Now more than ever, businesses across Yorkshire are under pressure to find ways to save money and boost productivity. In a world where most business functions are supported by digital technology, harnessing IT for strategic gain is one of the most effective ways to achieve these aims.
In our last article, we looked at how businesses can gain more value from their technology by exploring the potential of the cloud. In the last decade or so, the cloud has helped many smaller businesses compete with larger, more established players, thanks to innovative, empowering solutions being made available on an affordable subscription basis. This means smaller businesses now have access to technologies and IT capabilities that were once out-of-reach or cost-prohibitive, helping to level the playing field to some degree – at least in the field of enterprise IT.
In this article, we want to help Yorkshire businesses explore the IT solutions they can leverage for strategic benefit. We’ve picked out 4 compelling IT solutions and services that we think all businesses should at least consider incorporating in their digital strategies.
Business Cloud Hosting: Access More Scalability, Performance, and Lower Costs
Cloud hosting involves running and managing IT functions on remote servers accessed via the internet, as opposed to hosting these functions within a local network. Ideal candidates for cloud hosting include websites, databases, email services, data backups, and enterprise applications.
But why should you consider moving these IT services to the cloud?
The cloud offers IT project resources in a more elastic and scalable manner than traditional on-premises hosting setups. With public cloud services, you’re not paying for specific server infrastructure. Instead, you pay for virtualised computing resources, which can be distributed across multiple physical servers or even multiple data centres. By tapping into this vast pool of resources, rather than relying on the capabilities of a single machine, you can quickly scale up or down to match changing demand. This ensures that your hosting costs align closely with the actual resources you need, helping you avoid the common issue of resource underutilisation associated with on-premises hosting.
Additionally, cloud hosting eliminates ancillary considerations and costs that are part of traditional hosting, such as equipment powering and cooling, hardware maintenance, and lifecycle management. Regardless of the cloud pricing model you choose the price you pay covers these cost considerations, as you aren’t responsible for managing or maintaining the hardware on which your IT functions are hosted. The result: predictable IT running costs and the assurance that you’re benefiting from dependable, expertly maintained infrastructure.
Microsoft 365: A Leading Modern Workplace Solution
Used by over 1 million organisations worldwide, Microsoft 365 is the world’s leading workplace productivity suite.
The launch of ‘Office 365’ in 2011 (what would become Microsoft 365) marked a step change in the way Microsoft products would be delivered, with cloud-hosting underpinning the experience. Microsoft 365 has evolved significantly from those early days, and now offers a range of complementary platforms and services to provide unparalleled depth and capabilities.
In its latest iteration, the familiar ‘office’ apps (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) remain, but they now feature alongside a vast range of collaboration tools, automation platforms and workflow management features to offer a truly all-encompassing workplace software package. The following platforms act as cornerstones of the Microsoft 365 experience:
Offering chat, video conferencing, document sharing and co-authoring, shared calendars and a vast range of powerful integrations, Microsoft Teams is a truly all-in-one business communication tool.
Create highly customisable ‘sites’ that combine the data, documents and insights you need for effective group projects. SharePoint adds structure to collaboration, and provides a single-source-of-truth for projects, teams and business departments.
Microsoft 365’s feature-rich email service, Outlook, has over 400 million users globally, and it’s not hard to understand why. Outlook is far more than your basic email service, with its workflow management integrations, intuitive shared calendars and the ability to leverage automation for slicker, more productive email management.
With numerous subscription packages suited to a range of budgets, Microsoft 365 offers a compelling range of platforms at prices small businesses can afford. Plus, thanks to automated features, hundreds of third-party integrations and remote-ready cloud-hosting, Microsoft 365 represents an accessible way to level-up business productivity and embrace flexible working practices.
Additional Microsoft 365 Features
Packed with more capabilities, Microsoft 365 offers automation and business analytics capabilities through its Power Automate and Power BI tools. That’s not all, it also offers a wide range of third-party integrations with other applications, including accounting software like Xero and Quickbooks, CRM software like Hubspot, and project management tools such as Asana. Microsoft 365 is not just an umbrella for Microsoft applications, it’s can also serve as a core operating centre that connects to a range of business applications!
Cloud-Hosted VoIP Phone Systems
We’ve talked at length about the many benefits of the cloud, from the ability to access resources remotely and scale solutions to meet changing demands, to the ability to leverage leading-edge solutions that provide impactful productivity benefits.
Cloud-hosted VoIP allow you to extend these benefits to a vital communication channel that virtually no business can operate without: telephony. Offering an infrastructure-lite phone system that can be accessed from almost any internet-connected smart device, hosted VoIP gives you access to feature-rich business telephony without the baggage and limitations that come with traditional ISDN systems. Here’s a brief summary of the value hosted VoIP can provide:
Lower Call Costs
Call costs are typically far lower with VoIP compared to traditional telephony, particularly to overseas numbers. Hosted VoIP providers offer a range of competitive and affordable pricing models, including pay-per-seat pricing, flat-rate pricing and call bundles.
Many Hosted VoIP systems offer the ability to integrate email, instant messaging and data services into the phone system interface: a practice known as ‘unified communications.’ This streamlines business communication, and improves productivity by avoiding the need to navigate between multiple, segregated communication channels and applications.
Hosted VoIP systems often come packed with a range of call-handling features as standard, such as auto-attendants, call-queueing, interactive voice response (IVR) and call recording. Such features can provide a better inbound call experience and aid in efficient call management.
Futureproof Phone Systems
ISDN telephony products are set to be discontinued in the near future, as the UK prepares to retire its copper-based telephony infrastructure by the end of 2025. Switching to VoIP phone solution futureproofs your business communications and ensures you’re prepared for the ISDN switch off, which is already underway in parts of Yorkshire.
With the ability to add new users at the click of a button and providing mobility that’s simply impossible to achieve with a traditional phone system, hosted VoIP combines exceptional value and a range of empowering features, in a phone system that’s future-ready.
Managed Cyber Security Services
With the average cost of a cyber breach incident standing at around £15,300 per victim, cybercrime can pose an existential threat to SMEs. With damage ranging from immediate loss of earnings and IT downtime to penalties for non-compliance and long-term reputational harm, cyber security is a vital risk management practice that no business can afford to neglect.
For smaller businesses, establishing and managing comprehensive cyber security measures internally can be a significant drain on resources, both in terms of time and money. By seeking the support of a managed cyber security provider however, you gain access to a broad set of security expertise and state-of-the-art security solutions for a manageable, fixed monthly fee. From managed firewalls and endpoint antivirus to remote network monitoring and security update management, a managed cyber security provider can deploy and manage the controls necessary to keep your environment secure and functioning optimally. You’ll benefit from reduced downtime, a reduced cyber risk profile that keeps your customer data secure, and gain more time to focus on running your business and delivering a first-class service.
Armco IT: IT Support and Managed Services for Businesses Across York, North and East Yorkshire
There’s nothing we love more than seeing Yorkshire businesses flourish by harnessing the power of IT. Our team of dedicated engineers stands ready to help you overcome any technical challenge and deliver tailored solutions that help your business meet its goals and growth ambitions. From our base in Malton, we deliver proactive IT support and services across York, North and East Yorkshire. We have a strong track record in delivering impactful IT to clients across a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, design and insurance, among many others. We focus on maintaining, optimising and securing your digital estate, so you can focus on the growth and success of your business. Contact our team and let us start our journey together today.