Upping sticks - the benefits of a cloud Managed Service for housing associations

By Callum MacKay - September 08, 2020

Many organisations are choosing to outsource IT services as part of their transformation agenda – to make use of the skills of an established Managed Service provider to take care of the day to day management and maintenance of their services to achieve efficiencies and cost-savings.

The challenge of operating on controlled budgets means there is limited time and resources to expand internal knowledge on the latest technology updates or build and implement initiatives which may increase productivity, improve security and reduce manual repetitive tasks occupying your staff.

Microsoft 365 brings together Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility and Security (EM+S), which deliver an efficient operating system, seamlessly integrated with workplace productivity applications and mission-critical enterprise-grade security tools.

For housing associations, there are many benefits to adopting a cloud first approach through Microsoft 365 and engaging with a Managed Service provider like Core.

  • Efficiency – Alongside a guaranteed 99.9% up-time and availability of services, your organisation will benefit from increased efficiency, providing staff with the right tools across all devices to get their job done. Even in the age of Covid-19, cloud services allow housing associations to provide the same level of customer service, communication and availability to tenants as before, and staff are empowered to be productive from wherever they're working.
  • Time management – A reduction in support issues can free up the IT department to focus on the expansion of current services and new service offerings, generating new revenue streams rather than simply firefighting or and spending large amounts of time fixing recurring IT issues.
  • Sustainability – A managed service centred around the Microsoft cloud leaves you with an environment you can elect to own, run and manage in the future, making you less dependent on third-party suppliers.
  • Flexibility – Cloud services are cost-effective thanks to the ‘pay for what you use' model. Services are scalable and elastic, flexing with the size of a team, mergers or acquisitions, or peaks and dips in demand and custom. For public sector organisations requiring responsiveness and working within budget restrictions, the flexibility of cloud services is a huge advantage.
  • Collaboration – At a time when teams are no longer working together in person, enabling collaboration to continue is vital. Increase collaboration across your organisation from any location by introducing tools that enable new ways of working and remote collaboration like Microsoft Teams. Cloud file storage and sharing makes data easier to share and work on together, tracking changes and establishing a single source of truth.
  • Remote working – 2020 has been a year of remote working for many of us. However, while housing associations have not been immune from this, vital services have had to be delivered to tenants and properties. Office 365 enables staff to work remotely across devices, storing and accessing data and files in a centralised and secure place. This has limited disruption for workers at home and across working locations, which in turn provides more robust, reliable and satisfactory services for clients.
  • Search of unstructured data - Housing associations store large volumes of data which can be difficult to navigate, especially when still the data is spread across legacy platforms and systems. Features in Office 365 and EM&S support e-discovery, auditing and FOI (Freedom of Information) requests, while secure personal and organisation cloud storage in SharePoint and OneDrive enables improved file structures, versioning, visibility, security and document sharing.
  • Security – Housing associations store, access and share sensitive personal data to provide their services. It is therefore vital that their systems meet the highest security and compliance standards, while also ensuring a proportionate user experience for staff who require access. Microsoft 365 provides a range of data security tools such as Multi-Factor Authentication, Conditional Access, Intune, Information Security and Microsoft Cloud App Security, which all work together to guarantee the security of your users and data, across devices and locations.
  • Peace of mind – With a managed service, Core can deliver reactive 1st through 4th line support, helping you to enjoy a stable service with the peace of mind of service level agreement (SLA) backed support.
  • Microsoft Investment – The Microsoft Cloud is protected by state of the art physical and IT security that benefits from Microsoft’s unmatched investment. Experts are working 24/7 to keep your data safe with the latest technologies at their disposal. Backup and disaster recovery solutions including servers in different regions and locations gives you additional peace of mind should the worst happen.

With organisations continuing to move their services and systems to the cloud, a managed service provider like Core can configure, implement and support a desktop and cloud strategy, helping you to maintain a secure, accessible and user-friendly service that stays current and compliant.

By engaging with Core, specialist knowledge and support is always available, with a dedicated team ensuring a standardised, stable, secure and future-proof service. This means your internal teams can focus on other business-critical tasks, innovation, refining business processes and enforcing internal policies.

If you are not already leveraging Cloud services, Core can work with you to migrate your data and workloads to Office 365 and Azure in the most efficient, cost-effective and risk-free way. We can then build an effective and proportionate managed service offering, to ensure your Office 365 tenant, identities and data are secure.

Core’s Enterprise ready Windows 10 build is Microsoft, CIS and NCSC compliant and keeps pace with Microsoft updates to ensure a secure and compliant build. By utilising Autopilot to deploy devices, Core never need to touch the device, shipping them directly to the user and cutting out unnecessary shipping and manual build costs. Users can then log in to a central portal and pull the Windows 10 build and policies on to the device themselves in as little as half an hour, with support provided by Core’s service desk when needed.

Core can provide a range of laptop, tablet and mobile devices enabled with Windows 10 and Office 365 for your users, improving efficiency and productivity by enabling access to information on the move. We can also utilise existing devices depending on their specifications, while our Windows 10 build enables unified endpoint security and protection through Microsoft Defender ATP.

Core can also build and support the Enterprise Mobility and Security (EM+S) elements of Microsoft 365. This includes Intune and System Centre Configuration Manager (SCCM) for Mobile Device Management and Mobile Application Management, Azure Identity Protection, Azure Information Protection, conditional access and Microsoft Cloud Application Security.

Next steps

For housing associations that are keen to make use of cloud services but aren't sure where to start, our Cloud Readiness Solution is ideal.

This is a one-time assessment which establishes the current cloud maturity baseline in your organisation and identifies the scope of potential changes to your current IT landscape required to move to the cloud.

We provide a detailed report that forms the basis of your cloud migration and advise you on cloud adoption strategies, and how to optimise the business benefits of the cloud. The service includes a current and future cloud maturity level and priority capability needs report, potential scope of applications and tech ready for cloud migration and potential roadmap for your cloud migration.

Book your assessment now or contact us for more information.

 

BOOK YOUR CLOUD READINESS SOLUTION 

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