Recently, IT has been under pressure, basically stuck between a rock and a hard place.
We are a middling sized company based in the Netherlands operating vanilla Windows based systems. In 2019, business management pressurized us to adopt new technology platforms like the cloud and IOT. The immediate requirement was to support remote work and to integrate online customer systems with Social Media. At the same time, they froze or reduced IT budgets and headcount.
Then came the pandemic. Business strategies mutated from development to survival. Items like support for remote working and online sales and distribution became a priority.
At the same time, the regular business continued. We had had to contend with the increasing frequency, ferocity, and variety of malware and hacking attacks and carry on with the usual background noise of daily operations and development.
Something had to break.
We started to look at outsourcing some peripheral functions until we realized the best benefit would be outsourcing all the routine business as usual stuff. Doing this would have two immediate benefits, first, stabilize the essential operational budget, and second, release staff to concentrate on survival tasks at little or no additional cost.
Of the various options, we looked primarily at different solution levels. Simple website outsourcing sites were too small and lacked capacity, full-on dedicated infrastructure outsourcing solutions too expensive. We ruled out shared hosting because of security concerns around sensitive commercial data. That left hosted VPS as a viable middle-ground solution. For technical and operational reasons, it needed to be Windows-based, with a site in the Netherlands with a supplier like HostSailor.
A few suitable service providers in Amsterdam itself offered Windows-based hosted VPS services. Be careful, we found some companies claim to be local in the Netherlands, but the local site is just a peering point connected to a data center elsewhere, usually in the Far East, India, or Bangladesh.
Taking on a Managed Service Provider (“MSP”) is a serious commitment, and you need to be sure that the MSP can meet all your needs:
The first thing to do is make up a schedule with three columns headed Mandatory, Good to Have, and Great If It Does. Put your business needs in these three columns. Review the potential MSPs, and the chosen MSP must hit all the buttons in the mandatory column, and as many as possible in the other columns.
What is VPS, and What Are It’s Advantages?
VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. A VPS server is a single physical server supporting entirely independent server images, including various Open Systems and Windows varieties.
VPS hosting is an external managed service provider giving you the VPS infrastructure to support your corporate systems.
We found the benefits to include:
- Fixed operational costs. It overcame the need to plan for varying IT operational budgets and the challenges around asking for additional resources to meet unexpected demands.
- Routine daily tasks are off our hands, releasing our staff to concentrate on new urgent developments and complete delayed projects.
- The VPS infrastructure is flexible and scalable, and we paid only for what we needed. When and if we needed additional infrastructure resources, temporary and permanent, these were provided by the MSP faster than we could source them ourselves.
- VPS is a technically complex environment to set up and maintain. Having a knowledgeable support team at the MSP made life a lot easier.
In the future, when things have calmed down to the new normal, we may move the VPS environment back to our own data center. Basing it on an industry-standard Linux solution makes the transfer easier than a full-scale migration. We made sure that there is a skills transfer with our staff for that reason.
If you have the same challenges, take a look at VPS.