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When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 3 of 3)

When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 3 of 3)

In Part 1 of this series, I discussed the increasing complexity of information systems that in turn drives up costs.  In Part 2 I addressed the issue of staffing and planning for the skill sets needed to support this increased complexity so your organization can meet its needs.

In this final installment on our “Key 3” assessment areas, I’ll discuss Sustainability.

Sustainability (the Cost of Loss)

With data that is critical to an organization’s lasting success, placing that information in a secure, professionally managed and constantly refreshed facility becomes a topic that is not only important, but vital to the fiscal health and sustainability of an organization.

Like the staffing assessment, assessing Sustainability can be uncomfortable.  Frankly, it’s another reason why clients ask us to help them.  No one likes to plan for a crisis.  Whether we help you, or you take a stab at it, it’s important to understand and assess the risk and projected financial consequences of losing critical information.  What information is critical to keep your organization running?  What systems and processes are in place to ensure backup, redundancy and continuity in case of a crisis or system failure?  These are all critical data points.

So once these questions can be quantified on paper, for better or worse you have the beginnings of your plan for sustainability.  Once you know the issues, then you know what you need.  In an increasing number of cases,  Brush Mountain’s Regional Data Center model starts to make a great deal of sense.  Having key data and systems in a secure, managed facility with fully redundant systems and IT staff monitoring the site 24/7365 ensures that you are informed and prepared with facilities and resources that would otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Be watching for my next topic where I’ll give some insight into the anatomy of a move into a data center.

In the meantime, join the conversation with us on Facebook! Are there any particular areas in my Key 3 that you struggle with the most?  Or suggest a topic for one of my upcoming posts!

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When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 2 of 3)

When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 2 of 3)

In Part 1 of this series we discussed Cost and its frequent companion: Complexity.  Now in Part 2, I’ll discuss another key component of our assessment guidelines; namely staffing and acquiring just-in-time skillsets.

Talent Availability (The Cost to Have Enough)

In the previous post, I talked about the increasing specialization of IT skill sets.  It’s often no longer financially reasonable or even possible to find candidates who can address both the macro and micro aspects of your IT systems.  Finding someone with the very specific in-depth technical skills to support a specific system is often hard enough; but expecting that person to also have the experience and very different skills to zoom their focus out to a holistic view of your systems is just setting yourself up for expense, disappointment and turnover.

For this reason, we begin addressing this issue by mapping the existing technical skills on staff to those needed to support the ongoing goals of a client.  It might be tempting to skip this step, but in doing so you fail to assess effective utilization of your most expensive asset – your people and their knowledge. What have you really got and are you getting what you need from them?

It is vital to have a candid assessment of the current skills of your staff, and match them against the systems and expectations that in turn support your organization’s strategic objectives.  It sounds easy to do, but it takes technical assessment skill (what skills do they really have) operational understanding (what’s the systems impact) and how do they both support the big picture (where are the critical path problems and skill gaps)?

We close skill gaps by giving clients access to a staff of skilled resources (from break/fix specialists up to CIO level consulting) to help organizations staff the right team for their needs, and do so more cost effectively.  This way an organization can focus their IT staff on strategic needs, and leverage a utilization model to ensure support in the gap areas.  Our data center technical talent that takes responsibility for certain functions without the need for staffing or management expense. The shared utilization benefit we outlined in Part 1 for the data center infrastructure also applies to sharing the benefit and reduced cost to technical expertise.

Next, In Part 3 we’ll discuss Sustainability: why ensuring it for your critical data and systems is important and how we approach it.

In the meantime, join the conversation with us on Facebook.  What’s been your toughest IT staffing challenge lately?

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When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 1 of 3)

When is Hosting your data the right decision? (Part 1 of 3)

So – let’s ask the question:  when is hosting your data or IT systems the right decision?  The answer? It almost always comes to down to reducing cost, risk or both.

Cost comes in several forms.  Some expenses are easily quantifiable on a P&L sheet, and some are qualitative – where the impact can add to or subtract from an organization’s performance, depending on how a resource is utilized.

Frankly, data center services aren’t for everyone, but with the advent of the Regional Data Center model (like Brush Mountain); the benefits of these services are now scaled for the rest of us.  There’s now a compelling reason for organizations of all shapes and sizes to benefit from a private cloud, business continuity systems or managed services.  No longer are the very real benefits of economies of scale, infrastructure flexibility and the ability to drive down cost and risk just the domain of the very large enterprise working with a “mega-datacenter” somewhere across the country.

So, where to start?

In every potential engagement, as we assess the viability of a hosted solution, we use a set of guidelines to help us determine the business case and quantify the potential impact. In this 3 part series, I’ll break down in plain English the three key drivers behind those guidelines to help you understand the issues, and perhaps see possible solutions to help your organization.

Complexity (The Cost to Manage it All)

No doubt, IT has gotten more complex.

Now that systems interconnect more, deliver a dazzling array of expanding productivity features and employees joyfully embrace the ability to work anywhere, anytime from the device of their choice, things have gotten incredibly challenging for your IT systems and staff.

The ability for a small staff to support today’s highly complex IT systems has become nearly impossible, if not impractical. Much like doctors and lawyers, technology workers are being forced to become specialized – limiting their ability to be adequately skilled in all the applications and systems you have.  This is not to denigrate their abilities: just ask,  and they’ll tell you about these rocketing demands on their technical skills.

This complexity also includes your IT hardware. Keeping equipment secured, cooled and running efficiently has become a specialty unto itself. The layers of expanding complexity continue to increase the cost of your IT infrastructure.  In many cases it is becoming cost prohibitive for some organizations to continue staffing and running their IT systems the same way they have been accustomed for the past 20 years.

For this reason, as we assist our clients in devising technology plans, our analysis routinely considers the potential benefit for hosted IT services for some, or all, of their infrastructure.  A data hosting center has already made investments in resource redundancy and staffing that can then be spread across many clients.  That way no one bears as much cost as they would on their own.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss IT staffing: why it is increasingly difficult to find and retain the skills you need, and how we help our clients alleviate that problem.

In the meantime, join the conversation with us on Facebook!  What systems or applications are driving your IT costs up the most these days?

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