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Network management – make or buy

Network management

Real Talk Network Outsourcing: What can I expect?

Security and technology standards are complex and changing all the time. Keeping pace with the change is expensive and challenging, which is why, in principle, every company should outsource its network management. We’ll show you which factors play a decisive role in answering the question: Outsourcing – yes or no?

Text: Romana Bleisch, Image: Adobe Stock,

We take connectivity for granted. Networks must always work perfectly and adapt to changing requirements – ideally by themselves. Advancing digitalisation means networks must now be much faster, more efficient, more flexible and totally secure.

 

Even more importantly, network management must run seamlessly and infrastructure must always meet the latest technological standards because networks have become crucial to business success. Although this is a complex subject with strategic significance, one-third of companies manage all their infrastructure themselves, mainly in order to save money (source: SD-WAN in der Schweiz, MSM 2019).

 

Two of the primary reasons for network outsourcing are expertise and scalability. External know-how in various fields can be drawn upon in a targeted way whenever necessary, is always up to date, and comes without additional expense. Short-term network peaks and changing personnel requirements can be accommodated without any problem. It does not need to be more expensive because it works on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis.

 

There are five crucial factors to consider when deciding whether to outsource or not: staff, expertise, cost, processes and security.

Staff

Network outsourcing is primarily a technical process. Unlike other changes within a company, such as a new organisational structure, network adjustments usually go unnoticed by staff, so they are met with little or no resistance.

 

However, this does not mean that staff are not affected: a project team explores the opportunities and challenges of migration. Will jobs be affected? Will the job profiles of IT staff need amending? The current network architecture is analysed and documented by specialists, and preparations are made for the migration process. The preparation and migration phase means an increase in workload for some employees.

 

Post-migration, the role of a company’s existing network expert or IT officer can change and their job description may be expanded or reduced in size, depending on the outsourcing model. In many cases, full outsourcing results in IT staff being taken on by the new provider. The staff gain a new perspective and their jobs remain safe.

Expertise

If you entrust network management to an outside company, you can count on the IT provider’s expertise. The provider is familiar with technological innovations and always up to date with the latest trends in digital transformation. Your network, technology and updates will be guaranteed to meet the latest standards at all times. Unwanted surprises can therefore be avoided because the network is proactively managed and monitored.

 

In terms of expertise, network outsourcing creates huge opportunities, especially for SMEs, since these companies’ networks are often managed by individual employees who also have other responsibilities. The advantage of this model is that companies have a direct overview and can make changes quickly. However, sheer lack of time often prevents them from fully focusing on the network and analysing new trends. Successful network management means keeping an eye on innovations in the security and technological fields at all times.

 

By outsourcing, you can count on a stable, secure and scalable network and focus on your core business.

Cost

From employees to services and infrastructure, companies must keep a healthy balance between cost, benefit and income. Cost is therefore a key factor where network outsourcing is concerned.

 

At the start of any project, the use of resources is usually more intensive. It takes time to analyse the current environment, define network requirements and find the right partner. However, once the migration process has been completed, costs go hand in hand with services received in accordance with the pay-as-you-go principle: in other words, the financial resources required reflect the benefits actually obtained. Your infrastructure and related financial expenditure are scalable and tailored to your needs.

 

Companies that operate their network themselves and employ network experts for this purpose are unable to react with as much flexibility and agility. Resources are calculated for peak phases and not used to full capacity during the rest of the year. However, costs must still be covered and remain constant and unflexible (and high).

Processes

When infrastructure is outsourced, there is usually a predefined process for change: the provider checks what the customer wants to change and draws up a change request. For security reasons, several checkpoints, such as security barriers or consultations, are built in before the change is implemented. This guarantees absolute stability and helps to eliminate risks.

 

A company that manages its network in-house and wants to make a change contacts its network expert, who implements the change ideally overnight. The process is quick and changes can be made within 24 hours. However, there is a much higher risk of service disruption.

Security

When analysing your current network, it is important to define what security requirements the infrastructure should meet because networks have become key pillars for companies and their security. Alongside basic system stability, issues such as data storage, access rights and monitoring play a crucial role.

 

An ICT provider offers 24/7 security solutions and a highly specialised team dedicated to protecting your network against a wide variety of cyber-threats. Without dedicated security prevention, companies cannot provide this to the same extent. The threat situation is constantly changing, so prevention measures must also be continuously monitored and adapted. From firewalls to penetration testing, web application security, data management and cloud, our security experts will ensure that your network and ecosystem are protected.

 

For heavily regulated industries that work with highly sensitive data in particular, such as insurance and banking, it is worthwhile bringing in relevant expertise from outside. The provider implements the guidelines in accordance with regulatory requirements and offers complete, round-the-clock network protection.

 

If you would like to know exactly how a change in network management might impact your company, contact our experts for a consultation.

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