By Jon Mims, Director of Managed Services, Cbeyond
Managed Service Providers (MSPs) that serve multi-location businesses know that their customers thrive when their satellite offices generate a large share of the company’s revenue and the home office drives efficiency and cost control through well managed, centralized operations — including IT.
As most MSPs can attest, the typical multi-location technology environment is a hub and spoke configuration, in which the central office houses the core IT platform, including line of business applications, IT management, and business continuity applications; while the outlying satellite offices have function-specific technologies and local office productivity tools. As such, the remote offices rely heavily on access to central office systems to conduct work and generate revenue, and the home office relies on consistent and accurate data flow from the remote offices to monitor business performance.
This interdependency presents an excellent opportunity for the MSP to provide a broad portfolio of core and value-added services. It also carries a level of risk because the MSP typically does not own the telecommunications network that supports the customer locations. Network speed, availability, and capacity become a core focus for the provider, because the hub is weakened if it loses a spoke.
To ensure that the networks they are prescribing for their multi-location customers provide the highest level of security, stability, and availability, many MSPs utilize a high-speed network technology called Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), which speeds up network traffic flow and makes it easier to manage the network for quality of service (QoS) performance for its users.
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