With so many uncertainties facing businesses it’s hard to predict what the future of working will look like post-Covid 19. ‘Hybrid working’ has become the latest buzz word to emerge from the pandemic but what does it mean in practice? How many people will want to return to the office? How will businesses adapt their IT set-up? Mike Osborne, Managing Director – Managed Service Division at communications and technology company, Intercity Technology, outlines one area where businesses can get some certainty.
The demands on the IT infrastructure of small and medium-sized businesses have grown significantly in recent years as SMEs embrace new technology. In recent months, that trend has been massively accelerated by the global ‘working from home experiment’ in which we are all participating. As a result, many small business leaders have been left grappling with managing a dispersed workforce and frustrated IT teams who lack the resource to effectively service the business’s IT needs from home.
With a long-term shift to a hybrid ‘work from anywhere’ model now seemingly inevitable, companies should be considering whether their technical support teams can adopt the same flexible principle. Technological enhancements and innovations have been fast-tracked during the pandemic to ensure continued provision of service. It’s vital that the same consideration is given to technical support and how this can be adapted to meet the challenges of successfully maintaining a business through Covid-19.
The solution for many of our SME customers is a combination of an in-house IT team and a managed service provider (MSP). This ‘hybrid’ model gives organisations the confidence to continue to develop a longer-term remote working strategy while minimising service disruption to employees. It also enables greater flexibility and access to additional skills, infrastructure and assistance, while ensuring employees can remain effective, connected and productive, whatever their geographical location.
To help business leaders decide whether adopting a hybrid approach to their IT support is the right route to take, here are three key considerations:
1. Reduced Downtime
Adapting to remote working has not only broadened the IT infrastructure required by employees but also the need to ensure support is available 24/7. The move to an MSP reduces pressure on in-house teams to provide round-the-clock support while also ensuring that no productivity is lost as issues are dealt with in real-time.
2. Better Network Security
An MSP is equipped to manage multiple facets of IT infrastructure, able to support and increase security across all devices, utilising the cloud to ensure all employees across an organisation can enjoy the same enhanced security provisions as they would do in an office environment.
Security will continue to be a core priority for businesses with large proportions of the workforce set to continue to work from home. Whilst the use of remote working tools and remote-VPN connections may continue to pose problems, a ‘Security as a Service’ solution can provide enhanced security provision for companies via the cloud, not only reducing pressures on in-house teams but offering scalability for growing businesses.
3. Lower Operating Costs
Partnering with an MSP can also provide a more cost-effective route for many companies, through advanced levels of support, monitoring and management. The decision to adopt a hybrid workplace solution also gives more flexibility to an in-house team to focus on more business-critical IT requirements.
With remote and hybrid working set to become a permanent feature of modern-day business, now is the time for business leaders to plan for the best technical support for their company in the longer-term.