Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How-To: Maintain visibility and accountability in outsourced IT

The combination of a competitive managed services market and increasingly complicated enterprise network expectations have lead many companies to outsource their network management. Benefits that include lower cost of ownership, outside expertise and fewer inside demands must be balanced with less direct control and visibility. Or does it?

A common complaint is that when problems do arise in an outsourced arrangement, users are the first to notice the problem. Initial responses typically involve finger-pointing. From the outsourcer, "Sounds like a carrier issue. Not our problem." From the carrier, "Probably a network issue. Not our problem." From the users to their IT group: "This is big issue. We can't get to all of the applications that now reside in the cloud and are critical to our business. This is your problem."

Uplogix Local Management is well-suited for solving this issue. With high-resolution out-of-band monitoring, network infrastructure is always visible—say it is a carrier issue and a backhoe took out the line leading into the building, or a network management problem like a failed config on a key router.

Granular authorization functionality makes it possible for Uplogix to provide all parties with varying levels of access and visibility to specific devices. And audit and compliance reporting captures every interaction and response from managed devices.

Some of the largest Uplogix customers outsource their network management and have written Local Management into their contracts for the additional visibility it provides. From a Service Level Agreement perspective, Uplogix is advantageous to all involved parties. The automated responses possible with a Local Manager can resolve issues often before even users even notice. And for the people responsible for the network management, and those responsible for the network management contracts, the time that used to be spent finger-pointing can be spent solving the problem.

SLAs only go so far - at the end of the day, getting money back for downtime or slow networks is a good thing, but what you really need is a network operating at spec. Rather than put all of the focus on carrots and sticks, and deal with the finger-pointing it generates, improve visibility in your network management. In the words of technologist (for his day) and founding father George Washington, "Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."