The advantages of Cloud computing are well established. Less talked about are the operational advantages. With Cloud, the necessity of office-based IT professionals is largely eliminated. Organizations are realizing that their cloud management needs can often be addressed by outsourcing to a Cloud Managed Services provider at a lower cost than maintaining their own team, allowing them to focus more resources and attention on their core operations.
What are Cloud Managed Services?
Simply put, Cloud Managed Services are services that completely or partially manage an organization’s cloud infrastructure on an outsourced basis. Cloud Managed Services can include management of cloud computing, storage, network operations, security, application stacks, and other aspects.
Why should you consider outsourcing your Cloud management?
Here are the five most important advantages Cloud managed services can bring to your organization:
- Savings. Cloud Managed Service Providers (CSP) can fulfill all your Cloud infrastructure management needs at a flat, predictable cost. Furthermore, CSP price points can often be lower than the cost for organizations to maintain their own Cloud infrastructure to comparable standards.
- Performance. CSPs continuously monitor your Cloud infrastructure and make adjustments when needed to optimize performance.
- Uptime. Cloud Managed Service Providers offer round the clock monitoring and support for your Cloud infrastructure and always have resources on hand to quickly respond to disruptions or other issues to ensure very high availability.
- Security. CSPs can assume management of your security operations, patches & updates, and incident response, to ensure your cloud security infrastructure is protected against emerging threats.
- Automation. Cloud Managed Service Providers have the tools and expertise needed to automate many of your routine Cloud infrastructure management and monitoring processes to ensure important updates are completed quickly and issues are quickly identified and addressed.
- Responsiveness. CSPs can rapidly respond to your needs whenever needed. With experienced teams available 24/7/365, all your needs from incident response, updates, release management, and upgrades can be quickly addressed.
- Resource Management. Cloud Managed Service Providers have the resources needed to adjust to the changing needs of your Cloud infrastructure, scaling up and down as needed without burdening you with manpower or budget issues.
- Expertise. CSPs often have teams of professionals with deeper expertise and experience than teams that organizations can often build on their own. These experts can be leveraged to not only advise on performance and management issues relating to existing infrastructure, but also be consulted when needed on Cloud upgrades and enhancements. This minimizes the need for ad hoc engagements with consultants.
- Compliance. Cloud Managed Service Providers offer flexibility to incorporate your SOPs and service level specifications into their service delivery or can offer their own best-practice based SOPs for management of your Cloud infrastructure. Furthermore, many CMSPs offer experience operating within industry-specific technology standards and can help ensure your Cloud operations remain compliant.
- Transparency. Some CSPs have tools that allow you to always have visibility into the performance and management of your infrastructure. You are never in the dark.
Choosing the right Cloud Managed Services Provider
When evaluating Cloud Managed Services Providers, keep the following factors in mind:
- Scope of Services. You should choose a CSP that offers a full range of managed services, whether you need them or not. A full-service Cloud partner can offer more flexibility to accommodate future changes to your operational needs without the disruption that comes from having to transition to a new vendor.
- Experience. Experience with your specific Cloud provider and technology stack is important. The right Cloud Managed Service Providers will be able to demonstrate this experience.
- Bench Strength. The ideal CSP will not only have the Cloud professionals needed to provide routine infrastructure maintenance and optimization but will also have experts readily available should something more serious arise. The provider’s staffing levels and ability to quickly bring on higher level expertise when needed should be key considerations.
- Security. Maintaining security of your Cloud infrastructure is paramount. A good CSP will have comprehensive security operations services spanning prevention, patch management, monitoring, and incidence response.
- Flexibility. A good Cloud Managed Service Providers will not only be able to accommodate your SOPs but should be able to offer alternatives which exceed your own standards.
- Service Levels. It is important to scrutinize CSP service level commitments and consider the practical implications for your operations. A 99.9% uptime guarantee allows for a service outage of almost 9 hours annually. For critical systems, this may not be acceptable.
- Scalability. An ideal Cloud Managed Service Providers will not only have the ability to meet your needs today but be able to adapt to meet your future need. The provider should include flexible service delivery models that allow you to pick the model which makes for you including remote management by shared resources, remote management by dedicated resources and onsite management by provider resources.
- Industry Expertise. If your organization is in a field with industry-specific IT standards, your CSP should be able to demonstrate experience complying with those standards and have processes and procedures to help you ensure your ongoing compliance. Even if your industry does not have its own standards, choosing a CSP with experience with these types of IT standards can give you peace of mind that you are dealing with a reliable provider.
- Transparency. You are entrusting the CSP you choose with a critical part of your IT infrastructure. They should be able to demonstrate their ongoing performance against your service level specifications. Increasingly, CSPs are providing clients with tools which provide even greater transparency allowing clients to see real-time metrics about the performance of their systems and the work that has been performed by the CSP.
- Transition. Your Cloud Managed Service Providers should have the infrastructure, people, tools, and comprehensive processes to confidently transfer your Cloud infrastructure under their management. Equally important is their process for transitioning Cloud management back to you, or to another provider, should the need arise.
- Cost. Often, cost can be the decisive factor in selecting a Cloud managed services provider. When looking at cost, compare what you are getting for the price you are paying across all the parameters listed above. It is also important to look at the costs of services you might need on an ad hoc basis. Lastly, you should consider the cost of transitioning away from a low-cost provider if they prove unable to keep up with your future needs.
Cloud Managed Services can provide substantial benefits to organizations. Trigyn offers a full range of cloud infrastructure, application, and security management services to help organization realize the full benefit of their Cloud investment.