Any idea who's in your system? I'm not sure how many people really think about this and if so, usually not until it's too late. The reason I ask this is one of the hot topics floating around in our industry these days is outsourcing. And by this I don't mean outsourcing your IT services. I mean IT service providers who outsource some of the services they're selling to their clients to 3rd parties. There's a whole growing industry of companies providing white-labeled services to IT service providers who then resell them to their clients.
One of our strengths historically has been our size. Because we're bigger than many of our competitors, there are a lot of pluses that come from this - redundancy of staff, knowledge sharing, wider swath of capabilities and experience, etc. One of the things that I didn't really consider till late was that in addition to all of these things, one plus that's actually a pretty big one is that we DON'T outsource anything we do when it comes to managing our clients' networks. Everything we do from end-user helpdesk support to the NOC services we provide is performed by our very own talented staff. This is a key factor for our clients in the financial services industry. We're the only ones logging in to their systems and accessing their information. As it turns out, this is a HUGE differentiator for us. I don't know how many competitors I've spoken with recently who outsource monitoring, alert response, patching, troubleshooting, or helpdesk support services. I've met some who even outsource ALL of these services. Some of these companies are here in the US while a majority are offshore. This certainly makes sense from a cost basis (of the service provider), but how does this really help the client? The savings really isn't passed on to the client. It's about operational efficiencies of the service provider. And what about security and compliance issues? I'm not sure any of these are really being considered.
One of our strengths too has always been assuming responsibility for our client's networks. And there's no way you can reasonably ensure that you can be responsible for something if someone else is touching it (regardless of the security concerns). Now don't get me wrong - I'm sure there's a place for these sorts of setups out there in the world (although from a client perspective, I'm still having a hard time really seeing it). That said, I'm hard pressed to see a majority of our clients being ok with this. This is why they hired us: to take care of them - NOT to offload our responsibility to someone else. Rather than looking at this as a burden, we see this as an advantage and an opportunity. Core Value #1 - "Take Care of the Client".
So, do you have any idea who's in your system? Our clients know.