When your cloud services don’t have management or support, your business is riding shotgun with a pilot who can’t land the plane. Sure, the takeoff was smooth, but it’s been nothing but turbulence ever since. Don’t wait for the crash. Hit the eject button and switch to a company with proven, tested cloud solutions.
Aren’t All Cloud Management Providers the Same?
In a word, no. Plenty of IT services companies offer cloud solutions but do a poor job of implementing, supporting and securing those offerings. No business should work with a provider who sets up the cloud and then leaves. When that happens, you’re left managing:
Nestled within those broad categories are multiple nuanced requirements. For instance, you can’t check in on consumption once a quarter – that’s a surefire way to overspend on the cloud.
There are reputable IT providers who have solid managed services and cloud offerings
These companies have cloud consultants who become partners for your business and help turn your cloud into an engine for growth. Use the 2 comprehensive cloud solutions outlined below as your benchmark for measuring your current support and any provider you may work with in the future.
1. Comprehensive support for Microsoft 365
A provider who only helps you access Microsoft 365 licensing isn’t really helping. You want to wrap support and a full range of services around your cloud apps through a solution, like our Managed Microsoft 365 Cloud.
Support is more than managed email
Along with support for your Microsoft cloud apps, Managed Microsoft 365 Cloud gives you:
- Advanced security features turned on
- Monthly security and usage reports
- Accounts regularly audited for malicious activities
- You’re working with a Microsoft Gold Partner
- Training opportunities show your employees how to use business applications like Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams
You may want to extend support beyond cloud management
If you don’t have an in-house team who can manage the rest of your IT – like your work devices and desktop apps – you’ll want to explore an option with that level of support built in, like Nortec’s Managed Modern Workplace.
2. The Managed Modern Workplace
Even when your apps are in the cloud, you still have desktop-based apps and physical devices that require maintenance, security, and support. The Managed Modern Workplace from Nortec extends these essential services to your devices and every business-critical app you use.
There are no add-on bills or extra costs for support
You pay one, flat monthly fee for:
- Microsoft 365
- Unlimited remote-help-desk support
- Support for remote workers
- Strategic guidance from vCIOs
- Layered cybersecurity solutions
- Training on how to best leverage Microsoft apps and tools
Score a bigger, juicier ROI from Microsoft cloud solutions you already have.
5 Signs You Have Exceptional Cloud Services
Of course, any IT provider can list those solutions on their website. To know you have exceptional services, here are 5 signs to look for. If your current partner doesn’t meet the 5 criteria outlined below, you’re missing out on opportunities and potentially overpaying for your cloud services.
1. Your cloud licensing is truly flexible
The cloud is sold as a way to easily scale up or down resources. That’s not automatically true. It depends on your licensing. Under an enterprise agreement (EA) you’re stuck estimating a year’s worth of cloud usage. Then you pay for that capacity up-front. With a cloud solution provider (CSP), like Nortec, you pay for what you use monthly.
EA vs. CSP isn’t your only licensing concern
In and out of the cloud, Microsoft bundles the same products multiple ways. This makes it easy to:
- Get the wrong licensing
Or worse, get the wrong licensing, overpay, and face a fine from Microsoft. When we started working with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, they:
- Had an outdated server license and an inadequate number of seats
- Faced potential fines from Microsoft
- Lacked essential cybersecurity measures
We sorted out each issue and leveraged features built into their Microsoft 365 license to give the nonprofit more control over devices and data without adding to their monthly bill. Had the nonprofit worked with a Microsoft cloud consulting expert from the beginning, they wouldn’t have needed to go through the headache of remediating. Not only did we help them obtain the correct license, we saved them money in the process.
2. You have white-glove cloud security
Your Microsoft 365 license comes with advanced identity-based security and threat detection tools. Without comprehensive, white-glove IT support, you’re responsible for configuring and monitoring these features.
Are you prepared for the fight?
Hackers know how to evade detection once they get into your network. Other criminals choose to execute cunning phishing scams. Either way, you won’t realize what’s happening until after your files are encrypted or someone accidentally wires money overseas.
Let experienced cloud consultants battle hackers for you
None of our clients rely on a single security solution. We layer on appropriate cloud security measures for each organization we work with based on their risk profile and the current threat landscape. Since Microsoft 365 has award-winning security features, we’re able to add safeguards and monitor your network for suspicious activity 24/7, without destroying your budget.
We’re dedicated to keeping all businesses secure – even nonclients
When our chief operating officer and EVP, George Hammerschmidt, received a suspicious email from a nonclient, he reached out immediately, because he believed it was a phishing scam. Hammerschmidt was right; the law firm in question had been hacked. The Nortec team quickly jumped in, kicked the hackers out and added new layers of security.
3. Your cloud consultants look for ways to save you money
Microsoft licensing costs are not uniform across industries. On top of business vs. enterprise classes, there are specialized offers based on industry, like government, nonprofits and education.
We saved United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania 60% on Microsoft 365
Nonprofit licensing resulted in major savings for United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. The nonprofit has seasonal demands, and their flexibility for scaling up and down creates additional opportunities to save money in the cloud.
Always work with a Microsoft expert
They know how to find deals on licensing based on your business, and will then leverage the tools within your suite of apps and systems to give you the biggest ROI from your IT tools.
20 Ways To Save Money in the Cloud
4. Your employees are trained on how to use new features
Working directly in documents, sending SharePoint links in Teams and securely chatting with external partners are ways your employees will save time while collaborating on projects.
Your team won’t actually do it unless someone shows them how to use SharePoint and Teams. Instead, old ways of working will persist. People will email documents back and forth with directives in the body of the email. Inevitably, points will be missed as people are forced to toggle back and forth between the message and the doc.
How to decrease resistance and increase adoption
Schneider Downs asked us to develop a communication plan for adoption and change management they could use in townhalls to educate employees on how to use OneDrive and SharePoint. Other custom training opportunities drive adoption – talk to us to see what will work best for your organization.
Postmigration training is a good start, but your cloud consulting services relationship can’t end there.
5. Your cloud consultants don’t “just turn it on” and leave
Even if the consultant hangs around for a bit of training, you want more. Companies like Microsoft routinely update products and services. In the case of Teams, at any point a third party could integrate their app with the platform. You don’t want the burden of tracking that information, letting your employees know about changes and then educating them on how to use the new feature.
Cloud consulting services are an ongoing relationship
Your cloud consultant should be talking about what impacts your business now and what will happen tomorrow.
Has Your Cloud Consultant Talked to You About Hybrid Work Plans?
COVID-19 reshaped our relationship with the office. If your IT provider hasn’t started talking to you about hybrid work plans, what are they waiting for?
Your employees know remote work is viable
People want to switch back and forth between home and the office without thinking about the technology underpinning their workday. Your consultant should be sharing ways you can:
- Provide tools to remote workers
- Maintain an on-premise presence, on a budget
- Add security to devices in an out of the office (we like identity-based security controls)
- Make remote workers feel they’re still part of the team
- Keep all IT costs under control
Cloud Services From Nortec = Smooth Business Skies Ahead
Having cloud solutions like Microsoft 365 isn’t an automatic business advantage – everyone uses it. You only gain an edge when you have expert management, consulting and wraparound services for your cloud environment. We can help steer you through smooth skies toward business growth.