Information technology has always been a challenge in accounting firms and is often an afterthought instead of the strategic capability needed to support a modern practice. Instead of running their own internal IT team with on-premises hardware and software, many firms are contracting with managed service providers to recommend, manage, and install on premises hardware, and some are moving to full hosting companies where the host provides full IT capabilities to a firm for a monthly per-user fee.
This panel will discuss factors to evaluate when considering moving to a managed service provider. Panelists will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each strategy and will provide insights from their past experiences. Major topics that will be covered include: a) learning the difference between on-premises, managed services, and hosting; b) discussing some of the benefits and pitfalls associated with each approach; and c) gaining insight into managing the risks associated with each approach.
Upon completing this session, attendees should be able to perform the following tasks:
1) Define key terms such as managed services, hosting, service level agreement (SLA), hybrid cloud, remote management, and virtual desktop infrastructure
2) Identify some of the key risks associated with four different IT approaches – on-premises, managed services, hybrid, and hosted
3) Explain at least three important factors to consider when evaluating a new IT strategy, such as SLA, guaranteed response time, contract cancellation penalties, security risks, and exit strategies