• United States
Managing Editor, Network World Fusion

VPN outsourcing

Feb 06, 20032 mins
Data CenterIT LeadershipNetwork Security

* Managed services can help avoid a strain on your IT department

It’s the same at every affected organization: fewer employees, but more work. For managers, prioritizing is more important now than ever. With the to-do growing longer and the staff list shorter, you need to ensure the most important work is completed first.

For many IT managers, security is the top priority today. It’s understandable, given that networks are more mission-critical than ever, and taking down a network means taking down the company it supports. This week’s Management Strategies story examines how many enterprises are covering their security bases through outsourcing. In today’s climate, you need an excellent reason to spend your company’s money, and in some cases, paying for a managed service such as VPN maintenance is good enough.

Initially, most net execs try to keep VPN maintenance in-house, but many are finding the job too time-consuming for their small staffs. According to a recent study from market researcher IDC, 75% of 400 WAN managers surveyed say they manage VPNs in-house. Still, 12% of respondents completely outsource their VPNs, while 11% jointly manage their VPN along with a third-party.

But before you turn critical aspects of your operation over to a third party, you need to do a lot of homework. A recent Network World editorial (link below) offered some points to ponder:

* Determine what you need to outsource. Once you figure out everything that needs to be done and factor the cost, you may find you wouldn’t actually save money over handling it in-house.

* Assess your environment. Does it change all the time? Outsourcing tends to work best in static situations.

* Third-party staffing. Obviously, you’ll need a detailed breakdown of your potential outsourcer’s staffing situation. Can they actually handle middle-of-the-night problems or are the people on call a glorified answering service?

Check out this week’s Management Strategies in its entirety to see how outsourcing has worked for one company: The editorial links below will also give you a head start on gathering the information you need to make the right decision.