Cathy Gilmartin, Author at HCS
Move to the Cloud for Long Term Success

Move to the Cloud for Long Term Success

Six months into the global pandemic and businesses in Ireland are showing no signs of returning to the office. Remote working looks set to stay for some time and in fact it could herald the beginning of a new approach to doing business.

Whilst remote working has been a growing trend since circa 2017, prior to the Covid-19 crisis only 14% of the Irish workforce worked remotely. The pandemic has forced thousands of businesses to shift to a remote working model en masse and many of them were not and are still not properly equipped with the right IT to enable staff to work productively and securely from home.

Businesses that had already invested in Cloud services before Covid hit were in a strong position to move to a distributed working model. Those that hadn’t made do with 3rd party cloud apps as a short term fix. But as time goes on they are realising that these are not enough to keep their staff productive and their business competitive.  Investing in the cloud will not only be of benefit now but in the long term by improving agility, accelerating innovation and lowering IT costs.

WHAT IS THE CLOUD

Everyone has heard of ‘the cloud’. Some businesses may already have some IT services in the cloud. But many are still grappling with what exactly the cloud entails. So here it is made simple.

Cloud Computing is defined as the delivery of services and applications through the Internet. Before the emergence of cloud computing all files and software apps had to be stored in the same physical location as the computers that were accessing them – in most cases on a server in the office! Cloud services enable users to access a network, files and software from anywhere because they are stored in a virtual environment and not on a physical server.

WHY USE THE CLOUD

Cloud Computing has a host of benefits for businesses small and large. It is not the reserve of the larger businesses. It is flexible and scalable allowing small to medium businesses to use what they need making it a more cost-efficient method of managing IT.

Here are the main high-level benefits:

  1. Security – With cloud computing you avail of enterprise level security no matter what size your business is. Your data and systems are stored in an enterprise data center which are protected with the latest security solutions.
  2. Flexibility – Your workforce can access what they need when they need it from wherever they are. This not only facilitates home workers but those on the move, travelling, out on site, visiting customers, having meetings with prospects etc..
  3. Recovery – Cloud backup delivers reliable business continuity in times of failure due to breaches or events (like fire or flood). You can quickly restore what’s needed to keep your business operational.

LONG TERM BENEFITS

The pandemic may eventually be no longer with us but remote working looks set to stay. Research is showing that most workers want to remain working remotely after Covid. Many big names are leading the charge in making changes to their working style. Indeed has announced hybrid working policies and Google pulled out of new office talks in Dublin City Centre.

Any investment in Cloud now is not only a short-term fix just to get through the pandemic. It will deliver longer-term benefits that will transform your business making it more agile, more secure and more cost efficient. Your staff will be more productive from anywhere, your IT costs will be reduced and you will be able to serve your customers better.

MIGRATE TO THE CLOUD

Cloud providers such as Azure, AWS and Google offer self service tools to help migrate your data and systems to cloud. However we recommend engaging with an experienced cloud migration company who will firstly help determine which cloud solution is right for your business and deliver a bespoke service that will handle the migration while minimising disruption and downtime.

We have helped many businesses of differing sizes move to the cloud. We don’t operate a ‘lift and shift’ strategy, we consider your objectives for moving to the cloud and how you want to do business once the migration is complete. We then deliver a detailed cloud migration strategy and plan that works to your budget and timescales.

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The Top 5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT Services

The Top 5 Benefits of Outsourcing IT Services

Businesses of all sizes choose to outsource their IT to an IT Services company for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they outsource the whole IT function and other times parts of it such as when they are experiencing a skill shortage inhouse. For example Cyber Security is a particular skillset that can be expensive to bring inhouse. Outsourcing to a Managed IT Services company with expertise in Cyber Security can reduce the cost and risk associated with managing cyber security across a network.

As a Managed IT Services company we work with lots of different businesses on a bespoke level. We have compiled our top 5 reasons why it makes sense to outsource IT.

1. Cost Savings

Outsourcing IT reduces the overall cost of ownership and makes the IT budget work harder for your business. A Managed IT Services provider Outsourcing IT Serviceswill be able to deliver economies of scale and in doing so free up budget that you can invest in other areas of the business. IT can be expensive to install and run and it takes well trained individuals to do it right. Outsourcing IT allows you to avail of the expertise needed to maintain and efficient IT environment that is flexible and can scale according to the business needs. Put simply you can pay for what you use and set a monthly budget for support rather than employ the skills all inhouse which can be expensive. Outsourcing IT allows for a leaner IT spend but critically it is being spent in the most efficient way possible and will protect your IT investment into the future.

2. Focus on Core Business

Engaging with an IT services company to run your IT allows you to focus on other areas of the business such as core goals and objectives. Even if you have an IT Manager inhouse they can often get sucked into providing user support which takes them away from focusing on projects that could enable the business to grow and run better such as automating workflows and productivity projects. Outsourcing even business IT Support only alleviates the workload on IT staff to allow them to focus their energies where their competencies lie.

3. Access to Enterprise Level Solutions

IT Services Companies partner with global leaders in the IT space and build on their solutions to deliver more value from deployments.  Using a Managed IT Provider gives smaller businesses access to enterprise level technology at a price point that they can afford. Managed Service Providers can tailor their service to meet the needs of a smaller budget. Businesses get to utilise world class technologies and solutions which they may have thought were outside their reach and can avail of ongoing IT support from the people that know the technology best.

4. Better Cyber Security

Cyber Security is critical especially during recent times when cyber criminals have exploited the current remote working environment to gain access to IT services and supportvulnerable networks. During the pandemic Cyber attacks have increased by over 400% in frequency. IT Services Companies have particular expertise in Cyber Security and data protection. Cyber security is constantly evolving. As threats become more sophisticated so do the solutions to protect against them. A robust cyber security strategy has many layers and is a blend of solutions and services depending on the business needs. For example businesses in the financial sector and others that are highly regulated have specific criteria that they need to meet to be compliant in the cyber security area. An outsource IT Services company with expertise in Cyber Security will be knowledgeable on what needs to be done to fulfil compliance needs. Handing over IT Management ensures that Cyber Security is not neglected due to a lack of time or resource or knowledge internally.

5. Proactive IT Management

IT cannot just be installed and forgotten about. The biggest risk to a business is legacy or outdated IT. For example an unpatched PC can be the source of a damaging cyber attack. Or downtime from an outdated infrastructure with reduced processing power can affect a customer’s perception of a business and lead to brand and reputation damage. Staff need to be equipped with the tools and technologies that enable them to do their job well, especially remotely. Outsourcing IT to an Managed IT Services company will come with business IT Support agreements that surpass not only solving user issues but managing and maintaining systems and hardware as you move forward. This will future proof your investment in IT and keep it working efficiently reducing leakage of resource time and money through poorly maintained networks.

At HCS Business Solutions we partner with our customers to balance their IT needs now and into the future with budget and the current business climate. We adopt a flexible working model with customer service and security at the heart of it. Our aim is to keep our customers IT working as best it can for them and to guide them to invest in the right areas to ensure their IT is protected into the future.

Satisfaction Survey Results: What our customers say about us.

Satisfaction Survey Results: What our customers say about us.

At HCS Business Solutions we are committed to delivering the best customer experience and the smartest IT Solutions possible. Our ethos is to build long term profitable partnerships with our customers helping them to increase productivity and reduce risk across their business.

Listening to our customers is the best method we have to ensuring the service and solutions we deliver is meeting their needs now and safeguarding their business going forward. Our customers are our best critics!

Each month we conduct a customer satisfaction survey. Here are the results from the last 6 months with quotes from our customers.

Well done to team members Cephas and Tim for winning Technician and Engineer of the month award for July!

IT Services survey