Three IT Resolutions for 2019

January 3, 2019
Cloud, Colocation, IT Services

It’s already 2019, and many of us started out this year armed with resolutions for what we’re going to do better, differently or not at all. While most of them have to do with personal goals and behaviors, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a few that apply to our work in IT.

Granted, budgets and annual plans are already in place. Nonetheless, there’s still time to set some goals for how to approach various IT-related challenges, needs and wishes. Here are three to consider:

1. Take small steps to the cloud. 

Sure, moving everything to the cloud would benefit your department. There’s the cost savings, the switch from capital expenses to operating expenses, the freed-up time for other endeavors, the greater efficiencies, and more.

But there’s that big investment in legacy systems holding you back. Or maybe it’s lack of time and in-house expertise to do the required research and complete the migration. There’s also the matter of budget and logistics. If it’s not in this year’s plan, a wholesale move to the cloud probably won’t happen. However, you may be able to find a little wiggle room in the budget to try out the cloud for a couple of workloads. 

First, inventory your workloads so you know what you have. Then assess the characteristics and requirements of each to determine which are best suited for the cloud. The following are types of applications that may make good “test subjects” for a move to the cloud.

  • Applications used by mobile employees to manage their time and activity, and that contribute only limited information to the company’s broad management information databases
  • Applications that run infrequently but require significant computing resources when they run
  • Applications that run in a time zone different from that where your company’s IT personnel are located
  • Development, testing and prototyping of application changes, even if the final applications will be run on your own infrastructure 
  • Service-oriented architecture (SOA) applications
  • Cloud-native applications

Do a cost analysis and business impact analysis to help make your case for moving one or two workloads to the cloud. Determine how you’ll define and measure “success” for the move. Enlist the help of a cloud services provider to help you with the actual migration. Then conduct an evaluation at a pre-determined time after moving the workloads to the cloud. If the results are good, this can help you build your business case for a bigger migration—and the budget to support it—next year.

You can also consider a “proof of concept” (POC) project. Some service providers are willing to conduct free POC projects, like a test drive of a cloud service, in order to get their foot in the door. A POC project helps demonstrate the value of the service and gives you the opportunity to determine if the service provider is a company you could work with and that it will be sensitive to your business needs.

2. Try out colocation.

Making a case for moving from an on-premise to off-premise data center is easy enough. Who needs the associated capital expenditures and costs for maintenance, power and cooling of an on-site data center, not to mention the staff time required to manage it all? Colocation provides you with a more predictable op-ex model rather than requiring you to keep up with the escalating capital expenses of building, securing and maintaining your own data center. 

Of course, there is that matter of budget. If colocation wasn’t included in year’s plan, you may not be able to make any big moves just yet. Instead, use this time to do your research and build your business case. Start evaluating various colocation providers. If the cloud is your ultimate destination, look for colocation providers that also offer cloud services. Run the numbers to show the cost savings that come from colocation versus maintaining an on-premise data center. 

As with cloud services, colocation doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Chances are you can squeeze enough out of your current budget to fund a half or full cabinet at a colocation facility. Doing so will give you the opportunity to test out colocation. Many colocation providers offer flexibility in their services, so you should be able to scale up, if and when needed, easily.

3. Implement remote monitoring and management.

What IT department couldn’t use more time? That’s one of the benefits that remote monitoring and management (RMM) offers, whether you choose to purchase and implement RMM software yourself or outsource it to a managed service or other IT services provider. 

RMM takes on the job of monitoring the health of your network and all the devices on it. It sends out alerts before or as soon as a problem occurs, so it can be dealt with immediately to reduce downtime and productivity losses. You can also use RMM to automate various maintenance tasks, such as applying patches and updates, freeing up your staff’s time. 

Among the benefits of outsourcing RMM to a trusted provider is that there’s no software investment required. Instead, it’s an easier-to-justify operating expense. 

While the service provider will work with you to set up the alerts and configure automated tasks, that service provider takes on the overall responsibility for the solution. That frees up even more time for you and your staff. 

If you decide to pursue outsourced RMM, check out what the service provider offers in terms of managed security as well. As with RMM, the service provider takes on responsibility for security, which frees up time for your staff. Plus, service providers invest in the latest and greatest security devices and practices. With the constantly growing threat and magnitude of cyber-attacks, your company can greatly benefit from that investment.

More Goals for the Year

Just because your IT department’s budget and annual plan are in place, doesn’t mean that you can’t set and accomplish a few additional goals. Be creative. Take small steps. Make use of “research time.” Seek help from a service provider as necessary. US Signal is happy to be that service provider.

To find out how we can help you overcome some of your IT challenges and develop solutions that can optimize your IT resources, call 866.2.SIGNAL or email us at: [email protected]