The applications and data that make a company run do not exist in isolation. They require robust and dependable infrastructure. They require racks and servers that offer maximum uptime. Those racks and servers need effective cooling solutions and network connections for transferring data. In simple terms, data and applications would be useless without infrastructure. All of that infrastructure has to be managed. IT infrastructure management is a complex set of functions that goes way beyond installing software and running a few updates. Rather, it covers all aspects of deploying and maintaining the total package of hardware and software needed to keep a computing environment operational. The larger the environment, the more infrastructure necessary. And yet, even small companies rely on effective infrastructure management to keep things running smoothly. Outsourcing infrastructure management is the way to go. Here are the benefits of doing so: 1. Maximum Uptime Companies cannot afford even a minute of downtime in the highly competitive world in which we live. Maintaining constant uptime is about maintaining infrastructure to the highest possible standards. That is something your typical company IT department may not be trained to do. Outsourcing gives companies access to IT specialists whose only task is infrastructure management. Specialization equals maximum uptime. That's the best way to put it. Highly trained IT professionals who do nothing but manage infrastructure are most qualified to keep a computing environment up and running at all times. 2. Access to Technology Outsourcing infrastructure management equals access to technology when it occurs through a data centre or colocation provider. By their nature, data centre and colocation providers must keep up with the latest technologies to guarantee their customers remain competitive. As such, outsourcing infrastructure management to such a provider gives companies access to the latest technologies as well. 3. Access to Knowledge The latest technologies offer maximum benefits when coupled with the right knowledge. For instance, installing the latest and greatest servers represents a great opportunity as long as a company's IT staff knows how to work with them. If they don't, that company may be putting a lot of money into hardware it never uses to full advantage. Outsourcing infrastructure management gives companies access to a wider body of knowledge. It gives them access to people who know more about the various aspects of IT infrastructure than their own in-house IT teams. And where there is knowledge, there is power. 4. Improved IT Efficiency Company IT teams have a core set of responsibilities. They cannot efficiently address those responsibilities if they are constantly running troubleshooting operations on infrastructure. Outsourcing infrastructure management gives them back their time. This is a more efficient way to do things. When you stop and think about it, that's really what outsourcing is all about. Outsourcing assigns tasks to those specialised individuals who can do it more efficiently and effectively. Whether it is payroll or infrastructure management, it works the same. Outsourcing makes a company's IT team more efficient in their core competencies. 5. Reduced Labour Costs Maintaining infrastructure management in-house requires having a competent and sizeable IT staff. But remember, infrastructure management is highly specialised. Hiring the people to handle it is costly. On the other hand, outsourcing can be considerably less expensive. Outsourcing reduces labour costs by eliminating the need to hire infrastructure management specialists. Companies don't have those additional salaries to pay. They don't have additional benefits to cover. In the long run, outsourcing can even save money by eliminating the turnover problem. Further savings are realised when the need for infrastructure management is only temporary. Companies can enter short-term agreements with service providers, then re-evaluate those agreements on a regular basis. When service is no longer required, contracts don't have to be renewed. Note that IT infrastructure management isn't a single discipline. It can be broken down into various categories depending on need. Categories include: Systems– The administrative assets common to most data centres. They cover security, event management, intrusions, etc. Networks– The management of all things network related. Both hardware and software are involved here. Data Storage– The management of all things related to storing a company's data. Again, both hardware and software are part of data management. Remaining competitive online requires a robust infrastructure capable of serving data and applications on demand – 24 hours per day, every day of the year. It is not something to take lightly or leave to chance. Companies whose in-house IT teams are struggling to manage both infrastructure and core responsibilities should consider outsourcing. Outsourcing infrastructure management improves efficiency, reduces costs, and gives companies access to the latest in technologies and knowledge. With so much at stake, it doesn't make a lot of sense to not outsource.