With today’s business moving to the cloud, how you get IT support is changing…or it should be. This article is about what to seek in IT support now that your applications are in the cloud, or for those that have always run their business in the cloud.
The key shift will be that once your line-of-business application is in the cloud, your strategy for how you go about providing IT services should change with it. Especially for small businesses that have the majority of their business applications running in a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) environment.
A key benefit of cloud-based IT is that the SaaS cloud provider is now responsible for managing and maintaining servers, backups and security for your hosted applications. A good example of this is Microsoft’s shift to their cloud Microsoft 365 platform. You no longer have to pay an IT services firm, consultant or internal staff person to perform updates, upgrades, conversions and maintenance. Another good example is QuickBooks Online along with numerous industry line-of-business SaaS vendors.
And while the shift to cloud has many benefits, other IT issues will almost always continue to arise. So, what’s left and what type of IT support do you need now?
To begin with, cybersecurity has become a front-and-center topic as it pertains to IT support services. The need for cybersecurity services and solutions will only continue to increase as analysts predict. Every business will need to spend more on cybersecurity moving forward and this is one area you want to know what exactly you are buying.
Next, managing cloud applications, licensing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) will become more important as cloud applications spread. Ensuring these apps are properly configured with the appropriate security policies is critical to ensure your data is safe. Reconciling license costs on a per-user per-month/year basis is important for controlling costs and reeling in shadow IT.
Of course, now that you’ve moved most of your business to the cloud, your company has become more dependent on reliable and robust internet access and availability. Focus is now on ensuring your telco carriers are up and performing as advertised. Network monitoring is now directed towards the cloud to ensure performance and reliability.
Users will still require support and someone to contact if they are having problems. But problems will be more associated with ‘how do I use’ versus ‘something is broke’. As users become more proficient with their cloud apps, there will be fewer IT support tickets.
With fewer IT support tickets, you should enjoy a lower cost of service to support your staff. The fixed-fee, all-you-can-eat, unlimited service tickets plan may not have as much value now as compared to other options. Re-evaluate your IT help desk needs and optimize your costs and support.
Regarding your IT budget, know that your IT spend will begin to look different. Break out where the dollars are being spent and on what. Seek out MSPs and IT service providers that are willing to unbundle their pricing so that there is transparency into what you are buying. No reason to still be paying for file server support when there is none.
Lastly, the role of a vCIO that can provide guidance, advice and IT strategy will become even more important and pronounced. While cloud may keep some things simple, issues such as integration, data security and compliance will always be a top concern. Plus, there will be many opportunities to leverage your cloud solutions within your business and to your customers. A good vCIO will ensure your investment in this cloud technology will provide a solid return-on-investment.
Moving to the cloud is a good time to consider if your current IT staff or partner is up to the task. Not only are the skill sets different for cloud, but the pricing models are different as well.
If you’re not sure, contact RIATA and we’ll be glad to help you assess what you need and how much it will cost. No obligations and no long-term contracts.
Ask about our IT Manager for Hire program that provides the exact level of support every business will need as they move to cloud, and an unbundled approach to pricing so you know what you are buying. If your business is primarily in the cloud, RIATA Technologies has the support plan and services that meets your needs and budget.
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Tommy Wald is President and CEO of RIATA Technologies, an IT and security consulting firm specializing in cybersecurity consulting, cloud migration and business continuity solutions.