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What’s in the box – and the thinking outside it

IT infrastructure is full of boxes. Server racks, PC towers, all the routers and hubs that connect them. But what really matters doesn’t come in a box : the expertise and experience that makes sure those components deliver value.

That’s why at Strypes we’re known for thinking outside the box – with services that include Remote Infrastructure Management , or RIM.

RIM means outsourcing a critical yet complicated back-office function to people who do it full-time – putting time and resources back into your in-house team’s day. While providing accountability for the underlay of your IT setup that enables all your applications and data to run smoothly on top.

If it works properly, it’s invisible to most people in your business, because they don’t need to think about it. But behind the scenes, a great deal of effort and energy goes into making sure everything rolls along without interruption.

Obviously it’s not right for every scenario – so in this blog, we tell you what it consists of and where it works best, with some ideas for doing it well.

Defining IT infrastructure: a play in three acts

Some definitions are easy. There are three parts to IT infrastructure: hardware , software , and connectivity. But the terms have expanded over time.

Hardware is your server racks and desktop fleet, but it’s also the boxes you don’t own: the resources you rent in a data centre for example. Perhaps not a single person on your IT team has ever seen the rack where your data “lives” in person – but it’s still there, and it still needs maintenance.

The basic rule: if it provides a vital service to your people, it deserves management. Even more so if it’s offsite.

Similarly, your software isn’t just productivity applications people use every day, like Office365. It’s all the custom chunks of code on your GitHub, all the objects and containers that structure and define your applications [3] across your cloud [4] platform, even the documentation and process diagrams that support how people use it. And it’s surprising how many discrete components this can involve.

(A typical Strypes RIM client has over 17,000 in play, and many MNCs have many more. That’s one big cloud to maintain.)

The last part of infrastructure is connectivity – the bit that turns it from a collection of boxes and packages into the true backbone of your business. Connectivity covers everything from the cable connecting your router to the wall to the contract you have with a telco for your international dedicated bandwidth.

So: three easy-to-understand components. Sounds simple, right? But in the last few years, there’s been a sea change in what counts as “infrastructure”: the rise of the cloud.

Global cloud coverage: the shift that changed infrastructure

Many businesses now rely on whole or partial cloud infrastructure, with every employee and device connected to their applications, data, and each other via SASE and SD-WAN. While cloud providers, from local data centres to Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s AWS, now span the world, hosting both industry-standard and customised in-house applications for millions of organisations.

Countless teams have outsourced their entire information infrastructure to the cloud, with no servers cluttering up their offices at all.

So why – with all this cloud-based wonderfulness available from expert professionals at Microsoft, Amazon, and so on – does a typical cloud infrastructure still benefit from Remote Infrastructure Management from companies like Strypes?

The answer: complexity. That’s where Strypes comes in.

Clouds come in more than one flavour

First, remember there’s more than one type of cloud. Many companies have gone 100% public cloud – with their IT infrastructure housed totally in third-party data centres like Azure – but not all. Particularly in the financial sector, many clouds are private, “owned” by the organisation using them and on dedicated infrastructure. While others use hybrid cloud solutions, a mix of both that often addresses complex use cases involving differing legal regimes and national borders.

The only thing you need to know: Strypes can work with all of them. Now onto the benefits.

Management of infrastructure as a service

The cloud providers offer a platform for you to work on, but don’t know much about your unique everyday business operations. Nor is this their job. Any more than the owner of your apartment building wants to come in to cook and clean for you.

The big cloud players deal with the Big Picture. Their role is to keep a global platform always-on and always-available. So where does that leave the up-close-and-personal stuff that make your business function?

The processes in your operational model, the ways your people cooperate and collaborate, and how your applications transform data as it moves around your business – these are your real competitive advantages. The things that are unique to you.

And the smoother, faster, and easier you can make these processes, the better your business will perform. That’s the real goal of RIM. Management of your IT infrastructure for optimal performance, working quietly but competently from a remote location. Saving you time, money, and hassle.

If you’re worried about the ever-increasing costs and workload of managing your cloud IT in-house, here’s a list of what RIM can offer: think of them as the parts of RIM.

1. Maintaining the basics

The strongest infrastructure has a firm foundation. That’s the most fundamental role of RIM: getting your basic platform in place and making sure it doesn’t fork or fragment as time goes on.

What does this involve? There are many solutions. Perhaps a code management system like GitHub, making sure every version and document is in its proper place. Or keeping a code library of core functions, intuitively named and easy for developers to find and reuse. Or following an agreed set of best practices, taking in code from your in-house coders and rolling it into an existing codebase.

These are the basics, and they matter. An outsourced partner, focused on the basics, can be your best choice for future success. Get this part right, and the rest will follow.

2. Keeping mission-critical applications running …

Maintaining the Office suite on someone’s desktop is certainly business-critical, because Joe in Sales needs it to do his job. But it’s not mission-critical: the company won’t fall over if Joe can’t complete his PowerPoint today.

That’s why RIM starts lower down the tech stack, with a focus on your enterprise applications : ERP, CRM, SAP, the software implementations that connect disparate parts of your business into a working whole. Such applications aren’t launch-and-forget; they evolve constantly, with new versions, patches, and updates to apply almost daily plus the countless connections and customizations every business needs.

These days, all the major enterprise suites are in the cloud (or at least cloud-enabled) making them prime candidates for RIM. So it’s not just your basic infrastructure RIM from Strypes can manage – it’s the applications that make use of it, too.

3. … and offering the same coverage, everywhere

Another service offered by RIM is the way it standardises core IT processes everywhere, across all your locations and teams. Because if you had 50 offices, and a separate IT team in each one, they wouldn’t all manage their IT in the same way – leading to conflicts and clashes as people struggle to make their systems work together.

This makes your business more agile, since an improvement in one process is instantly available everywhere: your IT infrastructure has a “single version of the truth”, a central place where it’s all managed on a single set of success criteria. You have a dedicated outsourced team looking after your entire IT landscape in the cloud. Which is great news for efficiency and effectiveness.

4. A mission to keep costs under control

RIM doesn’t stop at operational efficiencies; it looks for cost efficiencies, too. Another key service involves looking at the resources your organisation actually uses, and optimising them so you’re not paying for more than you need.

If your data bandwidth hits 99% capacity during daylight hours, RIM will maintain a healthy buffer so your applications don’t slow to a crawl. But if utilisation rates drop to 2% at night? RIM will optimise that, too, throttling down cloud capacity so you’re not paying for resources you’re not using. Along your value chain there may be hundreds of opportunities for tweaking and improving. A good RIM outsource will track them down.

This is management. Actively seeking ways to improve. This feature, alone, often more than pays for RIM as an outsourced service. But the benefits don’t stop there.

5. Monitoring and mitigating threat scenarios

Another part of RIM is constant vigilance. An outsourced RIM partner doesn’t just keep your IT running; it keeps them safe too, handling security with models like SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) and its diverse set of processes for authenticating users, encrypting network traffic, and handling permissions.

After all, IT is a complex beast, and it only takes one hole in your infrastructure to grant a route in for a bad actor. RIM acts as your “nerve centre” keeping a watchful eye on it all. And because it’s our business to do so, you can be sure a partner like Strypes is staying up-to-date with the entire threat landscape, ready to act before disaster strikes.

6. Seeing the road ahead – and any road bumps

The core benefit of RIM is the expertise of your outsourced partner. Not just technological smarts, but how technology is changing, and how that will affect your business as time goes on. That’s another reason to explore RIM with Strypes.

We’re not about the here-and-now, reacting to situations as they occur: our eyes are on the horizon, whether that’s a developing threat flagged up by monitoring or a technological development that requires advance planning.

Tech is a shifting sector, and a competent outsourced partner will help your infrastructure keep up. Make sure any you look at offer this as part of their service.

7. Smoothing the process of migrations and upgrades

And when those rollouts and updates need to happen, a RIM partner ensures the project will go according to plan. With in-depth knowledge of the way your IT operates, implementing a new application or replacing an old one is a managed process, not close-your-eyes-and-hope.

This is important, because a huge number of upgrades are stymied by simple things like misplaced code libraries or wrongly-named containers, all creating extra work as they’re hunted down and fixed one-by-one. If you’re starting with a clean infrastructure, it’s a lot easier to keep it clean. See #1 above.

8. And looking at your whole infrastructure as one!

When mistakes happen in IT, it’s usually because something was missed. A vital application wasn’t integrated properly, or a rarely-used code library turned out to be central to the process. This is perhaps the biggest overall benefit of remote infrastructure management: the way it sees the big picture.

A good RIM outsourcing partner doesn’t maintain your applications, databases, cloud capacity, codebase, security, and user protocols in isolated silos. It treats them as an integrated service , aware of the connections and resources in play between different functional areas and making sure an improvement in A doesn’t mean a fault in B.

The long-term benefits of this can’t be overstated. Look at how many startups struggle to achieve scale, or how many SMEs never make the leap to the stock market or Fortune 500 list. It’s not that they lack ambition. It’s that their business infrastructure – which today means IT – is simply too inefficient, too labour-intensive, too slow and cumbersome to keep up with their growth.

Of course, there’s a caveat here: you need the right partner for RIM. One that knows how to deal with multinational companies, in all their complexity; one that understands the differences in regulations and legal frameworks around the world and can make sure your infrastructure works in all of them.

With RIM clients that span multinational tech players to giants of agribusiness to companies offering services worldwide, Strypes has the experience you need to maintain your IT infrastructure as you grow.

CONCLUSION: Want all these services in one place? Ask Strypes about RIM

These are the parts of a complete Remote Infrastructure Management solution. Thousands of companies are using one, two, or (increasingly) all of them to remove the headaches of doing it in-house.

Perhaps that’s why RIM is already a US$40bn+ sector, growing at double-digit rates per year – and why companies report savings of up to 60% when they adopt it.

If you like the sound of the services above, get in contact with Strypes today. We’re here.

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