In today’s data-driven business landscape, the ability of a company to successfully manage its IT environment is essential to its success. Poorly managed IT resources put a company at a competitive disadvantage. Management and operational inefficiencies affecting the computing environment can result in a variety of risks to a business.

While data is commonly called an organization’s most important asset, the people managing the IT environment in which that data resides are equally important. Without a capable and motivated team, a company cannot extract the maximum business value from its IT systems and data resources.

Challenges of Being Located Outside a Metropolitan Area

Companies that are located away from a metro area face several challenges in maintaining and managing their IT environment with on-site and in-house resources. It can be difficult to effectively address these challenges and provide the high performance and system availability they need to be competitive. Companies may face the following challenges when attempting to manage an IT environment in a rural location.

Outdated communication and power infrastructure

Companies located in rural areas may be impacted by obsolete or inferior communication and power delivery options. In some cases, the infrastructure may not be able to provide the high-speed connectivity required for effective internal operations or customer-facing applications. Depending on the location of the company’s data center, there can be issues related to travel during storms that make it difficult for employees to get to work.

Access to a small local talent pool

A lack of local and technically savvy potential employees can make it difficult for a company to put together an adequate in-house IT management staff. It is quite likely that many of the qualified personnel originally from the area have migrated to a metropolitan location in search of better opportunities. Convincing these people to remain in the area may require more than the possibility of working for your company, especially if there are not many additional IT environments in the immediate vicinity from which to choose. Individuals may want assurances that other opportunities are available that do not require relocation if their current position doesn’t work out.

Difficulty attracting the right technical talent

It can be very difficult to attract highly skilled technical and management talent to a company in a rural location for several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Reduced financial compensation compared to companies operating in a metropolitan setting;
  • Fewer opportunities for advanced training than with larger companies located in major population centers;
  • The previously mentioned infrastructure issues that can impact travel and communication;
  • A limited housing market that may not support the preferred lifestyle of candidate employees;
  • Limited nightlife and entertainment options that may not appeal to the type of technical talent your company needs;
  • Lack of other IT opportunities in the area that would impact the ability of employee movement.

How Inferior IT Management and Technical Skills Impact Your Business

In today’s competitive business world, companies cannot afford to manage their IT environment inefficiently. The inability to hire competent and technically proficient employees outside of metro areas can result in inferior management that leads to a wide variety of potentially business-impacting problems. The following problems can plague companies in rural areas without top-notch, in-house IT management and technical resources.

  • Staffing shortages or a lack of skilled employees make it difficult to keep systems updated. Failure to quickly implement security patches can expose the IT environment to vulnerabilities that could have easily been avoided. Maintenance tasks will often be delayed as the staff addresses issues that impact operations. This results in a growing list of projects that can be overwhelming to the staff and may never be fully addressed due to a lack of time and resources.
  • Maintaining system availability and optimal performance is key to obtaining value from your IT environment. Without the proper employees, skill sets, and management focus, it can be difficult to avoid security lapses that can result in unplanned outages and impact business-critical systems. Downtime and degraded performance can hurt internal productivity and cause customers to seek new solutions.
  • Public cloud service providers (CSPs) have many offerings designed to help companies of all sizes meet their business objectives. Taking advantage of those offerings often requires a degree of familiarity with the cloud computing space and the various available delivery models. Without some experience, companies may engage the wrong services or wind up paying for cloud resources they don’t need.
  • Backup and disaster recovery plans and procedures are essential to the long-term health of a company and its IT environment. A business needs to have the ability to efficiently recover from a manmade or natural disaster, including ransomware or other types of cyber attacks. In situations where an IT staff is stressed to the limit putting out fires, disaster recovery plans are often neglected until they are needed. Unfortunately, by then it is usually too late. Many businesses fail due to the lack of recovery plans.

Addressing The Issues of Rurally Located IT Environments

In many cases, the underlying issues that affect IT environments in rural locations can be addressed through the use of managed IT services. Managed services reduce the skill gaps and business risks associated with a lack of in-house technical resources. Companies that work with a managed service provider (MSP) gain access to specialists with the expertise to keep your infrastructure secure, available, and performing well.

Working with an MSP differs from completely outsourcing your IT support responsibilities. With an MSP you can add the exact types of resources you need to complement your in-house staff.

Engaging an Experienced Third Party for IT Management

VAST offers a full range of managed services that can help your company optimize its IT environment no matter where it is located. You have access to an experienced technical team ready to address and resolve your IT issues. VAST’s managed service offerings include:

Contact VAST today and see how their managed services can improve your IT environment and allow your business to thrive no matter where your data center is located.