how to leverage them both to engage customers. Theyll learn how the platform drives efficiencies to promote customer engagement and, in turn, drive growth. Its time well spent for Technology Advisors that want to grow in 2021.[Kyle] Who are some of the speakers that attendees can expect to hear from at the event?There are so many valuable sessions at AppSmart Unleash. One panel provides a step-by-step guide to nurturing current customer accounts to maximize cross-selling opportunities. Theres also a business growth panel where industry trailblazers reveal lessons learned. You can check out the full speaker Unleash lineup here.Unleash also features keynotes from industry masterminds, such as Chris Voss, Founder and CEO The Black Swan Group Ltd. Chris is a former lead international hostage negotiator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Talk about learning negotiation skills from the best of the best!Also speaking at Unleash is an industry- powerhouse Aaron Ross, a former sales superstar at Salesforce who helped grow Salesforce from $5 million to $US 100 million.Aaron also co-wrote a book with Jason Lemkin, diving into the idea ofcreating predictable revenue and driving long-term value with customers. The bookcovers a lot, but it centers around 7 Ingredients of Hypergrowth.[Kyle] What made you decide to partner with datacenters.com to promote this event?We think the team at Datacenters.com is putting these innovative selling and customer success strategies into practice every day - and with great success. Since 2011, their audience and target market has remained clear - organizations that need access to a highly accurate and reliable data center directory, all delivered from providers and Technology Advisors they can trust. We like their business model and how theyve targeted a niche, and how theyre executing.[Kyle] Is there anything else you want to mention? Whats on your mind?At AppSmart, we see a tremendous opportunity out there for Technology Advisors looking to digitally transform and to help their customers digitally transform. Those advisors who drive efficiencies through digital platforms and deliver tailored customer interactions are in the best position for growth.Thats why were so thrilled about the AppSmart Unleash event! Its a one-of-a-kind lineup of top-performing Technology Advisors who are sharing their strategies for achieving next-level growth. Not to mention some of the cool tech we will be giving away, like the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.Attendees will have a chance to win the sleek and powerful Mavic Air 2 drone that captures HDR video for next-level content. All they have to do is register now and attend the event. Cant wait to see you there, friends!Review the full speaker Appsmart Unleash lineup and register today!
22 Mar 2021
The Importance of Proper Data Center Cabling Management
Computercable managementis an important task but often gets neglected or overlooked. From your very own office desk to the tens or hundreds of servers in a data center, disorganized cabling can eventually lead to a spaghetti mess - a phenomenon not only hurtful to the eyes but one that can lead to a wealth of serious problems. Thus, it is salient to get cable management right.What is Data Center Cabling?Data centers usually use three main kinds of network cabling: AC/DC power, ground, copper, and fiber optic. To determine which type of cabling should get equipped, you may refer to the interface available on the equipment used in the data center. Additionally, you may also determine specific network data cabling needs based on the data center equipments bandwidth requirements.Data Center cabling may fall under either of two categories: structured or unstructured. When predefined standards based on design, with preset connection points and pathways, are employed, it follows a structured cabling design. Specifically, structured cabling enforces a cabling design based on the bandwidth requirements of the system. After testing to ensure good performance, the cables will then get organized and labeled. While a structured cabling system may take longer to install and may initially pose a higher cost, in the long run, the operational costs will significantly be lower, and the systems lifespan will remarkably be longer than that of an unstructured approach.Contrarily, cabling systems that do not utilize predefined standards, connection points, or pathways are known as Unstructured cabling, also called Point to Point cabling systems. Because of airflow restrictions, this cabling system might lead to cooling issues and higher energy costs. Given that unstructured cabling does not use preset plans or designs, managing system growth will be more challenging since there is no guide to guide changes in cable locations or run new cabling. Although it may take less time to install and pose fewer initial costs, ultimately, unstructured cabling will end in higher operational costs and a shorter system lifespan.Why is it Important?The connectivity provided by cabling infrastructure is the foundation of every data center enabling the transactions that help businesses make mission-critical decisions every day. All data centers have various cabling types, ranging from all-copper installation to all-fiber installation and everything in between (depending on your equipment and requirements). Whether the cables in question are for power or data, failure to properly manage this critical part of data center infrastructure can cause serious issues, from increased operating costs to more expensive outages. Cable management cannot be an afterthought.The network and connectivity brought forth by cabling systems are the core of every data center. Cabling infrastructures enable transactions that make it possible for businesses to make crucial decisions daily. Data centers enforce various cabling, varying from all-copper installation to all-fiber installation and everything in between, depending on the equipment and its requirements. Whatever the cables under consideration are for, overlooking and neglecting this critical part of data center infrastructure can cause serious problems, from higher operating costs to more costly outages. Cable management must be handled by foresight or run the risks of a series of issues on hindsight.To get data center cabling right, like many other life practices, thorough team planning and thinking through the installation in advance is always best. Simultaneously designing a cabling infrastructure and the data center, using system requirements and physical layout to ascertain the types and quantities of cables needed might be the optimum solution to data center cabling. The time spent planning the infrastructure will save time. When you plan the infrastructure out, you dont have to waste time identifying which equipment is connected to which cable for troubleshooting, repair, or replacement in the future.Best Practices: Data Center Cable ManagementAside from the aesthetic satisfaction from looking at an organized data center cabling system, planning out cabling infrastructures saves peoples time, money, and many other resources. Disorganized cabling installations only result in unnecessary headaches for data center owners and operators for using up time and resources to mitigate problems that never would have happened had they given enough attention to cabling management.Proper cable management is not an option. It is a must. It is mission-critical. To ensure that cabling infrastructure meet your data center needs, follow these best practices:ANSI/TIA-942-B-2017 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data CentersBICSI 002-2019 Data Center Design Implementation Best PracticesInstallation Best PracticesTesting and Certification: To ensure that the infrastructure is working and will support your bandwidth and system needs.Documentation: To record the types of cables used and the locations and connections of each cable to ease future troubleshooting or maintenance.Measure: To ensure that the cables are of proper length. This measurement prevents unforeseen downtime to critical IT equipment caused by loose wires getting tangled or disconnected.Growth plan: Make sure your system is appropriate for the foreseeable future. Ensure that racks and cable trays get ergonomically designed to accommodate anticipated growth.Organization Best PracticesRun cables to the sides of server racks to ease adding or removing servers from the shelf.Bundle cables together to conveniently connect the next piece of hardware down to the floor in data centers with elevated floors or up to the ceiling in data centers with wires that run through the ceiling.Plan in advance for installing additional hardware. Disorganized cabling can interfere with air circulation and cooling patterns. Planning prevents damages due to quickly rising temperatures caused by restricted air movement.Label cables securely on each end. This labeling process enables you to conveniently locate cables for testing or repair, install new equipment, or remove extra cables after equipment has been moved or upgraded, which saves time and money.Color code cables for quick identification. Choose a color scheme that works for you and your team. It may be wise to put up a legend signifying the meaning of the colors of each cable. You may also color-code the cables destination, especially for larger installations across floors or offices.
26 Feb 2021
"Remote Hands" vs "Smart Hands" Services: What's the Difference?
The COVID-19 pandemic forcing alternative remote work arrangements made companies realize the importance of reliable data center infrastructure. Most of this infrastructure is managed in colocation facilities, many of which are either not allowing customers or vendors in outside of emergencies or severely restricting access to prevent having the virus brought inside their facilities. However, data center providers have long since offered services for clients who may not be close to their physical infrastructure.What are Remote Hands Services?Remote hands servicesinclude tasks such as securing cabling, checking port numbers, observing or reporting indicators on equipment, rudimentary observation of the environment, and server reboots. These tasks are accomplished remotely without the client having to be present at the colocation facility. These services are usually offered as part of the agreement with the chosen colocation facility.Why are Remote Hands Services Vital?IT managers usually consider remote hands services when they are leasing space from far away from their physical location. This allows them to manage their data center without having to send technical staff to the colocation facility.Remote hands services also allow you to handle IT operations that go down in the middle of the night or during holidays. Support issues tend to happen when we least expect them. Remote Hands services can be deployed round the clock, even when no one from your IT department is available.Remote Hands ServicesTypically, Remote Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that remote hands services traditionally cover:Moving or securing network cablesNetwork router and switch configurationServer refreshes and rebootsHardware and software replacement or installationPower cyclingInventory management and labelingHandling shipping and receiving requestsReporting on equipment performanceAuditsWhat are Smart Hands Services?Smart Hands services include more complex tasks that need someone physically present in the colocation facility to deal with it. Some examples include setting up a firewall, managing data center equipment, media and supply management, complex cable configurations, equipment testing, and general troubleshooting.Due to the additional expertise required, smart services typically arent included in the colocation providers fees. Instead, Smart Hands services get billed by the hour. It is essential that organizations coordinate with colocation providers to clarify the services that are not covered.Why are Smart Hands Services Vital?There will always come a time when there are too many things on your IT departments plate. Its not ideal for any growing company to have an IT team that manually handles all operations within the datacenter. That would require maintaining a larger IT staff as well as providing comprehensive training, two things that significantly reduce your profit margin.Freeing your IT department from having to deal with infrastructure issues allows them to focus more on value-adding projects. Smart Hands Services strengthen the data infrastructure of companies without compromising their productivity. They offer immediate responses to various data center problems to reduce liability issues and potential data breaches.Smart Hands ServicesTypically, Smart Hands services differ for every colocation facility. To give you an idea, here are some of the tasks that smart hands services usually cover:Configuration of the firewallComplex cable configurationsPlacement device managementTest devices and fix errorsRack and stacking servicesShipping and receivingAutomated maintenanceSetting up and Maintaining BackupsPack and unpackInventoryDetect and respond to threatsMoving equipmentOperating system and server installationPower cycleOn-site and off-site technical support and troubleshootingRemote server restartsCloud cross-connectRemote Hands VS. Smart HandsAs previously mentioned, different colocation facilities offer different services. They may offer most, if not all, of the data center support services mentioned above. In terms of services, remote hands and smart hands differ significantly from one another.Remote Hands services often include initial support services of colocation providers. These involve remote IT support usually kept at a minimum. Simple tasks like cycling a servers power, checking the status of an indicator light, and reporting the status back to the customer are performed depending on the organizations needs.In contrast, smart hands services offer IT services beyond what is initially provided by colocation facilities. Smart Hands service covers complex tasks like receiving hardware shipments or performing hardware deployment at an added cost. Organizations can also deploy a technician to the data center to repair equipment such as hard drives and power supply units.