The terms ‘managed IT support’ and ‘professional services’ are not new. But with IT requirements growing in complexity, so many organisations still don’t know the difference, or understand what either scope of work entails. To help you make informed decisions to efficiently manage your IT resources, let’s demystify these frequently misunderstood terms, together…

Once upon a time, internal IT departments were almost solely responsible for maintaining hardware and software systems within a business. That meant configuring and updating applications, troubleshooting devices, supporting wider teams with technical difficulties, protecting local files, and so on. In other words, minimising downtime and keeping performance in check.

But a lot has changed over the years. Security concerns are growing at pace, workforces are becoming geographically disparate, and tech estates are more complex than ever. More recently, budgets have come into sharper focus too. Today’s IT professional therefore occupies a much more expansive role. As such, organisations are increasingly leaning on external expertise to help ease the load (and the headache!) — from managing routine helpdesk support tickets to implementing robust security measures, facilitating tech stack relocations, offering end-to-end consultancy services, and more.

The challenge is, how do firms know which kind of support they really need? Of course, jargon doesn't make the decision any easier. Managed IT support and professional services are two of the most talked about topics in the IT space right now. They're also two of the most frequently confused. So, what’s the real difference? And which one could help take your business to new heights? 

What is managed IT support?

With this service model, companies partner with specialised providers to oversee and maintain their IT infrastructure. This may include remote monitoring and maintenance of the IT estate, incident response support and disaster recovery, technical assistance and troubleshooting, to name just some examples.

As well as helping to reduce costs, offloading technical duties in this way can help free internal resources for more revenue-generating tasks. In turn, this could have a crucial impact on customer service quality, employee productivity, stakeholder relationships, and more. Plus, the holistic approach helps streamline operations and maximise efficiency too. 

There’s also much to be said about the level of expertise and experience available with a specialised managed service provider (MSP). Working day in, day out with varied threats is a holy grail for managing cybersecurity threats, and exposure to a variety of challenges means they’ve probably ‘been there, done that’ many a time. Therefore, downtime should always be minimum.

What are professional services?

This refers to a category of specialised, knowledge-based services provided by experts in various fields — including consulting and project management, data and analytics, disaster recovery and business continuity, cloud services, compliance and regulatory assistance, software development, and so much more.

Unlike managed IT support, it typically involves a more granular, in-depth analysis of a firms’ needs. Once a provider has a true grasp on the requirements, they’ll then formulate and implement a strategic roadmap to help navigate a specific challenge or capitalise on a unique opportunity. Think of a healthcare provider that wants to modernise its IT systems to improve security and meet regulatory requirements, for example.

Generally speaking, professional services are usually more project based, whereas MSPs can feel like more of an extension of your internal teams.

How do you know which option is right for your business?

Both services can deliver significant value to your business, but it’s important to consider which might fit the needs of your organisation best. While an MSP will oversee day-to-day operations and manage their own scope of work under a service level agreement (SLA), a professional services provider tends to undertake a specific project, to a set deadline, and empower your internal team to carry it forward. They won’t generally be involved in upkeep or management thereafter.

Of course, the choice between managed IT support and professional services doesn’t need to be an either-or decision. They can work in tandem to meet your business’ needs effectively. The key lies in assessing your current IT capabilities and resources and identifying specific challenges and opportunities. Recognising when to leverage professional services for specialised projects or improvements can pave the way for a seamless transition into managed IT services when necessary.

How do you choose the right technology partner?

Choosing the right managed IT support or professional services provider hinges on many factors. But here at Central, we’re big believers in true tech-agnosticism. Solutions should always be tailored to your firms’ specific needs, rather than selected for tech brand loyalty. Don’t be sold any old piece of kit, if it’s not going to add real value to your business.

A human-centric approach is equally important. Your chosen partner should craft personalised solutions that make you feel like your goals and objectives have been heard. To make an informed choice, evaluate their expertise, case studies and client testimonials, service level agreements (SLAs), and willingness to foster ongoing collaboration. This ensures alignment with your organisation's goals and adaptability to evolving technology needs.

Whether you’re seeking managed IT support of professional services, you’ll always be more than a ticket to us here at Central. As a family-owned business, we have the resources and flexibility to keep it personal too. 

Keen to see how we can take your IT strategy to new heights? Get in touch, and let’s get that no-obligations chat booked in.

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, SMEs are confronted with a critical decision: should they entrust their data to the public cloud or navigate their course towards the private realm? It's a choice that could make or break any organisations' digital journey. But with cloud environments growing in complexity, it’s a decision that demands careful consideration, as well as a keen understanding of both present and future business needs.

What you need to know about public cloud

Public cloud services are like the bustling markets of the digital world. They offer a plethora of resources and services on a pay-as-you-go basis. Need more storage? No problem. Want to scale up your computing power? Done. Public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) have become household names for a reason.

The benefits:

The drawbacks (and how to remedy them):

Implementing robust encryption, strict access controls, and thorough auditing mechanisms are some of the key ways to overcome this challenge.

Remedies such as edge computing and multi-cloud setups minimise latency by locating servers strategically and distributing workloads across nearby data centres. Upgrading network paths and devices is also vital for efficient data migration or backup operations.

What you need to know about private cloud

Built and managed solely for your organisation, private cloud architectures provide a dedicated and secure infrastructure that caters specifically to your business’ needs.

The benefits:

The drawbacks (and how to remedy them):

To remedy the challenges of cost associated with building and maintaining a private cloud, organisations can consider implementing a phased approach, starting with a hybrid cloud model that integrates existing infrastructure with cloud services, gradually transitioning to a fully private setup. Additionally, outsourcing certain management tasks to specialised cloud service providers  can reduce the need for extensive in-house expertise and upfront capital expenditure.

Addressing the (Im)mobility dilemma of private clouds, companies can establish secure and efficient remote access solutions, such as using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or deploying edge computing nodes strategically in various regions — enabling improved performance and accessibility for international users while maintaining data security and compliance.

So, which cloud  solution steals the march?

In the public versus private cloud face-off, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The choice boils down to your company’s unique needs, priorities, and financials. SMEs with lean budgets and dynamic growth patterns might find solace in the agility and scalability of the public cloud. On the other hand, those who handle sensitive data and prioritise security might lean towards the controlled environment of a private cloud.

Remember, there's no shame in mixing and matching solutions either. The hybrid cloud approach lets you cherry-pick the best of both worlds.

As you embark on your cloud journey, keep in mind that the cloud you choose isn't just about technology – it's about the foundation on which your digital dreams are built. So, make sure you choose a reliable provider like Central to take care of the groundwork. Get in touch, and we’d be happy to walk through your requirements together.

The community we have created here at Central over the last 30 years is the beating heart of our business, and we wouldn’t have been able to provide a valued service that clients can rely on without it. With that in mind, we’ve been keen to spotlight our behind-the-scenes team as much as possible this year — from events attendance and goings-on at HQ, to demonstrated expertise, personal achievements outside of work, and more.

If you caught our first instalment of the series, you’ll know we had a very busy and fulfilling start to the year. And with plenty of events and client-related activity spanning the spring season, it’s been an equally pacey second quarter too! Here are some of the highlights…

Success in business is not just about technology and innovation. Crucially, it’s about building strong, honest relationships to — and the best way to build a fruitful partnership is by taking the time to connect on a personal level. That’s why our team was so pleased to join Jonathan Daniels at First Garden Cities Homes for tea last month.

This client's server cabinet was a tangled mess of cables and old, outdated hardware — difficult to navigate, and troubleshooting was a nightmare. After some much needed decommissioning and re-organisation by Andrew Walker, our technical engineer, the cabinet now looks much sleeker, and operations are far more streamlined too. Excellent work, Andrew!

It was a pleasure to be involved in the annual DTX 360 expo at Manchester Central earlier this month. With an expert speaker line-up delving into all-things IT strategy and innovation, and a host of like-minded professionals to knowledge-share with, it was great to hear about the exciting technologies and methodologies shaking up the industry.

…Plus, this clone trooper knows the ultimate 'force' in a tech event is a well-timed 'firewall' shot!

We had a wheel-y good weekend earlier this month, coming together for our latest team building exercise at our local go-karting haunt. The competition was fierce and the overalls even fiercer, but it was a well deserved win for our technical architect Jordan Gallier in the end, who dominated the leaderboard.

Following closely behind Jordan on the podium was finance and business manager Darren Crompton, with technical engineer Tom Lindley in third. Excellent effort, Central team!

That’s all for Q2! We’ll be back with more of this in September, to share what the Central team gets up to over the coming months. If you’re keen to see more in the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

From smart devices and artificial intelligence, to machine learning, big data, and more, technology is evolving at an astonishing pace – meaning that the investments you put into your IT department today, may not be enough to meet the demands of tomorrow.

So, how can the sector’s professionals be sure what they’re currently working with is truly up to scratch? Jordan Gallier, Central’s technical architect and engineering team lead, explores…

Firms' tech stacks comprise various interconnected components — including hardware, software, networks, and security systems — that work together to support day-to-day operations and enable seamless communication, data management, and overall productivity. Each component plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliability, scalability, and security of the IT infrastructure.

Over time, this complex ecosystem can become susceptible to issues such as outdated technology, security vulnerabilities, and performance bottlenecks. That’s why carefully selecting and regularly maintaining each component is key. Here are just some of the ways IT infrastructure audits play a central role in evaluating the health of your systems:

Six tips for auditing your IT infrastructure

For organisations without a technical specialist to front the process, knowing where to start when analysing the health of your company’s IT infrastructure can be daunting. Using the following recommendations, firms can gain valuable insights, enhance system integrity, and ensure their technology backbone is in optimal shape for daily operations.

1. Perform comprehensive audits

Start by conducting thorough audits of your hardware, software, and network configurations. This process involves reviewing equipment, licences, warranties, and documentation to identify any gaps or areas needing improvement.

2. Evaluate system performance

Utilise monitoring tools to assess the performance of your servers, network, and applications. Analyse metrics such as response times, bandwidth utilisation, and resource usage to identify bottlenecks and optimise performance.

3. Review security measures

Regularly assess your security protocols — including firewalls, antivirus software, and intrusion detection systems. Stay up-to-date with the latest security patches and ensure that your data backup and disaster recovery plans are robust and tested regularly.

4. Keep software up-to-date

Outdated software can pose security risks and hinder productivity. Regularly review your software stack — including operating systems, applications, and firmware — and ensure that you have a strategy in place for timely updates and patches.

5. Consider the cloud

Cloud computing offers scalability, flexibility, and enhanced security for many organisations. Assess whether migrating some or all of your infrastructure to the cloud can help optimise your operations, reduce costs, and increase resilience. If you’re not sure, get in touch and we’d be happy to walk you through the benefits.

6. Seek professional assistance

Engaging a reliable managed IT services provider like Central can provide expert guidance and support throughout the assessment process. Our 30+ years of technical expertise can help identify areas of improvement and implement best practices tailored to your specific requirements. 

Remember, technology is constantly evolving, so regular evaluations are essential to stay ahead of the curve. At Central , we're here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to discover how our managed IT services can help you keep your IT infrastructure in top shape.

The community we have created here at Central over the last 30 years is the beating heart of our business, and we wouldn’t have been able to provide a valued service that clients can rely on without it. With that in mind, we’ve been keen to spotlight our behind-the-scenes team as much as possible this year — from events attendance and goings-on at HQ, to demonstrated expertise, personal achievements outside of work, and more.

It has certainly been a busy start to the year too! So, let’s see what they’ve been up to, in our first quarterly round-up…

Here, business development executive, Harley Mycock, joins cyber security specialist VIPRE’s partners-only event in Manchester. We’re always striving for continuous improvement in our relationships — and this was an excellent opportunity to develop trust, transparency, and disseminate knowledge with other like-minded professionals.

Did you know, January 31st is National Gorilla Suit Day? Clearly, John Blackburn, our operations director, was the only one who got the memo!

We couldn’t deliver our exemplary levels of service without the expertise of our team, as well as their ceaseless drive to learn and grow. A big shout out to our technical architect, Jordan Gallier, for putting his IPAF training to use recently — as he installed a new switch to help manufacturer Aflex Hose with its digitisation project.

Here’s a look at Central’s refurbished breakout room, fitted with brand new furniture and a games console. The significance of an area for colleagues to relax and socialise is emphasised in studies examining energy levels at work. It’s important for us to have a space for our team to rebuild their energy, in order to increase engagement, boost performance, and maximise productivity. From the looks of it, finance and business manager, Darren Crompton, and sales apprentice, Joe Mulkeen, are happy about the new digs!

Earlier this month, it was great to see our client director, Mike Dunleavy, catch up with our long-time client in social housing, Lee Walsh from Bron Afron. These relationships are sustained in and out of house, through engaging and honest communication and collaboration — which has allowed us to make positive differences to people’s lives over our last three decades of operation.

Congratulations to Darren for his hard work and dedication in receiving an Advanced Driving accreditation from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)! We are endlessly proud of our team’s  ability to achieve success both inside and outside of work. Anyone fancy a spin?

Well, there goes Q1! Don’t forget to check back in June, to see what else the Central team has been up to. In the meantime, why not follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter to catch more of the latest?

Recently in Housing Executive our operations director John Blackburn outlined some of the biggest IT challenges facing the social housing sector and the role that outsourcing could play in resolving them.

When it comes to IT provision, housing associations (HAs) aren’t known for their big budgets, and there is increasing pressure to streamline systems and demonstrate greater return on investment. However, privy to large amounts of sensitive data, they still need access to high-quality, robust tech support.

Achieving budgetary and operational efficiency

Managing a range of complex, integrated systems and portals is no easy task for social housing IT professionals. And with an increasing number of daily help desk tickets being raised — comprising login queries, authentication issues, antivirus questions, and more — everything can rapidly feel like a competing priority.

Enlisting the help of an experienced IT partner — whether for help desk requests and security, or larger technology integration and transition projects — can bring significant financial and operational benefits.

Offering the ability to scale up or down as required, it means housing associations have the support they need, and only pay for what they require at that moment in time – with the guarantee that the resource will be readily available.

It is commonly misconceived that outsourcing IT replaces in-house teams. The reality is the two can, and should, complement and enhance one another. With external assistance, internal teams can afford the time and headspace to focus on the core business applications and tactical future of the HA’s tech stack, without getting engrossed in help desk issues.

Overcoming recruitment challenges

The shortage of high-level talent within IT teams and beyond is a growing concern for social housing organisations across the UK. Not having the right personnel in place can greatly impede growth, stifle efficiencies and productivity, and result in spiralling recruitment fees. And this will remain a reality if a solution is not found.

To help avoid skills shortages within technology departments, outsourced teams could hold the answer – whether temporarily or permanently.

As experienced specialists who are highly skilled in their role, they can be engaged at short notice to bring an immediate solution to an urgent project need. Furthermore, outsourced teams regularly work across a spectrum of clients and industries, which means they can use knowledge and learnings from other projects to help quickly solve persistent issues. 

Ensuring a strong security posture

The dramatic shift to more flexible, hybrid, and digitally focused ways of working means that effective cyber security strategies are essential — enabling full visibility over software and hardware updates, antivirus technology, firewalls, Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), and more. But it also affords more secure access control – ensuring only authorised personnel within the organisation can gain entry to sensitive data.

Specialist outsourced IT support can also work with housing associations to improve the performance of virtual and physical servers, including when they should be backed up and at what frequency — whilst also devising a robust recovery plan. This details the steps to be taken to regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure — following events such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, or business disruptions. For example, in the case of a hacking attempt, what data protection measures will the recovery team have in place to respond?

By having processes and procedures for a disaster recovery plan set up, and regularly testing and optimising security and data protection strategies, social housing providers can successfully navigate such challenges.

Obtaining peace of mind

Against the current backdrop of IT-resource challenges and economic uncertainty, having the flexible, specialist support of outsourced IT can not only alleviate some of the burden but boost efficiency too – providing housing associations with the peace of mind that their IT infrastructure is fit for purpose both in the present and for the future. 

In a digital-dependent world, the social housing sector is under more pressure than ever to streamline IT infrastructure, to ensure technology brings benefits across every department. So, what are the main IT challenges faced by the industry and, with limited financial resources, how can you tackle them head on?

Our operations director, John Blackburn, outlines some key IT hurdles and how working with a trusted technology partner can help you overcome them.

Challenge 1: Reliable IT infrastructure

A strong IT infrastructure is essential for success. Outdated legacy software could mean your IT network is underperforming, be unsuitable for your evolving needs, and have flaws leading to several hidden security risks.

Before upgrading or replacing infrastructure, you first need to gain an accurate picture of what infrastructure you currently have, what works well, and what needs improving – along with being clear on what the end-goal looks like.

Challenge 2: Security threats

Sadly, every organisation is likely to encounter a security threat at some point, whether through natural disaster, or for personal data through phishing, hacking or malware that seeks to disrupt the information technology infrastructure. Therefore, being able to keep networks protected should be a priority for IT teams – no matter where staff are located.

Challenge 3: Backup and disaster recovery

Your data is one of the most valuable assets your organisation has. If that data is lost, it could have devastating effects for your reputation, operations, and bottom line. Therefore, it is essential that you have a reliable disaster recovery plan in place. This details the steps to be taken to regain access and functionality to IT infrastructure after events like a natural disaster, cyber-attack, or business disruption.

By having processes and procedures in place, and regularly testing and optimising security and data protection strategies, social housing providers can successfully navigate this challenge. While this might seem to be a complex or overwhelming task, with the support of trusted experts, implementing an effective backup and disaster recovery strategy will be stress free.

Challenge 4: Cost management in the cloud

Factors such as remote working, cyber security, data handling, and safe storage have led many housing associations to adopt cloud-based platforms over recent years to help them work seamlessly and securely. Cloud subscriptions are a significant expenditure within your IT budget, and if you’re not organised in your approach to using it, you risk losing control of your cloud spend.

As usage increases across different teams and departments, the overheads of using the chosen platform can grow rapidly. In addition, Microsoft recently implemented an extensive shake-up of its software licensing arrangements, with a price increase on some of its most popular subscriptions.

To control costs, housing associations should tap into the expertise of a trusted IT partner who can help you understand the difference between the various cloud management systems and licence options available. They can also help you save money on maintenance, unused services, or unnecessary add-ons, to get the best out of your cloud management platform.

Challenge 5: Having a clear IT strategy

Straightforward implementation of IT systems can pave the way for cost-savings, modernisation, and agile working. It’s vital that all elements work together, and that you have a roadmap for your technical approach, to prepare your business for future challenges and support scaling operations. Having a technology partner who specialises in consultancy services will provide clarity and direction for your strategy.

If you need assistance overcoming any of these IT challenges, get in touch with Central Networks today. We pride ourselves on being a strategic technology partner with a human touch — making IT stress free. You can also find out more about the projects we’ve worked on with other social housing providers, here!

It’s no secret that the tech sector is facing increasing pressure on the employment front – not least because of the national IT skills shortage. 

But with custom learning routes available via apprenticeship programmes, organisations can not only help bridge the gap by enhancing recruitment options, but facilitate the ideation of fresh knowledge and perspectives too. 

Here at Central HQ, we’ve had a scheme dedicated to nurturing tomorrow’s talent since 2009 – set up by our very own client director, Mike Dunleavy.

And because we’re so proud of our apprentices’ willingness to dig deep and develop their expertise, and understand the impact they can have on a team first-hand, we’re keen to showcase and celebrate each and every one of them. Amidst the annual National Apprenticeship Week campaign, running from 6-10 February, this feels a particularly timely installment of this series, too. 

So, next up, it’s our help desk support officer, Finlay Grady. Take it away, Finlay…

Why did you choose a career in the IT and tech sector?

I was interested in tech from a young age — particularly gaming — and I was always keen to get involved in the ‘build side’ of this space. Whilst not exactly the same, following the IT and tech route has a similar ‘hands on’ appeal for me.

Why was an apprenticeship the right choice for you?

I’ve never been the biggest fan of academic work, so I wanted to go down a more practical route to develop my skill set.

And how did you first find out about Central’s apprenticeship programme?

In 2021, I approached an agency to help me find the best-fit employer, and they secured me an interview with Central. The rest is history!

What made Central stand out from other employers?

The opportunity the team was offering seemed more aligned with what I wanted, in terms of the scope of work, ‘on the ground’ experience, and overall culture of the organisation.

I’d previously been offered a social media marketing position at another company, but it just wasn’t technical enough for me.

Sum up your role in three words:

Varied. Teamwork. Resolution.

Can you tell us what a typical working day looks like for you?

As a help desk support officer, I’m largely responsible for responding to tickets that require first-line resolution. This could be anything from time-sensitive security concerns and general technical difficulties, to setting up new devices and resetting passwords.

Finish the sentence – the biggest misconception surrounding apprenticeships is…

That it’s a ‘cop out route’. Of course, it’s different to traditional university education, but there are so many qualifications available via apprenticeships.

What’s more, you’re able to get stuck straight into applied, real-life examples — working on something with a purpose, rather than being cooped up in a classroom. It sounds clichéd, but it’s great to feel like part of a team too.

What’s the most valuable skill you’ve learnt so far?

I couldn’t pinpoint anything specific, because I’ve learnt so much during the programme. But I’m so much more technically skilled than I was at the beginning — and understand such a vast and varied scope of work now.

How do you see your career path developing?

In all honesty, having only completed my apprenticeship in December, I’m not sure where my path will take me. And that’s okay!

As with any industry, there are so many aspects to the IT landscape, that it feels difficult to make a decision now. However, I’m enjoying what I do right now, and look forward to seeing my role develop organically, as and when the time is right.

Finally, do you have any advice for would-be apprentices?

Don’t doubt your abilities, or whether the path is the right one to follow — if you want to do an apprenticeship, just go for it. There are so many options out there, so there will be something for everyone, at any age or stage in their career.

If you’re keen to speak to Central about upcoming opportunities for apprentices or more generally, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

With such a relentless number of pressures facing organisations across the UK, settling into the pattern of another new year isn’t the only challenge right now. But navigating such a multifaceted role means the stakes are particularly high for the social housing sector.

As well as managing everything from recruitment challenges and already stretched IT budgets, to the effects of ongoing geopolitical turmoil, the responsibility to serve a growing demographic with specialist properties and support continues. Having traditionally been reluctant to adapt to technological innovation, the sector is still battling with inefficient — and often redundant — legacy infrastructure too.

But it’s not just about wholesale change. By shifting priorities and opening doors to greater opportunities, social housing organisations can drive powerful progress over the coming months. Here, client director at Central Networks, Mike Dunleavy, explores which IT advancements will have the biggest impact in 2023…

Expecting and accepting downtime 

With the increasing proliferation of cyber attacks, it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by the possibility of downtime – not least with the oft-cited statistic looming, which states that £3.6m could be lost by organisations each year as a result.

Of course, there are so many reasons for IT to become momentarily out of use – from malicious malware downloads, to natural disaster strikes, general human error, and more. But accepting these feats as inevitable means shaking responsibility altogether.

By instead taking a proactive approach to maintenance, housing associations can prevent unprecedented cyber attacks in their infancy, minimise unproductive work hours, protect costs, plus safeguard company reputation amongst customers, partners, and stakeholders alike. Above all else, foolproof training procedures must take centre stage this year — ensuring teams feel empowered to spot potentially risky nuances in the network.

Overlooking the benefits of outsourced IT support 

Talent attraction and retention is a major concern for all organisations. But with the growing lack of resource, economic struggles, and nationwide digital skills shortage, housing associations are under increasing pressures.

The return on investment offered by outsourcing key IT needs – such as help desk support and proactive network maintenance – is well worth its weight in gold. Not only do specialist teams offer years of experience, spanning a variety of industries, they also often boast lower costs, and enable you to focus internal resources on your core business strategy. 

Paying for redundant tech 

Digital transformation needs are evolving constantly. And without a CTO or finance team in place to focus on the strategic future of your housing association, a lot of organisations will find themselves running into trouble – implementing knee-jerk, sticking plaster solutions that serve limited long-term purpose. 

With both finances and human resources stretched in countless directions, the pressure to introduce the fastest and cheapest fixes into the tech stack is immense. But what many IT leaders also forget when solving organisational challenges, is that future growth must be taken into consideration too. 

A major part of this strategy, is to invest in infrastructure that’s truly scalable. In being able to flex up and down as required, firms won’t risk overspending on overprovisioned technology – because it will grow in line with evolving business needs.

Assuming that productivity is a given

With a limited number of resources to tap into, housing associations are navigating the need to do more with less. And the current economic backdrop, coupled with rising recruitment pressures, means this feat will only become more of a challenge in 2023.

Ensuring the right infrastructure is in place will be a major driver of productivity. Being technologically savvy is not a given, for example – no matter how digital our world has become. So, will the new ways of working suit your employees? And will the right support be in place to help with a seamless transition?

Failing to replace legacy infrastructure

Like many industries, archaic legacy systems are seriously hampering growth in the social housing sector. As well as being costly to maintain and worse for the environment, they’re often incredibly unreliable – not to mention dangerously unsecure.

Most of the time, IT leaders and CFOs are well aware of this. However, the prospect of mapping out a well-considered digital transformation project is often far too daunting. This is an issue that will only grow in severity over time, so appointing the right support to facilitate such a transition – optimising infrastructure, whilst keeping costs as low as possible, and minimising the risk of downtime – is crucial this year, if not done already.

Further procrastination will simply not suffice, unless organisations want to place business continuity, cyber security, team productivity, and customer satisfaction at greater risk.

Keen to continue this conversation? Central Networks is an outsourced IT partner, specialising in realms spanning cloud services and digital security, to managed help desk support, strategic consultancy, and more. Simply get in touch, to see how we can help drive your social housing firm forward – in 2023, and beyond.

You can see how we’re supporting the likes of Welsh housing association ateb Group, and provider of housing and community services, One Manchester, by visiting our sector page.

Our service desk manager, Nick Bowling, recently shared his cybersecurity predictions with TechRound. If you missed the original article, you can catch up here…

A perfect storm for cybercriminals

As many organisations try to make cost savings in 2023, their focus will likely shift towards projects and products that seemingly offer more immediate and tangible value and benefit. Those that deliver on security can sometimes be difficult to justify in budgets.

But with hybrid working now the norm and firms using more technologies to stay connected, cybersecurity and risk management measures need to take centre stage.

If cybersecurity isn’t prioritised, cybercriminals will capitalise on poorly trained users and weak security within businesses’ ICT systems — at a more accelerated rate than ever. This could pave the way for the worst year on record for cyberattack volumes.

‘Insider risk’ could grow

Also, while there’s a focus on implementing technologies like multi- and two-factor authentication to plug gaps and improve security, it's possible that ‘inside jobs’ will increase.

More employees may be targeted by attackers, in a bid to obtain key business-critical information or gain low-level access to ICT systems. And if successful, this data could then be used to access often weaker internal systems.

Given statistics show that over 70% of global organisations were victimised by ransomware attacks in 2022, regular training and penetration testing will therefore be an unnegotiable part of organisations’ security strategies.If your organisation needs IT and cybersecurity support, please get in touch with the Central team by filling out the web form, emailing, or calling 01706 747474.


Central Networks are a strategic technology partner. Excellent technology is a given, customer service, trust and long-term relationships are what drive our business. We support CEOs, Heads of IT, IT technicians and transformation directors to ensure technology provides an edge to their organisations.

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