The Capex Cycle
Many of our friends in business can relate to the seemingly never-ending capex cycle of server replacement and wonder if they are truly getting value out of their investments.
For me there have always been two main reasons why our customers needed t o purchase server, the primary driver was always to support a line of business application or software package that their business required. I.e. the software your business required needs a server to run. The second was always the harder sell and that was network security and the ability to manage user identify (usernames, passwords and what they could access in the IT environment). One could also suggest a server also provided somewhere where the business could store their documents as well.
The rise of Software- as-a-Service (SaaS)
As many of us area aware there has been much innovation in software development, be it software traditionally housed in on premise server that has been re designed to work in the cloud ( i.e. MYOB and Reckon accounting products) or industry disruptors such as Xero that have designed a new product from scratch.
What we are now witnessing is business owners understanding the power and flexibility of cloud-based line of business applications. They can easily work anywhere without the need of a Remote Desktop solution or VPN, they can work non-traditional hours and often these software disruptors offer a superior product. The net effect of this is a wondering about the future value of their on-premise server.
If I put my IT geek hat for a minute the caveat to not having a server was always an issue about how we then manage user access. How do we globally authorise permission to users, how do make sure they can log on to a PC securely? How de we apply corporate policies to PC’s?
Securing Server less environments
To overcome these problems IT providers have been able to utilise further SaaS solutions from Microsoft to authenticate users and secure their company assets. The newly renamed Microsoft 365 and (Microsoft) Azure provide a suite of products that allow us to create a secure and manageable IT environment without the need for the on-premise server-based solutions.
Users can log on to machines with the Microsoft365 credentials and these can be centrally managed and using Microsoft In tune and other Azure features we can define a set of security policies for the computer. In terms of general storage of documents users can now access these using SharePoint online, One Drive and collaborate on Microsoft Teams all accessible via any internet connected device.
To further protect these environments, we can plug in another third party SaaS applications that will back up all your Microsoft 365 emails and documents.
What we are then able to achieve is lean, flexible, scalable IT environment based purely on SaaS solutions that work across many device types, all without the need for on premise servers. SaaS solutions are typically based on a monthly subscription models so business owners can move the solution from a capital outlay to an operation one.
It should be noted this doesn’t relate to every business or every IT environment but in my experience micro and SMB business that can easily adapt to change are particularly suited. Larger organisations or business that still require dedicated server compute may still wish to have on premise servers or consider a hosted Infrastructure-as-a-Service model.
RevolveIT provide a range of cloud based options for this clients using the Microsoft 365 stack (but can also manage your on premise solutions) if you’d like to know if your environment is suitable please fee free to give us a call.