Posted on November 15, 2017 by Todd Simpson
Many IT leaders have been asking themselves if they need a Cloud Managed Services Provider. Given a lack of experienced cloud technologist and growing complexities, the answer seems clear.
As Gartner has pointed out, the chances of businesses having a “no cloud” policy will soon sound as ridiculous as having a “no Internet” policy today.
When a business invests in the cloud, it opens the door to significant change and transformation. But no matter how great the promised value, as with any change, risks and uncertainties are bound to follow. Businesses that are ill-prepared for the cloud frequently face many hurdles.
Most businesses have poor visibility into their costs and lack appropriate governance. This leads to configuration errors, ineffective controls, and unnecessary costs. Creating budget chaos for the uninitiated.
A shift from slow-and-predictable upgrade cycles, to hundreds of new services and patches upgrades a year means many businesses get caught off-guard. This leads to vulnerabilities, performance disruptions, and hours of excess manual work. It also means you miss out on potentially valuable new features as they become available.
The odds your internal resources are well-equipped to navigate this new cloud landscape are slim. Yes, you can spend time and money on training, research, education, or hunt down an (expensive) in-house cloud pro. But this often means delays to leveraging cloud technologies in a way that delivers material value to the business.
For these and other reasons, many organizations look to a cloud managed service provider (MSP) for support. An MSP can help you overcome these challenges. They can right-size your expenses, deliver useful and timely insights, and enable best practices for every step of your cloud journey. From configuration to optimization.
Still, not all cloud MSP’s are the same. Picking the right one depends on your needs, as well as the experience and approach of the provider.
In general, you need to understand what you want before deciding on the right cloud provider. A good MSP should be able to help you define and then refine, your cloud vision. No matter how fuzzy.
When it comes time to pick your MSP, follow these key criteria and guidelines:
Your MSP should have proven experience designing, delivering and perfecting solutions for the cloud provider you are considering. Are they a credible, recognized partner of Microsoft or Amazon? Do they have the highest-possible credentialed experts? If none of this applies, move on!
Does the MSP offer one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter approach? Or do they seek to understand your goals, and offer research and curated insights to develop your plan? You want a partner who has experienced enough to understand what will actually work for your business and to spot the risks you can’t see. MSP’s that provide you with objective, nonbiased assessments and customer-centric methodologies are your best bet.
The cloud enterprise involves the use of many apps, workloads, and strategies to be successful. Your MSP should have a proven record of delivering and supporting a broad range of solutions from your chosen provider, from IaaS to Paas. Don’t team up with an Office 365 shop, only to find out they can’t help you with your Azure project.
Experienced MSP’s provide a range of automated and templated services. It means you can get on the cloud faster, maintain consistency on the platform and reduce human error. Find an MSP with a clear offering of automated, machine-driven processes. Processes that have been built from experience gained in delivering projects in relevant industries.
Clearly understanding how your cloud resources are being consumed is essential to optimizing your costs and reducing risks. Unfortunately, cloud providers offer very limited “out of the box” capabilities to address this need. A good cloud MSP needs to fill in the blanks, with a unified, dashboard view of your entire cloud operation. This should include curated reports, easy to action recommendations, and ongoing support, to help you make the best decisions to optimize your cloud spend over time.