IN the October Digihub section of the Channel Island Business Brief magazine, Olly Duquemin, Resolution IT's Joint Managing Director, offers practical advice for businesses in relation to the information technology that underpins so many companies today.
How can you be certain of getting the important decisions right?
Increasingly, it’s not just what IT you choose that’s important. It’s how you use it, protect it from cyber attack, flex it to develop your organisation and then future-proof those vital systems.
Next year’s introduction of Guernsey’s EU-equivalent General Data Protection Regulation adds a significant new compliance overhead to what you do and how you store client data, with punitive financial penalties if you get it wrong.
In short, the IT landscape has become a potential minefield for anyone responsible for it – which is why so many businesses are now choosing to partner with specialist proactive providers like Resolution IT.
Whether your business requires total IT support, expertise for a particular project or simply needs to maintain business as usual, an outsourced service is tailored to your operational needs and budget.
And importantly, regulators are increasingly viewing the use of a properly qualified technology partner as best practice in meeting complex compliance requirements. Company boards in particular appreciate this additional level of comfort.
Such partnerships can be as bespoke as full outsourcing to one-off project management but ultimately relieves you of the burden of recruiting, retaining and paying your own professional team and ensuring they remain fully qualified.
Given the advantages reported by so many businesses which adopt this approach, what’s the catch? Seriously, there isn’t. But the system protections and on-call expertise you gain will only be as good as the time you invest in choosing the right partner.
You need to establish your chosen provider:
• Has a fully staffed team which is approachable, technically proficient and capable of dealing with any IT issue.
• Provides active account management with regular two-way feedback and advice on service level performance, latest information security and technology changes.
• Is open and transparent from outset about what is included – or not – in your support or managed service contract. They should also be able to provide you with a regular utilisation report so both parties know exactly how the contract is working.
• Uses thorough staff security vetting and employs fit and suitable people to trust with access to your business-critical systems and confidential information.
• Is financially sound with acceptable levels of monetary commitments and is able to demonstrate robust business sustainability plans to meet these financial obligations, now and in the future.
• Can demonstrate an extensive list of IT partners, vendors and certifications.
• Receives good references. Call colleagues who currently use the provider and get their feedback. Ask the provider for site references.
• Makes it easy to onboard and off-board. Moving to or from a new provider is often perceived as a difficult, lengthy and costly process. A reputable and professional provider should ensure this transition is seamless.
If your provider meets all these requirements, you then also need to know how it scores on providing the basics.
A proactive approach to ‘keeping the lights on’ must be a given. Your IT partner should be using state-of-the art software to continuously monitor what’s happening behind the scenes and adjusting your system to make sure it is in the best possible health and demonstrate what’s been done.
Regular system health checks and monthly, if not weekly, security patching should be the norm.
When it comes to cyber security, your chosen partner should also have achieved the Information Assurance for Small and Medium Enterprises (IASME) Governance Gold standard in addition to Cyber Essentials accreditation.