Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Top Tips for IT Outsourcing

As data volumes expand, IT managers face a real-life digital Blob, one that's every bit as threatening as the one that faced Steve McQueen in 1958. In response, many professionals are reaching out -- literally -- for help. In the process, they're meeting a learning curve that's not always comfortable or predictable.

When it comes to data management, outsourcing of any kind -- hosting, collocation, or managed services -- has tradeoffs. Security is one: Some organizations don't trust their data to outsiders, especially on the Web. But pressure to cope leaves little choice: For many IT pros, the alternative to outsourcing is implosion.

In light of all this, it's wise to have a game plan. After consulting a range of industry sources, including analysts, users, and suppliers, we came up with the following list of tips for evaluating outsourcing options:

Decide what kind of outsourcing you need
Outsourcing options are legion: Applications can be hosted, using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach. Machinery can be collocated, allowing users to manage data themselves in rented facilities. Alternatively, multiple data center functions can be completely handed off to outside firms on a contract basis in a managed services model. There are also various combinations of these approaches.

Picking an option is often a matter of scale. If one or two applications are involved, such as email, hosting may be the way to go. Collocation may save the cost of a new external building to house IT infrastructure, but it will usually have to be staffed -- not a good idea for Web 2.0 service companies that will need to scale fast across geographies. To move out whole portions of IT, managed services may be best.

  • 1