If you're like many other organizations, you've moved more and more services to the Cloud over the past few years. Instead of buying servers, you're subscribing. Many Cloud Services are managed for you, making the job of patching and maintaining platforms someone else's problem.
But what about your local network? Local networks often consist of a dizzying array of firewalls, switches, printers, desktops, laptops, WiFi access points and mobile devices. All these things carry connectivity demands, and security risks.
Thanks to a relentless onslaught of cyber attacks, and the occasional firmware or OS bugs, managing and maintaining all those objects is a full time job. Or sometimes, two full time jobs.
You have choices: You can forget about keeping up with all the patches and security updates, but that's very risky (and not easy to explain to the insurance company if a user or device is compromised). You can hire full time IT professionals to manage your devices for you. Or you can bring in an experienced provider, who can manage it all for you.
No matter what you decide to do, it would seem that the days of an office manager doubling as an IT support person are over. It's all become very cumbersome and, thanks in large part to hackers, quite complicated. Security has become a really, really big deal.
If you don't keep full time plumbers and electricians on staff, it probably makes sense to outsource your IT infrastructure management as well. It's cost effective and you get certified professionals whenever you need them.
How do you choose a provider? We wrote a short article called cheap IT support services that covers some of the things you should consider.
A properly managed network includes an array of preventive services including individual device backups, end user security training, patch management and a "security first" approach. Deployment of robust, business-class solutions from WiFi access points to firewalls should be part of the equation as well.
Find a vendor or IT provider you trust and like. Let them keep your network running like a well oiled machine, so you can focus on your mission.