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How SMEs can access enterprise-grade managed services with the cloud?

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By Nick Isherwood, Technology Services Director, JMC IT

No matter what size, businesses don’t need to suffer poor system performance anymore! Thanks to the cloud and some really game-changing technology, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) can now access the same level of proactive IT support and monitoring that was once only accessible to much larger organisations – with much bigger budgets.

Now, regardless of where you choose to place your systems, IT partners are able to monitor them at a level that was once only manageable to large businesses.

Businesses should look for IT partners taking an innovative approach, who have developed an application performance management ‘bolt-on’ to their monitoring
How has the game changed?

Using the cloud and systems such as ScienceLogic, a number of IT partners have taken managed service support to the next level, from ASM (Active System Monitoring) to APM (Application Performance Management). These technologies allow outsourced IT support partners to customise a client’s system monitoring around the elements that are most important to them. For example, a business that relies heavily on email in order for them to operate effectively would suffer should there be any downtime on this element of their IT.

Companies embracing these latest methods, can now offer an enterprise-grade service to businesses, at a more accessible cost. Businesses should look for IT partners taking an innovative approach, who have developed an application performance management ‘bolt-on’ to their monitoring to give an extra level of support to that email system and all of its components.

Dynamic Component Map showing high-level performance of Microsoft HyperV hosts, guests & applications.

What is application performance management?

APM does not mean that the rest of the system’s performance is ignored; far from it. Your IT partner should continually proactively monitor how the whole system is performing, and make any necessary fixes before they escalate into a larger issue. This way, clients should never experience any downtime or under-performing applications. However, APM takes this a step further and adds a further layer of protection to the key elements of the system that a company values the most – or cannot function without. This could be a link to a database or as mentioned above – a company’s entire email system.

APM looks at what is most critical for that specific business and focuses on all components that have an effect on its performance in a much more detailed approach.

Network availability & performance, including event status.

At JMC, for example, we can set early warning metrics to alert our technicians to when any of these elements’ performance drops below an agreed level, meaning we can act quickly to fix the issue before it becomes a problem. We also provide, where required, access to our live monitoring data on a client’s own bespoke desktop, meaning they can securely log in to see the performance of their systems at any time. This gives huge peace of mind to organisations that really rely on their IT to operate, which is increasingly the case for many businesses.

What are the benefits?

By taking a much more proactive approach to monitoring and support, and the specific critical elements of a business’ systems, problems can be solved up to four times faster than if it escalates into a fully ‘broken’ state – i.e. when something stops working altogether. If you have the right support partner, you will experience little or no downtime and are able to work at an optimal level at all times.

This view provides an instant view into the performance of a Primary & Replication back-up service.

A good support partner will report to their clients on a regular basis, notifying them when performance has dipped into the ‘alert’ stage and demonstrating that they are working to – or have already resolved the issue. You should be able to see the live status of your systems at any time, and be provided with an easy-to-digest quarterly report to keep you abreast of the work that has taken place on your systems and their performance.

Sadly, we come across many organisations that don’t have this experience with their IT support and monitoring. But it isn’t necessary to suffer from poor performance – and it isn’t difficult to switch provider. Some partners will even offer you a no-quibble money-back guarantee if you aren’t receiving a superior service at the three-month review.