To HAAS or not to HAAS…

SMEs have one major advantage over big business. Their very nature means they can leverage technology for a competitive edge much faster than bigger business. Moore’s Law – a concept named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore which is often used to refer to the quick pace of technology advances – states that computer chip processing power doubles every two years.

Today, about half a century since the creation of Moore’s Law, that time frame is usually quoted as only 18 months, and sometimes even less. This can be problematic for SMEs as they may not always have the resources or cash-flow necessary to keep up with technology changes. A great way to keep current with rapidly evolving IT innovations, while still controlling costs, is Hardware-as-a Service (HaaS).

The concept of Haas has been around for years. When your internet provider installs a new router to replace an outdated one, or your mobile provider sends you the latest mobile phone included in your monthly plan, they are essentially providing hardware along with the service.

Outdated IT equipment can be even more costly, especially to a small or midsized organization. It can lead to poor productivity, lower revenue and lost data. HaaS is essentially leasing IT equipment which your business would otherwise have purchased outright.

Some Benefits of HaaS:

1. REDUCED CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

By not having to spend a lot of money upfront for your next major IT upgrade, HaaS has the financial benefit of converting a large capital expense into a more manageable operating expense. This can free up your cash flow and provide more working capital, which is critical to many organizations.

A fixed monthly cost also makes technology expenses budgetable.  HaaS removes the unpredictability factor involved with maintenance and upkeep.

2. SAY GOODBYE TO OBSOLETE IT

A HaaS solution includes timely upgrades to state-of-the-art technology. This eliminates a great deal of buyer angst which so often accompanies IT purchases.

Remember Moore’s Law? You can’t expect to be successful in tomorrow’s business landscape using yesterday’s tools. HaaS is a great way to stay current with state-of-the-art technology specific to your industry and business goals and needs – from multifunction printers and copiers, to servers, computers, peripherals and more.

3. BETTER TROUBLESHOOTING AND MAINTENANCE

The proactive service model associated with HaaS delivers a high level of service integrity and operational reliability. Ongoing support and contact with an MSP is also a good way to ensure the best operating practices are used with your hardware.

Too often, new hardware is purchased and maintenance is neglected due to costs. With a HaaS solution, the equipment and service is included in the SLA. You can forget about the potential implications of equipment failure and system crashes right after a warranty expires. Just let your MSP resolve – or better yet, prevent – the problem.

4. SCALABILITY

HaaS has built in scalability. As your organization grows and changes, so does your technology needs. With HaaS you can integrate any number of new components, from one to many, all depending on your business needs.

5. BETTER SECURITY

When it comes to IT hardware and security, new is often better. Network security sometimes requires both hardware and software updates. With HaaS, it is easy upgrade to the latest hardware if it is necessary for security reasons.

There are many more benefits of HaaS than the list provided above. If you would like to find out more about our own HaaS solution speak to Julian on
0121 309 0126.

May 2018 Newsletter

IT spend a concern? These ideas may help…

Embrace Change

The world is changing rapidly and keeping up with the newest technological advancements will give you options to lower IT expenditure.
Some strategies you could adopt include:
  • Removing manual processes – first identify where your staff could potentially improve, then research methods to decrease paperwork and automate processes.
  • Implementing cloud computing – it can be cheaper to store information, do your accounts, and run a content management system online.
  • Communicate with your staff, suppliers and customers over the Internet at lower cost or even no cost.
  • Allow flexible work hours – depending on your type of business, you may be able to let your staff work when they prefer, and even from home.

Look to the Cloud

Moving data and applications to the cloud will save you money. According to data, from market research firm Gartner, companies who use cloud technology save over 15% on IT procurement and more than 16% on IT maintenance costs. Additionally, those businesses discovered that adopting the cloud fuelled growth and efficiency.
 
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a good example of the cloud at its best. This is where, rather than owning the software outright, you pay a monthly fee to use the software for as long as you need. Platforms such as Microsoft’s Office 365 allow you to use Office products; for example on a pay as you use basis. You can add or remove users as you wish, plus you get the latest versions at no extra cost.
 
Smaller businesses may want to consider investing in a cloud server instead of having a physical server on their site. Like SAAS above, customers pay as they use and can increase or decrease resources accordingly.

If all fails…HaaS

Hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) is a procurement model that is similar to leasing or licensing.
In the hardware-as-a-service model, hardware that belongs to a HaaS service provider (HSP) is installed at a customer’s site and a service level agreement (SLA) defines the responsibilities of both parties. Sometimes the client pays a monthly fee for using the hardware; sometimes its use is incorporated into the HSP’s fee structure for installing, monitoring and maintaining the hardware. Either way, if the hardware breaks down or becomes outdated, the HSP is responsible for decommissioning it and replacing it. Depending upon the terms of the SLA, decommissioning may include wiping proprietary data, physically destroying hard drives and certifying that old equipment has been recycled legally.
The HaaS model can be a cost-effective way for small or mid-sized businesses to provide employees with state-of-the-art hardware in a cost-effective manner. Our lead article in next month’s newsletter will be all about Hardware-as-a-service and we will also look at our own Haas offering. 

April 2018 Newsletter

5 Easy Ways To Disaster Proof Your Business

1. Connect to the Office from Wherever You Are

Our engineers could connect to Supreme and access office tools and files using VPN which stands for Virtual Private Network. We won’t bore you with too much technical information, but a VPN provides a connection via the Internet between a remote PC and your office’s server. It’s like taking a network cable at your office and walking home with it, pulling it through the streets, and plugging it into your laptop when you get home. When you want to access the office server from a remote location, VPN software on your laptop establishes a secure point-to-point tunnel through the Internet with your office to access your data.

There are other remote access tools that allow you to do the same thing. Teamviewer and Logmein are great alternatives but speak to our Service Delivery Team (SDT) about which tool would be suitable for you.

2. Receive & Make Landline Calls Like You Were in the Office

We are massive fans of VOIP. Not only is VOIP so much cheaper than traditional landlines, it is also very portable. Using Supreme as an example, all team members have our VOIP application on their laptops and on their mobile phones so users working from home could continue making and receiving calls as if they were in the office.

3. Get a WPRS

What if the disaster stops you from using the office at all? This happened to a client recently who suffered flooding at their offices. They were unable to use the office for three weeks so staff were moved to a temporary Work Place Recovery Site (WPRS). Typically, a WPRS would be a replica of your main office which will allow for core services to continue.

Maintaining a dedicated WPRS may prove quite expensive so consider sharing a WPRS site with other businesses or even coming to an agreement with serviced office providers. Many will provide office space and internet connectivity at short notice and for flexile terms.

4. Collaborate and Meet Online

If getting a WPRS is not an option, do consider meeting online. Great applications such as Skype for Business or Google+ Hangouts allow you and your team to make conference calls, have online meetings and collaborate remotely on projects.

5. Get a DR solution

We are massive advocates of having a robust DR solution – which goes further than a standard data backup. A good DR solution in our opinion is “insurance” for your critical IT systems and should provide as a minimum, bare metal recovery (i.e. everything restored “as is”) with a range of restore points. Our DR solution 999RESTORE does all this plus provides customers with a loan server if anything were to happen to their server. Find out more about our DR services here or give Julian a call on 0121 309 0126.

 

March 2018 Newsletter

“I must, I must, I must improve IT!” – Top 5 New IT Considerations

1. Get going with GDPR

On 25 May 2018 most processing of personal data by organisations will have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Currently, the UK relies on the Data Protection Act 1998, which was enacted following the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, but this will be superseded by the new legislation. It introduces tougher fines for non-compliance and breaches, and gives people more say over what companies can do with their data. It also makes data protection rules more or less identical throughout the EU.

Our account managers will be talking to all customers about their GDPR preparations but you can find out more from the Information Commissioner’s Office.

2. Reinforce your Human Firewall

FACT: The cyber thieves are getting smarter at finding ways to steal your information. However it seems like the smarter they get they more complacent we seem to become. When it comes to cyber security there is simply no room for complacency. Hardware and software protection such as Supreme Systems’ ANPS service can only go so far in protecting your IT environment. It is also essential that we all have processes in place that govern the human element in the fight against cyber crime. Our cyber crime seminars have been well received in terms of highlighting some common dos and don’ts. We are looking at more ways to help you reinforce the “human firewall” so watch this space!

3. If all fails…DR?

A recent Gartner survey showed that over 50% of UK businesses have no provision for Disaster Recovery. Statistics such as this are puzzling particularly as most businesses understand the importance of protecting against the unexpected. We all have insurance to protect our buildings, contents, employees and the work we do so why not get protection for your IT systems?

Disaster Recovery in our opinion is “insurance” for your IT, in fact most insurance companies that provide cyber security cover will insist on some sort of disaster recovery plan and system that safeguards your business critical systems. Our DR solution provides a complete bare metal restore (i.e. everything restored “as is”) with a range of restore points. To find out more give Julian a call on 0121 309 0126 for more information.

4. Switch to VOIP and save, save, save!

VOIP has come a long way since the dark days of poor call quality, yet take up in the UK is still not to the levels seen in America. Which is surprising considering businesses stand to save up to 60% on call costs. We are fans of VOIP ourselves and as a 3CX partner we are able to recommend one of the best VOIP solutions in the industry. To find out more give Julian a call on 0121 309 0126 for more information.

5. Time for an upgrade?

Manufacturers recommend a refresh cycle of every 3 – 5 years but not all businesses adhere to this. We have seen 10 year old PCs and servers, bought 15 years ago, that are still in production and these will no doubt cause productivity bottlenecks. We understand that upgrades can be costly so why not spread the cost with HAAS?

HAAS stands for Hardware As A Service and it allows businesses to lease IT Hardware perpetually. It is great for businesses as it reduces capital expenditure and affords for better IT budgeting. Next month our newsletter will focus on the benefits of HAAS but get in touch now if you would like to know more.

February 2018 Newsletter