Managed Cloud Service: Getting it Right the First Time

Cloud computing has become a requisite part of enterprise operations for large and small companies. Most companies rely on cloud vendors to fulfill a host of IT-related needs at a fraction of the cost of having traditional in-house IT services. However, it’s time businesses realize cloud adoption alone will not have the trans-formative effect they desire. To harness the true power of the cloud, DevOps methodologies and automation tools must iterate quickly, move faster, and build lasting products. As the managed cloud services market gains traction, the number of providers who purport to have the expertise to manage those aspects of the cloud continues to grow. A managed cloud allows enterprises to maximize their IT resources and empower their workers to focus solely on initiatives that generate revenue. Some of the important considerations when seeking managed cloud services are listed below.

I. Domain knowledge to tailor services

No two companies are similar; varying workloads call for varying solutions, based on specific requirements for data residency, cost, availability, performance, security, and more. The ideal managed service provider will want to know the specific resources you require from your cloud vendor. They will inquire about the specifications and characteristics you need to run your existing workload smoothly. They will also want to understand the data you have and your requirements for moving said data. The right managed cloud services provider will have a host of questions for you. Ensure your cloud workloads are not managed according to some blanket ‘one-size-fits-all’ parameters, but enable your business to have visibility and input into crucial service parameters.

II. The Service Level Agreement should be perfectly aligned with your business priorities

There is still a lot of ambiguity among customers and service providers regarding SLAs for cloud services. SLAs are standard practice for any service, for example a would-be homeowner to provide contractors with a blueprint before they begin working on the house. In the same regard, an SLA serves as the blueprint for cloud computing. The burden of ensuring suitable measures are put in place to meet your regulatory and security requirements squarely falls on you. So, confirm any managed service provider you intend to work with has the expertise, technology, and architecture to meet them. Most cloud and managed service providers limit their availability service level agreements to infrastructure uptime; so, they are indemnified from application availability, which are typically marred orchestration problems, issues with software updates, and more. A good service provider should help configure cloud services to meet application availability requirements and be willing to stand by the assurances with a service level agreement.

III. The security Aplomb

Security remains a top concern for using the cloud for sensitive workloads, mainly because IT decision-makers feel like they have limited visibility or control of security surrounding workloads. Ensure your managed cloud service provider has established security practices in its own processes and infrastructure and provide access to security experts capable of helping you address and assess vulnerabilities within your own workloads. A key strategy for security is monitoring. The most efficient approach is automation of the monitoring process with human review and response to guarantee the possibility for failure is repaired before your business is affected. Other key security strategies are backup and recovery of data, compliance assurance, and data encryption

IV Round the Clock Support

Ensure you understand the protocol for after-hours support. Knowing a qualified professional is available to work on any issues that may occur, regardless of the time of day, provides the peace of mind needed to grow your business. Another crucial aspect of support is reporting. The reporting platform your managed cloud service provider offers should have a rich array of data in a user-friendly interface, making the entire process straightforward for even non-technical employees

V. Reliability

The last requirement is an apogee of all the above. The MSP market is flooded with providers who claim they can fully meet all your requirements. Driven by the presage of low-barrier to entry and recurring revenue, some providers have made minimal investments that guarantee their quick demise. Since most of the current cloud platforms do not allow for easy migration, your company’s data and workloads may be locked-in with a provider that ceases to exist before the end of your contract. Although the cloud market has been around for some time now, the deep relationships with leading application and technology providers required to establish successful managed cloud offerings take a considerably long time to build.

Author: Gabriel Lando