The 4 Biggest Cloud Migration Pitfalls (And How to Avoid Them)

pexels-photo-335907.jpegIt's inarguable that moving towards the cloud is beneficial for many businesses. In fact, it's become the de facto standard for organizations of all industries and sizes. But that doesn't make the process of migration a simple one; a poorly executed migration can result in administrative headaches, business interruption, and even lost data. With that in mind, here are four of the biggest cloud migration pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. Choosing the Wrong Vendor

Microsoft, Amazon, and Google all provide cloud-based services, but these services aren't necessarily equal -- and attempting to mix infrastructures could lead to more complication than is necessary. Companies should not only be aware of which vendor they want to use, but also the licensing agreements that they require for their current (and future) workload. An MSP can aid in analyzing the benefits for each vendor, as well as determining the resources that will be needed.

2. Not Considering Third-Party Integration

Businesses are now running multiple apps in cloud-based environments. When transitioning from on-premise apps to cloud-based apps, organizations are going to have to re-integrate all of the third-party solutions that they use -- and this may not always be as clear cut a process as it should be. Third-party solutions should be integrated and tested out in a pilot test program before the organization completely transitions.

3. Investing Too Little Time Into Preparation

Is your organization going to use a private cloud, a public cloud, or both? How many services are going to be run on each? There are many advantages to a multi-cloud approach, but it also takes a lot of planning. A cloud migration should be 90% preparation and 10% implementation. Too many businesses begin their transition with very little idea of how they're going to complete it, by transitioning small portions of their infrastructure at a time.

This is an area where working with an MSP can really shine. An MSP can give your organization all of the information it needs to complete its transition in a well-prepared and well-scheduled fashion. Ultimately this transition will take far less time and will be far less risky.

4. Failing to Protect Their Data

As of 2017, security is not the paramount concern of businesses on the cloud. Instead, most businesses are concerned with reducing costs. But security is still one of the major issues for businesses new to the cloud, as a cloud-based infrastructure requires a different approach to security.

Not only do businesses need to protect their data once on the cloud, but they also need to protect their data during the process of transition -- and they need to choose a cloud service model that appropriately protects their most important digital assets. To avoid this, businesses need to carefully consider the benefits of a private cloud, public cloud, and hybrid cloud, and need to invest time and money into training employees regarding the new security standards.

For the most part, organizations stumble when migrating to the cloud because of inexperience rather than inattention; there are some things a business simply would not know about cloud services and cloud integration beforehand. MSPs can help an organization prevent costly and time-consuming pitfalls, and ultimately save an organization both time and money. For more information about completing your cloud migration, contact the experts at CWPS.

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What You Need to Know About 24/7 Helpdesk Support Services

pexels-photo (24).jpgWhat happens when your organization's services go down overnight? If you have no method of dealing with this, there are two scenarios: either incredibly high over-time costs, or dealing with the system during the work day. 24/7 helpdesk support services ensure that your organization can keep working around-the-clock and that every issue is dealt with as it comes up, avoiding a potentially disastrous cascade of failures.

Get Technical Issues Dealt With... Fast

A 24/7 help desk support team will be immediately responsive to problems, so you don't end up with a large number of issues that need to be dealt with at the beginning or end of every work day. Employees will be able to connect with the help desk as issues occur -- and the help desk will have a large enough team that they can respond to these problems immediately rather than having to wait.

Support Out-of-Office End Users

More companies today are turning to out-of-office employees. Users may need to log in after hours to complete their work -- or they may be in a separate time zone entirely. A 24/7 help desk doesn't just ensure that these users can get support outside of traditional business hours, but it also gives a single, consolidated contact for users who are out of the office.

Procure an Instant, Experienced Support Team

Rather than having to rely on one or two IT employees, a company with a 24/7 help desk solution will have immediate access to a diverse and well-qualified team. Team members will be able to quickly identify the source of problems and resolve them in a timely fashion, so that your organization doesn't experience substantial business disruption.

Save Money and Improve Focus With Your Internal IT Team

Help desks free up your IT resources so that your IT department can concentrate on more important issues. That means that you won't be paying your IT team overtime to "put out fires"; instead, you'll be able to direct them to tasks such as optimizing your infrastructure and investigating new technologies.

Businesses today simply cannot afford downtime. When organizations go down, not only does internal workflow stop -- but they may be unable to deliver their products and services to their waiting clientele. If you want to learn more about the potential benefits of 24/7 help desk support services for your business, check out CWPS' Help Desk Support and Managed NOC services.

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Is it Time to Consider Co-Managed IT Solutions?

comanagement.jpgWhen is it time to consider a co-managed IT solution? If you feel that your organization is currently outpacing your IT department in terms of growth, then the solution may not be to add more staff to your existing IT department. Instead, the solution may be to take advantage of the benefits of co-management. Through co-managed solutions, an organization will be able to leverage the power of its internal IT team for growth and innovation, while handing over many of its day-to-day tasks to an experienced partner.

What Are the Benefits of a Co-Managed Solution?

IT departments are able to focus on high-level issues. A co-managed solution will push low-level help desk issues to an outsourced IT service, thereby allowing your internal IT team to focus on the issues that truly matter.

IT departments are able to procure expert, specialized advice. Co-managed solutions offer a wealth of expertise through a wide breadth of technologies. When situations come up that an IT team may not be prepared for -- such as a particularly complicated migration -- the co-managed solution can provide additional support.

IT departments are able to scale up quickly. With a co-managed solution, an IT department can requisition additional help on-the-fly. When an IT department is going through a growth period, they can rapidly scale without the fear that they may permanently over-extend themselves.

When Should You Consider a Co-Managed IT Solution?

If you are considering a co-managed solution, then ask yourself the following:

  • Are you thinking about expanding your business? One of the major benefits to a co-managed solution is the ability to scale more easily. Rather than investing in additional on-premise hardware or staff, you can consider contacting a co-managed IT solution about expanding your infrastructure and your services.
  • Is your IT department currently overwhelmed? If your company's needs have exceeded your IT department, you only have two choices: hire more help or consider co-managed solutions. And though hiring more help may be a solution, it can also be an expensive and time-consuming one.
  • Will your business be going through a major transition? As noted, co-managed solutions can give you the support you need through major transitions, both to ensure that the transition operates smoothly and that technology is in place for any future upgrades or modifications.

Does a co-managed solution make sense for your business? If you're thinking about growing your business and you need your IT department to spend more time on larger initiatives, then a co-managed solution is probably your best bet. A co-managed solution will let your employees focus more on IT strategy rather than day-to-day services -- and will be able to scale upwards with your organization on demand. Contact CWPS if you want to learn more about these benefits.

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Managed IT for Mid-Sized Business: 4 Things to Consider

pexels-photo-316879.jpegWhen selecting an MSP, there are a lot of factors to consider. As a mid-sized business, your organization is likely looking towards growth and development. Your business requires enterprise-grade technology -- but not at enterprise-grade prices. An MSP can help you with all of this, but first you need to find the right partner.

If you are currently looking for an MSP to partner with, then you need to consider the following:

1. Will the MSP Be Able to Grow With Your Organization?

Two-thirds of the fastest growing organizations ultimately fail -- not because their business was not a viable one, but rather because they are not able to invest in sophisticated processes while still becoming financially viable. Scaling upwards is one of the principle concerns for a mid-sized business. Companies of this size have generally established their stability and are now poised for expansion. An MSP should be able to help an organization with cutting costs, projecting more stable costs, and scaling with flexibility -- all of which will make it less likely that a business could over-extend itself financially.

2. Is the MSP Going to be Able to Offer Consistent Uptime?

98% of businesses say that a single hour of downtime will cost them over $100,000. Monitoring and maintenance are two key services that an MSP provides, designed to prevent downtime and business disruption. MSPs should be able to provide consistent uptime through NOC monitoring, system monitoring, help desk services, and disaster preparedness solutions. A reputable MSP will be able to guarantee a certain amount of uptime -- though no MSP can guarantee 100 percent uptime.

3. Does the MSP Offer the Services of a Full IT Department?

MSPs are intended to give mid-sized businesses easy and affordable access to the services of a full IT team. Most mid-sized businesses simply aren't going to be able to invest in a large team with a variety of specialists; it's simply too expensive. But they cannot hope to compete with a large enterprise unless they have a strong technological backing. By engaging with an MSP, a mid-sized business can gain all of the enterprise-level benefits of an internal IT department, without having to invest in the hiring of internal IT staff.

4. Will the MSP Be Able to Provide the Right Protection?

One of the major roles of an MSP today is to provide security. Cyber security is a constantly changing landscape, and most mid-sized businesses do not have the internal resources to keep up. MSPs must be able to address all modern security concerns, erect the appropriate security controls, and manage and maintain a wide variety of security tools and platforms. MSPs must investigate new threats and mitigate them through the use of cutting-edge technologies -- and they must be able to do this all within a well-integrated environment.

The right MSP is going to be able to substantially lessen the burden on your internal IT department while still letting you leverage enterprise-level technologies. Not only will this make you more competitive within your market (and poised for growth), but it will also streamline your expenses and your operations so that your business can sustain its cash flow. For more information about the benefits of managed IT services for mid-sized businesses, contact CWPS.

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Looking for IaaS? Get Help With Managed IT Infrastructure Services

IT MSP Offerings.jpgIf you're looking for infrastructure as a service (IaaS), one of the easiest ways to make that transition is through a managed IT infrastructure service. A managed service provider will be able to get your organization started right away -- but first, let's discuss what IaaS is and its advantages.

What Is Infrastructure as a Service?

Rather than investing in on-premise hardware and built-in software solutions, an organization can instead deploy infrastructure-as-a-service. Infrastructure-as-a-service is a complete and instant computing environment, which is provided through the Internet and requisitioned on demand. An IaaS solution neatly sidesteps issues for an organization such as the physical aspects of scaling up and the cost of securing, managing, maintaining, and monitoring computer systems. For the best environment, an IaaS infrastructure is generally paired with a managed service provider (MSP).

What Are the Benefits of an MSP + IAAS?

Transition easily to an IaaS infrastructure. Your MSP will analyze your current on-premise infrastructure and determine the easiest ways to make this transition. If your organization is just getting started, your MSP will assess your company's needs to find an IaaS solution that fits with your current activity and your future needs.

Migrate your data to the cloud. Migrating to the cloud is no joke -- it can be exceedingly complex. A mismanaged migration could lead to data loss and business disruption. But an accomplished MSP will be able to handle a migration from start-to-finish, so you don't have to worry.

Gain complete IaaS support. Your MSP will support your system with 24/7 help desk support. Your IaaS solution is going to be your organization's IT infrastructure; you need to have constant access, and you need to have things operating smoothly if you want to avoid disruption. 

Integrate multiple clouds and solutions. When constructing an IaaS, it has become very popular to have multiple clouds and multiple applications on each cloud solution. An MSP will aid with integrating these often disparate systems and solutions so that your business has a streamlined and optimized workflow. 

Securing your system. Transitioning to IaaS means that your data is going to have to be transferred to a cloud-based solution -- and it means your employees are going to have to transition to a new type of environment. All of this involves some major security concerns, which an MSP will be able to address through software solutions and training.

If you are interested in transitioning to infrastructure-as-a-service, your best bet is going to be completing this transition with the help of an MSP. An MSP gives you all of the tools that you need to setup, manage, and maintain your IaaS infrastructure moving forward -- in the form of an IT partnership that can fulfill all of your IT department requirements. And MSPs don't only work with IaaS; they also provide many other valuable services. Contact CWPS today to learn more.

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What You Need to Know About the Managed Services Pricing Model

MSP Pricing.pngA managed service provider is the obvious choice if your business needs IT help -- but how much is it going to cost you? If you've been looking into MSP pricing, you may be getting a little confused... but you don't need to worry. Managed service pricing models can initially seem complex, but that can actually much better for your organization.

Consider the Services Offered by a Managed Service Provider

MSPs are set along a fairly wide spectrum. Some MSPs only handle things such as network monitoring -- they are essentially NOC providers and do little else. But other MSPs will handle absolutely everything related to your organization's infrastructure, ranging from 24/7 support to managing IT projects such as migration. Consequently, a business could see some pricing discrepancy; an MSP that seems a little "too cheap" could not be offering the same services as others. 

The Different Types of Managed Service Pricing

Even when MSPs have similar product offerings, there are some different types of pricing model that they may use. These include:

  • Per user. This is the traditional "per seat" license that many businesses are used to; however many users you have, your cost is calculated based on this. This is often a fairly fair pricing model, as most users will require an average amount of support.
  • Per device. This is similar to per user, but it's per actual device that is utilized across the infrastructure. About 41 percent of MSPs will use this type of billing; though it's a little more complicated than per user, it tends to work out to a more fair and accurate amount.
  • Per tier. A tiered pricing model will usually create several structured tiers of service that the MSP offers, based on the size of the organization and services rendered. This is often the easiest for an organization to track -- and the simplest for both parties.
  • Per service. There are also organizations that simply bill based on the services that they have offered; there's a flat rate, and they essentially become your IT department. This can be very valuable for organizations that simply want everything handled for them.

Priced to Scale

Regardless of the type of pricing model, there's one thing that remains consistent: the managed service provider is pricing based on the services that the organization truly needs. Nearly all MSPs price their services so that it is easy to scale them up or down depending on what is needed. Thus, while it may not be as simple as purchasing a license or paying a flat fee to an IT organization, it is going to be ultimately beneficial to the business, since you aren’t paying for services you aren’t using.

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The (Biggest) Advantages of Managed NOC Services

Managed NOC Services.jpgShould you manage your own network operations or outsource it to a third party? It all depends on your organization's current infrastructure and unique needs. For most businesses, a managed IT service will be able to provide a superior level of service and care -- while also saving an organization substantial sums of money. Here’s how.

Respond to Incidents Faster With 24/7 Support

Managed NOC services will be able to monitor your network 24/7 so that incidents are responded to and resolved immediately. Companies today simply can't afford disruption -- and a network going down overnight could potentially mean fires that need to be put out the next morning. A managed NOC service will constantly be working to ensure that your network is always available.

Mitigate Advanced Security Threats

Security threats are constantly growing. From DDoS attacks to intrusion attempts, a managed NOC service has both the expertise and the technology necessary to both detect and mitigate security threats. New security threats are developed every day, and it can be prohibitively difficult and time-consuming for any organization to attempt to deal with them on their own. A managed NOC service means that they don't have to.

Optimize Your Network for Better Performance

One of the key roles for an IT managed service is to future-proof your organization. A managed NOC service provider will not only be able to optimize your network for better performance now but will also be able to create an IT strategy for your organization. A better performing network isn't just going to improve upon your organization now; it's also going to make your business more efficient and scalable moving into the future. 

Consult With Experts and Specialists

NOC managed services include experts and specialist, who can tackle even the most difficult tasks and who can make sense of complicated network infrastructures. Companies that partner with an NOC IT service can tap into this wealth of knowledge any time they need to, rather than having to rely upon generalists or their in-house staff. These resources can be invaluable for organizations looking to optimize their network and infrastructure. 

Not only does using a managed NOC service make sense for most organizations, it's often the most affordable option. If you want to learn more about how an NOC service can save your business both time and money, contact CWPS.

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How an IT MSP Can Help Your Business to Drive Results

35815982_s (1).jpgYou already have a strong internal IT team. But that doesn't mean that a managed service provider (MSP) can't help -- far from it. An IT MSP isn't just for organizations that don't want to rely upon their internal IT staff. The benefits of an MSP are far-reaching, even for organizations that already have an IT team and strategy in place. Here are some of the ways an MSP can help your business drive results -- and help your IT department move forward.

IT MSPs Help Keep You Current

An IT MSP is can develop a road map for your organization, showing where technology will go in the future and where the organization needs to move to in order to remain current. Furthermore, IT MSPs can examine existing strategies and ensure that the company is moving in the right direction. IT strategies are critical for businesses that want to protect themselves as they expand. Once an IT department has settled on a plan, an MSP can ensure that it moves into fruition.

IT MSPs Free Up Your Resources

IT MSPs are able to monitor and automate many of the day-to-day processes that would otherwise consume an IT department's time. By freeing up both IT and administrative time, an IT MSP empowers businesses to focus primarily on revenue generating activities. IT departments can innovate and create rather than having to focus on the mundane daily tasks and putting out fires. This also means that a company can invest more in talented IT professionals, who can give their organization an edge.

IT MSPs Provide an Outside Prospective

IT MSPs are constantly learning. An internal IT department may not always have time to research every single new technology -- but that's an IT MSP's job. MSPs are able to not only keep up to date on all modern solutions, but they can also leverage their experience with other organizations in order to resolve issues, create opportunities, and cut costs for your business. When working directly with the IT department, IT MSPs can make suggestions regarding both technology and processes from an outsider's perspective.

IT MSPs Streamline and Improve Upon Workflows

IT MSPs aren't just about technology alone; they are also about how the business relates to its technology. Managed services can take a look at an organization's workflows and identify and mitigate core inefficiencies that may be costing the organization money. By streamlining and improving upon workflows throughout the organization, they can substantially improve the business's bottom line.

As you can see, an IT MSP can be valuable in a variety of ways. If you need help executing your company’s IT strategies or staying current with the latest technology, contact CWPS today.

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Why Businesses Need IT MSPs Now More Than Ever

50065742_s (1).jpgBusinesses throughout all industries have always seen certain benefits from adopting managed service providers (MSPs) -- but it is now more than ever that they are growing to rely upon them. The way that business is being done is changing -- as are the threats that modern businesses face. Here are a few of the reasons why an MSP isn't just a good idea; it's a necessary one in today’s environment.

Cyber Threats Are on the Rise

Businesses are facing growing cyber security threatsevery day. It isn't just large enterprises being targeted; far from it. In fact, small businesses are most likely to be targeted, as they are least likely to have the technology and the training necessary to defend themselves. Cyber threats are becoming more advanced, sophisticated, and determined. Companies may face hundreds of attempts every day... and when one cyber security threat breaks through, they can experience thousands or even millions of dollars of damage. 

An IT MSP can protect against these threats, even for businesses that have an internal cyber security expert. MSPs can provide advanced technology solutions, which can scan for malware and viruses before they impact the organization. Managed service providers can provide always-on monitoring and troubleshooting, to mitigate threats such as DDoS attacks and ransomware before they can take a business down. Altogether, this means more consistency of service and fewer risks.

Companies Are Investing in a Mobile Workforce

Companies today are increasingly using remote workers. Remote workers aren't just more affordable. They can also allow an organization to reach the top talent throughout the globe rather than their local area. But a global workforce presents some challenges. Not only is there an increased need for security, as noted above, but there's also an increased need for productivity and collaboration technology. In order to better manage workflows, an IT MSP can setup the right cloud-based infrastructure from the start.

IT MSPs Offer Superior Scalability

When an organization needs to scale efficiently, an IT MSP can help. Companies today need to be more careful about scaling upwards; otherwise, they can potentially over-extend themselves and suffer dramatic losses. Rather than having to investigate and invest in speculative technologies and solutions, a company can instead rely upon an IT MSP to point them in the right direction. IT MSPs can future-proof businesses, finding solutions that will have easy and affordable upgrade paths and deploying resources to an organization only as needed. 

An IT MSP isn't just a tool; it's a partnership. Managed service providers can improve upon all levels of an organization's technology, for better efficiency, productivity, and security. For more information about the benefits of an IT MSP, contact CWPS today.

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8 Things That An IT MSP Company Should Offer

IT MSP OfferingsTechnology changes quickly -- and managed service providers (MSPs) need to evolve to keep up. Businesses looking for an IT MSP company are going to have considerably different expectations from year to year; a failure to meet these expectations could lead to a business being left behind. So what should a modern business be looking for in an MSP?

Here are the eight most essential services that an IT MSP company should offer:

  1. Cybersecurity services. Security-as-a-service is becoming standard. A modern IT MSP should be able to secure an organization's infrastructure inside and out, using comprehensive and layered security measures. Firewalls, anti-malware solutions, unified threat detection, and DNS filtering all need to work together to ensure that a company's critical data is secured.
  2. Cloud-based infrastructure. Just a few years ago businesses were only beginning to explore the cloud -- and now it's become standard. A cloud-based infrastructure gives your organization access to its data and applications from anywhere.
  3. Disaster preparedness. Business interruption can cost a company millions of dollars. Disaster preparedness and responsiveness procedures reduce interruption time, protecting your data from incidents and malicious attacks.
  4. VoIP telephony. In order to save money, most businesses are now folding their telecommunications infrastructure in with their data services. VoIP telephony is extensible and customizable, offering advanced options compared to traditional telecommunications systems.
  5. 24/7 tech support. Businesses should expect 24/7 tech support from their IT MSP, regardless of where their MSP is geographically located. A company's IT infrastructure doesn't always break down during business hours; without 24/7 tech support, you won't be able to get things up and running before it impacts your organization.
  6. NOC monitoring. Network operations centers need to be monitored and maintained. One of the advantages to an IT MSP is that they are able to automate and streamline many of these services for you so that your IT professionals don't need to invest their own time.
  7. Mobile device management. Mobile device management and management of the Internet of Things is increasingly becoming a serious concern. IT MSPs today need to have comprehensive platforms and protocols designed to leverage mobile devices without exposing the organization to risk.
  8. Future proofing. Finally, an IT MSP should be able to predict future changes and be able to embrace them. Companies should have plans for transitioning towards these future technologies with ease, so they don't need to invest more than necessary. Cloud-based services are an example of futureproofing; they are scalable, so additional resources can be provisioned as the company grows.

Organizations today need all-in-one, comprehensive, turn-key solutions that give them everything they need to support their business. Through CWPS, your organization can gain a complete IT infrastructure. Contact CWPS for more information about the modern services an IT MSP company offers.

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