While there’s a lot of well-deserved focus on business and IT innovation these days, the fundamentals of delivering IT services never go away. In fact, a new survey published this week by Syncsort, a provider of data management software, indicates that availability and security remain the top two priorities for most IT professionals.
Specifically, the Syncsort survey of 5,632 IT professionals finds that 47 percent of respondents ranked business continuity/availability as their biggest concern. However, when it comes to new initiatives, 49 percent of respondents ranked IT security as a more pressing concern over the next two years.
Basic IT management struggles
In general, the survey confirms that when it comes to the business metrics of IT, the focus is still on availability/uptime (67 percent), application performance (49 percent), and customer satisfaction (47 percent). The survey also finds that when it comes to high availability and disaster recovery, there’s still a lot of room for improvement.
A total of 35 percent admitted losing a few minutes to an hour of data. That compares to 28 percent that lost a few hours and 31 percent that lost a day or more. Only half of businesses are meeting their recovery time objective (RTO). Despite the focus on availability, the survey finds that a whopping 85 percent of respondents are less than 100-percent confident in their plan or had no plan at all.
One of the areas where availability is most challenging is any kind of migration project. The survey finds 42 percent of the respondents experienced a failure during a migration, and 68 percent reported their systems were down between one and 48 hours during their most recent migration. Reasons for making those migrations range from upgrading outdated technology (68 percent) and improving performance (50 percent) to consolidating servers (42 percent).
IT management opportunities
Despite all the recent advances in IT automation, the survey makes it clear that existing IT environments are challenging to manage. Most organizations still rely on legacy applications and systems that are exceedingly complex. Arguably, advances in areas such as microservices are about to make those environments even more complex. It will still be many years before the average IT environments might approach anywhere near being self-managed.
Given all that complexity, the opportunity for managed service providers to focus on the fundamentals remains immense. Most IT environments are still managed by IT operations teams that are overwhelmed by the challenges associated with keeping systems up and running—much less securing them. Unlike many internal IT organizations, MSPs have developed proven, repeatable processes to ensure availability and maintain security. Obviously, there’s no such thing as perfect security. But, IT security that is consistently applied does serve as a better deterrent. The sales and marketing issue that MSPs need to overcome is convincing the business and IT leadership of an organization of the truth of these simple facts.
In the years ahead, a much higher percentage of IT will be managed by MSPs than internal IT organizations. Today, arguably a quarter of IT is being managed by external service providers. It may take some time for the ratio to achieve a 50-50 split. But, the good news is MSPs that focus on fundamentals can confidently expect to see the size of the available market considerably expand in the months and years ahead.