We were delighted to receive the SME PARTNER OF THE YEAR AWARD for Security from Exertis Ireland and Fortinet Ireland. It has been a challenging year in many ways and to have the hard work of the HSC team recognised by our partners is much appreciated. We have worked closely with Exertis and Fortinet on several Security projects this year. We look forward to more in 2021 and to hopefully celebrating our joint success together in person.
Organisations are rapidly adopting digital innovation (DI) initiatives which often involve moving applications and workflows to the cloud, deploying Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices on the corporate network, and expanding the organisation’s footprint to new branch locations. More recently the move to a remote and distributed workforce has meant some organisations have had to rapidly adapt their infrastructure.
With an evolving infrastructure comes security risks. Organisations must cope with growing attack surfaces, advanced threats, increased infrastructure complexity, and an expanding regulatory landscape.
On Wednesday Nov 18th at 12pm we will be hosting a webinar with our partner Fortinet who are the world’s leading IT provider of Enterprise Security Solutions. In this webinar we will explore how The Fortinet Security Fabric enables desired DI outcomes while effectively managing risks and minimising complexities.
Last few places available. Book a seat here https://buff.ly/3pjteeg
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
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:
- 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.
- 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..
- 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.
Book a free Move to the Cloud Assessment for your business.
Covid19 has brought many changes and challenges to the business world including for ourselves in HCS. Many businesses have had to Evolve & Adapt to new challenges with innovation and creativity.
We have helped many of our customers to adapt to a remote working environment and we continue to support them as the restrictions look set to continue. Our own repsonse to the crisis involved the development of 3 new apps that we are using internally to help protect our staff and follow the public health guidelines. As part of our ongoing support to customers we offered these apps to their business FREE OF CHARGE.
The app can be accessed via a touchscreen (we have it mounted on the wall inside our main door) or on a desktop at any entry point. A visitor can input their contact details and answer 5 quick questions relating to their current health status. The app also notifies the staff member they are visiting of their arrival by email. See video.
ONLINE HEALTH ASSESMENT
ONLINE HEALTH ASSESMENT: We have also built an online form using MS Forms that can be emailed out prior to a person’s visit which they complete online. Click to view form.
HCS LEARN365 is an online learning portal for staff using Microsoft 365. It has helpful tips, tricks and videos on using Microsoft Solutions like Teams, Outlook etc . It has a news section where you can share company news and also practical advice for working from home and being cyber security aware. LEARN365 gives staff quick access to the information they need to be more productive and more secure while remote. See video
Dan Hegarty, HCS Director was interviewed by The Business Post on why businesses must make security a matter of undivided attention. Dan explains how HCS, as Ireland’s leading Select Partner for Fortinet, delivers not only world class security solutions but the expertise to build on every deployment to make the most of the right technologies for different situations.
In his article Dan suggests that for organisations looking to respond to evolving challenges effectively, there can be a financial barrier to invest in professionals with security skillsets. Managed services can offer an alternative route to achieving comprehensive security, compared with the need to invest in individuals.
“Covid-19 has seen businesses face a steep learning curve to secure productivity and that extends to providingscalability for growth in an unusual time. Providers like HCS are well-positioned in the industry to address these evolving needs.”
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 will 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 vulnerable 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.