Digital transformation presents many opportunities to drive business goals, but innovations like AI and cloud computing come with unique challenges. Faced with adopting a variety of costly technologies, small and medium-sized businesses are placing new demands on managed service providers (MSPs) for leadership in the areas of compliance, continuity and communication.
“When taking advantage of the modern cloud, it’s important to have a provider that’s up to speed on these issues and understands how properly deploying today’s technology can prevent them,” says Ryley Bauer, Technical Business Analyst for SysGen Solutions Group, a provider of fully managed IT services, cloud computing, cybersecurity and technology strategy for businesses based in Alberta and British Columbia. “Customers have many options, so MSPs need to distinguish themselves by providing something special. A priority for SysGen is creating peace of mind.”
With compliance jockeying for top position among the worries that keep business owners awake at night, SysGen offers strategic IT as a sleep inducer. Services include constant monitoring for operational efficiency, health checks to ensure continuous uptime, baseline security scanning to detect holes, asset-based control, and identification of unauthorized software.
“At SysGen we know what compliance looks like in the Canadian landscape and we take it very seriously,” says Bauer. “With Microsoft 365, we offer our customers affordable, enterprise-grade storage in Canadian data centres, where Canadian laws, rules and regulations apply.”
According to Bauer, Microsoft 365 is one of the better solutions for Canadian businesses, in part because Microsoft has three data centres in Canada. “Where you store your data is a critical factor in compliance these days, and in sectors such as real estate, storage in specified Canadian locations is a requirement,” he explains. “We tend to think of Microsoft 365 as Office 365, but it also brings valuable risk reductions, like the ability to lock down email and file access from specific countries, and to prevent printing, download, file copy, and even screenshotting.”
SysGen is also positioned to help businesses comply with data security and privacy regulations in countries other than Canada. The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), for example, now applies to all companies that handle the personal data of EU citizens – regardless of where these companies are located.
“There’s a high cost for businesses that fail to abide by these rules,” explains Bauer. “Under Canada’s anti-spam legislation, CASL, for example, there are stiff fines if businesses communicate with subscribers after having no contact for two years or more. It’s more important than ever to manage your mailing lists.”
Protecting an organization’s reputation is one rationale for attending to compliance. Saving money is another, as demonstrated in a recent Ponemon Institute report that estimates the cost of non-compliance at 2.71 times more than the cost of compliance.
Attention to continuity is another way for business owners to rest easy, and as with compliance, small and medium-sized businesses are well served by an MSP.
“Just make sure the MSP understands your business and tolerance to risk,” advises Bauer. “If an hour of downtime is all you can handle, your MSP needs to make sure that’s the extent of an outage. If two or three days of downtime are tolerable, you can balance the level of risk against the cost of ensuring uptime.”
SysGen leverages the expertise of Microsoft by entrusting sensitive data to Microsoft’s secure platform. Copies of data reside in five different places, including three Canadian storage facilities with Microsoft and two with another cloud backup provider. If something happens in Calgary, or Alberta, or even in Western Canada, businesses that work with SysGen will still have access to data stored in another region, through multiple systems.
SysGen also offers customers a private cloud option with a local data center. SysGen’s Atmosphere ensures customer data is governed by Canadian laws, rules and regulations. Furthermore, all Atmosphere data is backed up by Datto devices, which guarantee business continuity and fast data recovery in the event of a disaster.
Because data is the currency for digital businesses, SysGen was especially proud to qualify for Blue Status, a distinction awarded to only the top 5% of backup providers and partners worldwide by Datto.
Demonstrating a comprehensive approach to communication is a third way that SysGen helps small and medium-sized businesses share in the benefits of digital transformation. A guaranteed response time of 30 minutes or less and 24/7 real-time alerts maintain a productive IT infrastructure and identify issues even before they occur. Quarterly Business Reviews (QBRs), meetings that occur every four months, recap what’s gone on technology-wise, outline next steps, and review service.
As another example of leading communication initiatives, with SysGen there’s always someone to talk to about technical concerns, whether it’s a company’s primary IT specialist, secondary IT specialist, or entire IT team. Problems are resolved, on average, in under four hours because the people who deal with a business are the people who know it and can step into the fray without skipping a beat.
SysGen also works with clients to enhance communication and, therefore productivity through end-to-end deployment of communication platforms like Microsoft Teams. Not only does it make teamwork easier through chat and videoconferencing, but the integration of hundreds of productivity applications, as well as the full Office 365 office suite makes your work better and faster. However, organizations often don’t utilize new applications to the full extent. SysGen’s Aspire division ensures full adoption occurs at client organizations through assessments as well as the implementation of change management initiatives and training tools.