Help us help you: How enterprise IT teams can improve supply chain efficiency

When it comes to selecting a solutions provider, organizations today are prioritizing long-term support over cost. More than a one-and-done solution, they want a strategic partner that can help them tackle their current IT demands and work with them to identify needs they might not know they have, or that might not exist yet.

For a solutions provider, too, these are the best kind of customer relationsiteseekerps—true partnersiteseekerps with organizations that take an active role in improving their IT environment, and that not only to ask, “what else can you do be doing for us?” but also, “what can we be doing for you?”

There are many ways that enterprise IT teams can work with solutions providers to take their partnersiteseekerp—and thus the efficiency of their supply chain —to the next level. As Jerry Maguire might say, it’s all about finding the best ways to “Help us, help you!

Here are three of the best ways to do that.

1. Maintain an effective IT asset management solution. In terms of hardware, traditional volume licensing software, and cloud-based solutions, nothing can be done efficiently without understanding the relationsiteseekerp between what your contracts entitle you to deploy vs. what is actually deployed in your environment.

As an organization gets bigger, it’s harder to maintain that understanding, meaning more money can be wasted through redundant purchases—or worse—audit remediation. Understanding the products deployed, quantities, and entitlements granted by ongoing maintenance is a great start. From there, efficient forward progress is possible.

2. Understand which other internal groups will need to weigh in on big projects. IT must constantly evaluate new technologies, which requires time, bandwidth, and expertise. However, once a solution is found, other parts of the organization—like procurement, corporate governance, information security, and others—might also need to sign off on a solution.

Whether it’s leveraging an existing licensing agreement or remaining compliant with internal company standards and policies, there is great value and efficiency in inclusion. A longtime and trusted solutions partner sometimes adds value by introducing like-minded groups to one another— often within the same enterprise. Knowing all ducks must be in a row, it’s actually in the solutions provider’s best interests to do so well in advance, with the help of the IT team.

3. Understand all the capabilities a solutions provider can offer. Anyone who’s watched a Microsoft Excel wizard turn messy columns of data into a glorious pivot table has had the same thought: “I never knew Excel could do that!”

Just like how most of us only use 20 percent of an application’s capabilities, many longtime solutions providers have capabilities you may not be fully leveraging. When was the last time you asked what your solutions provider could do? It’s possible that your “Microsoft guy” also has the ability to become your “AWS guy,” and you didn’t even know it.

By keeping regularly scheduled business reviews and periodically asking questions like “What services or best practices are you providing to other customers like us?” you can up your chances of identifying untapped talent and resources that already exist in a trusted and approved solutions partner. Keep those QBRs on your calendar, share your pain points, and challenge your partners to identify ways to do more for you. Their answers and capabilities will almost certainly surprise you.

Help us help you

Service providers will do what they can to make your IT experience more efficient, but sometimes a little help from the other side can push that efficiency to another level. Don’t be afraid to ask how to make the process more efficient. Odds are, the answer won’t be that difficult—simply keep your IT data organized and your channels of communication open. The bigger the business, the more important it is to help us help you by optimizing the partnersiteseekerp with your service provider.

The importance of green data centers on Earth Day – and every day

Last year, data center providers signed contracts for over 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy, proving that energy efficiency in IT isn’t just an Earth Day promise—it’s an everyday action!

By using renewable power sources and minimizing your environmental footprint, you can save money and the environment. Virtualizing 100 servers, for example, can have a benefit equivalent to planting 89 trees. (more…)

A quick guide to finding a cybersecurity framework

Health care has HIPAA. Credit card merchants have PCI. But if you’re not part of these compliance-heavy industries, how can you know your cybersecurity is up to scratch?

The answer is a cybersecurity framework–a set of practices, policies, and processes that holds your organization accountable for its defenses. Security frameworks provide a calculated approach to determining risk, setting up a security strategy, and allocating security resources. They are measurable, repeatable, and used across many organizations. (more…)

How a virtual CISO could strengthen your security

With the ever-increasing number of cyberattacks for both financial gains and political purposes, companies, government agencies, and other organizations are forced to deploy and maintain an expanding depth of security controls. This has led to a breadth of oftentimes independent point solutions that aren’t driven by policies and processes and aren’t created by an experienced information security professional.

Many organizations just aren’t large enough to employ a chief information security officer (CISO), and even the ones that can afford it struggle to find qualified candidates. As a result, security falls by the wayside, becomes secondary to other IT operational concerns, and is more reactive than proactive.

That’s why virtual CISOs are growing more popular. These on-demand experts step in to evaluate, maintain, or repair your security, on-site or remotely, working as a flexible addition to your current IT team and offering the security management you may not be able to find yourself.

But not all virtual CISOs are created equal. To help you navigate the different types and functions—and whether they’re right for you at all—we’ve put together some background to guide your search. (more…)

Penetration testing: Do you need it?

In 2015, American businesses lost a total of $525 million to cyber attacks. Globally, that number shoots into the billions.

The risks of malicious cyber attacks have become more costly and more real. But there are steps you can take to ensure your network, devices, and data are as secure as possible. One of the best ways is penetration testing, in which you simulate attacks to uncover not only the weak points in your security, but the potential damage hackers could inflict through those vulnerabilities.

Some industries require penetration tests as part of compliance; others do them voluntarily. In either case, there are guidelines such as readiness, type, and value that need to be considered before moving forward. (more…)

3 questions that reveal if an MSP is right for you

Back when managed service providers (MSPs) competed on price, choosing the best option was fairly simple – it was all economics.

But now many organizations are looking for more. Price has taken a back seat to customer service and the overall support model. Companies want an MSP that can become a strategic partner, one they can go to for advice, forecasting, and help with initiatives, goals, and objectives.

That choice is only made harder by the industry’s impressive growth, which has brought a number of new market entrants. By at least one estimate of the global market, MSPs are expected to take in $230 billion each year by 2020. That’s a projected 10 percent growth rate.

If your company is planning on partnering with an MSP, finding the right one is as much about choosing a long-term ally as it is finding one for your current needs. It’s a good idea to cast a wide net in your search, and to go slow when choosing a provider. (more…)

Is your health care organization prepared for a cyber attack?

healthcare-itRansomware and cybercrime hacking have been two of the most common IT security threats in 2016, but many health care organizations aren’t ready to play defense: Only about 60 percent of surveyed organizations had the security capabilities in place to detect and remediate these attacks.

That’s problematic, of course, but is it surprising? After all, many health care organizations place more importance on HIPAA compliance than security, or they aren’t agile enough to protect themselves against the newest threat. Organizations tend to sink their energy into defending against the latest threat of the day, but lag on improving their entire security architecture. (more…)

7 electronic recycling resources for keeping hardware out of landfills

recycle Only 12.5 percent of e-waste is recycled— let’s change that.

The world’s largest IT hardware manufacturers all have recycling programs. You just need to know where to look. All of these programs strive for the same goal: Safely recycle or dispose of IT hardware and e-waste, saving it from landfills. Many businesses that sell IT equipment, as well as some states, run e-waste recycling programs, too.

Every program is a little different, depending on the manufacturer. So here are the recycling programs from six of the largest IT manufacturers, plus siteseeker’s “one-size-fits-all” approach to asset recovery. (more…)

This is how Datacate got a great deal on data center space

data-centerDatacate, a regional colocation provider, was recently in the market for new colocation space, but had strict requirements: Space had to come at the right price, but timing was the wrinkle. The entire process – negotiating contracts, ordering hardware, constructing cages, and making everything ready for move-in — would have to be completed in just over a month while keeping costs down. That’s a tight timeframe for a full implementation when constructing cages alone often takes several weeks. (more…)

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