IT services and managed services

A complete guide to IT services in the UK covering outsourcing, managed service providers and cloud services.

Deciding on whether to utilise IT services, as part of your business strategy, can be a hard decision to make. Firstly you need to decide whether or not IT services will be right for your business, in the long term, and secondly decide which IT services will be better suited for your company.

For example outsourcing may not always save you money, so it is important to do your research on the subject. According to a survey carried out at InfoSecurity Europe 2011, in London, and the RSA Conference 2011, in San Francisco, IT services contracts were costing more than expected for 62% of businesses.

The survey conducted by automation software supplier Lieberman Software found that out of the 500 IT professionals, who responded, a landslide 62% admitted to their outsourcing contracts costing them more than expected, despite turning to the option of outsourcing as a way to cut costs. Of these, 27% said costs were significantly higher when they included outsourcing as part of their IT strategy.

The guide has been designed to support you with decisions about IT services and managed services. Whether you are considering using IT services, currently receiving poor managed services, or outgrowing an existing provider, let this guide be your one-stop resource centre for information and advice on IT services.

This IT services guide covers outsourcing, managed service providers and cloud services.

Table of contents:

Outsourcing IT services

Outsourcing is an IT service arrangement where a company provides services for another company that could also be or usually have been provided in-house. Karl Flinders, from Computer Weekly, writes a blog called ‘Inside Outsourcing’ which you might find interesting. His blog covers everything outsourcing, including IT services and managed services.

Outsourcing IT and cloud models as an escape for carbon emission
You can offload your data centre’s carbon emissions through the use of IT services, according to this expert. This can be achieved with cloud models and through outsourcing IT functions.

Outsourcing security: With tight budgets, is outsourcing your security always the right answer?
For companies that are experiencing a budget crunch, outsourcing security can be a good option for you. According to a new survey, there are a few specific areas of security that lend themselves to outsourcing IT services. Find out how these might benefit your business.

SMB storage: Unsure of what to outsource to cloud storage and backup services?
Cloud storage and storage backup offer many cost-saving advantages to SMBs, however they have some drawbacks too. So what exactly can you outsource to the cloud right now, to reap the benefits of your IT services?

Outsourcing analytics has its advantages and disadvantages. Here’s how to weight them up
Nearly buried in customer data, many companies are hard-pressed to get a good fix on their social analytics. As a result, some businesses are realising that in order for them to make any sense of these information overloads, they need to give the job to someone else through the use of IT services.

Definitions to help you understand and therefore boost your IT outsourcing strategy
Expand on your understanding of IT outsourcing. An IT outsourcing strategy is a plan derived from assessing which IT functions are better performed by an IT service provider than by an organisation's internal IT department. Find more definitions on IT services, outsourcing and offshoring.

Managed Service Provider

A managed service provider (MSP) provides the delivery and management of network-based IT services, applications, and equipment to enterprises, residences, or other service providers. Another branch of IT services and managed services is Hardware as a Service (HaaS); however this is something that we will not touch upon much in this particular guide. HaaS, in a managed services context, is comparable to licensing. On a subscription basis, a managed service provider will remotely monitor and administer hardware on a client’s sites.

Marks & Spencer in need of managed service provider signs deal with Logicalis
Find out how Logicalis provides managed IT services to M&S to improve its network infrastructure. Logicalis now supports the deployment of IT services, managing wired and wireless network infrastructure across M&S's 700 UK stores, head office, regional offices, distribution centres and depots.

More managed service providers are moving into the cloud – what are their reasons why?
According to our expert writer more MSPs run private clouds and conscript Amazon Web Services to be part of their IT services offerings.

Find out how one UK school system became a managed network monitoring provider
East Sussex’s County Council ICT department became a managed network monitoring provider for its county’s schools. As a result, schools in the area were able to avoid WAN-dependent monitoring thus allowing schools to buy IT services as needed.

The CA issues provider assessment on cloud computing security threats
To streamline the sometimes daunting process of assessing a cloud service provider’s security, the Cloud Security Alliance has put together a quick-fire-list of security questions organisations can ask their IT services providers.

Don’t know what to ask a disaster recovery service provider? Here are five questions to bring up
For many companies, disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) planning are rushed reactions to an unfortunate disaster. Proactive DR and BC support can be established with relatively little time investment and some help from an IT services provider.

Cloud IT Services

A cloud service has three distinct characteristics that differentiate it from traditional hosting and IT services. It is sold on demand, typically by the minute or the hour; it is elastic -- a user can have as much or as little of a service as they want at any given time; and the service is fully managed by the provider (the consumer needs nothing but a personal computer and Internet access). If you’re interested in cloud services SearchCloudComputing.com has an interesting blog called the Troposphere.

Why the Tate Museum Group chose Drupal and cloud hosting for its new website
The Tate Museum Group used "bits of cloud hosting" and decided to re-launch with a new hosting package from IT service provider NTT Europe called Compute Cloud.

A basic list of UK hosted desktop cloud providers for your reference
Find local hosted desktop cloud computing providers to suit your IT services’ needs. Get the details of the cloud computing providers you need in this section of our UK cloud computing providers’ directory.

How and why would two hospitals share a hosted private cloud?
When two hospitals decided to share a hosted private cloud, they both found that productivity doubled – and they didn't have to build it themselves. Find out how IT services helped improve productivity at these two hospitals.

Public cloud data protection services rolled out by IBM and HP
IBM rolls out public cloud protection IT services for backup, archiving and virtual machine DR while HP brings out PC backup service.

Cloud computing security questions to help you with your negotiations
What happens when the CISO has cloud computing security questions, but the contract has already been signed? Find a way to renegotiate your IT services, says one consultant.

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