Cloud services can be in-house or private, or they can be purchased from a cloud services provider. Providers have a wide range of specialties. Some offer only remote storage. Others specialize in high performance computing. Still others offer alternatives to in-house telephone switching systems and even network security. What they all have in common is that their services run over IP networks. Hence, IP services or managed IP services.
The idea of managed services involves letting the carrier or services provider take over the job of making sure that everything is running correctly. Traditionally, that’s the job of the on-site IT staff who monitor what’s going on at all times and swing into action to make repairs whenever a fault occurs. Not every company can afford a 24/7 staff or even a full-time IT employee. Others may have a small staff that has gradually become overwhelmed as more and more applications have been turned up on the network. Managed services offer a way to offload some of this responsibility.
One basic managed service is the network WAN connection to the Internet. This could also be a private line between facilities or connections to an MPLS network to link multiple geographically diverse business locations. You often have the option of simply ordering a line service and then monitoring it yourself to ensure proper operation. The alternative is to have the carrier provide a router that allows them to monitor the line right up to the connection with your LAN. This is called a managed router or managed line service. Often you can get this management feature at no extra cost by shopping around.
The beauty of a managed router is that the carrier’s network operations staff is far larger than yours, available 24/7/365, and has the expertise in their own systems to rapidly troubleshoot and correct problems. It’s not uncommon to have a line failure in the middle of the night and have it back up and running before business hours commence. You may not even be aware than a fault occurred.
A step up from the managed line service is colocation of your servers and the bandwidth that feeds them to a carrier hotel or colocation center. You can elect to manage everything yourself or let the colo center staff handle server maintenance and repair, including any network connections.
Recently, Managed IP Telephony has become popular as an alternative to in-house PBX systems. Instead of a dedicated piece of switching equipment that you have to program and maintain, the telephony switch resides at the service provider. You connect by means of a network connection called a SIP Trunk. This assumes that you have converted to IP telephony or SIP phones and have converged your LAN for both voice and data.
SIP Trunking providers often go the extra step of providing both broadband Internet and telephone service on the same SIP trunk. This is a perfect interface to a converged local network that already transports both voice and data packets. Because the services and trunk line are fully managed, you are ensured that voice quality won’t suffer due to conflicts with data packets on the same line.
Would you like to ease the burden on your IT staff or avoid the capital expense of in-house facilities that may be more affordable in the cloud? If so, investigate Managed IP Services to see what’s available and compare costs.