Talking to Customers About a Managed Cloud Service Provider: What is it, and Do You Need One?

In 2022 alone, our friends at Garner report that more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will move to the cloud! And by 2025, we’re looking at as much as $1.8 trillion. Nowadays, even the most stalwart on-premises holdouts have moved at least some of their operations to the cloud, and it’s clearly full steam ahead for cloud adoption.

 

Traditional IT service providers may be used to on-premises tools and technologies, and might still think Kubernetes sounds like a new-fangled sport, but they would do well to up their game and pick up some cloud skills. This article will look at some of the roles and responsibilities that a Managed Cloud Services Provider (MCSP) might take on, and help you understand if this is part of the service provision that you want to fill for your own customers.

 

What does a managed cloud service provider do?

 

A managed cloud service provider will perform IT functions for your cloud environment, including migration, maintenance, monitoring, and optimization. They will usually work with your cloud hosting provider’s native toolset, and may have their own third-party toolbox as well to get you the best results. As the majority of businesses are not fully cloud-native, and have some of their business on-premises, your customer might need its MCSP to handle a hybrid environment, which relies on a lot of skills and experience.

 

It’s also important to think about the percentage of companies who work in a multi-cloud environment, as 89% of businesses have a multi-cloud strategy which encompasses public clouds like AWS, GCP and Azure, and also perhaps private cloud environments, too.

 

Typical tasks that an MCSP will undertake in an environment include:

 

Optimizing resources

 

The cloud can get expensive fast, and there’s a known issue with a lack of visibility into cloud spend. On AWS for example, many businesses don’t understand when to use Reserved Instances and when to choose On-Demand, or whether they could leverage Spot instances and other money-saving tips.

 

MCSPs will often look at the architecture and make configuration changes to Regions or Availability Zones which can optimize performance at the same time as keeping costs to a minimum.

 

Integrating new cloud services

 

It can be hard to seamlessly work across an on-premises and a cloud environment, especially if you’re working multi-cloud.

 

Your MCSP should be able to manage this complexity, providing single dashboards or reporting capabilities so you can see at a glance all of your cloud operations and spend.

 

Security on the cloud

 

Misconfigurations and vulnerabilities on the cloud can be easy to miss, and it’s impossible to just lift and shift on-premises security concepts like least privilege. It only takes a single misconfigured s3 bucket to open your whole environment to risk.

 

MCSPs can suggest the right third-party security tools that can add contextual cloud security or developer security tools that allow you to shift left and get security embedded into your cloud infrastructure at the earliest stages.

 

Storage and backups

 

One of the most popular services to move to the cloud is storage, thanks to lower costs and more reliability than on-premises systems. MCSPs often handle this for their clients, finding the best options for their requirements, and being the point of call if an emergency happens and these backups need to be restored.

 

How to talk to your clients about managed cloud services

 

According to Frost and Sullivan, “76% of users say that cloud managed services are an essential part of their IT strategy.” Businesses recognize that they can’t do it alone, and to gain the benefits of the cloud – they need support from their managed service providers.

 

If your clients need some help understanding the business benefits of a managed approach to cloud, here are some of the top organizational wins they are likely to see from moving to managed services for cloud.

 

Better performance:

 

When cloud systems run slow, or businesses are experiencing too much latency, this is usually a behind-the-scenes architecture kind of problem. MSCPs can take a deep dive and see what’s causing the slowdown.

 

Lower costs:

 

Cloud can be a black box. Let an MSCP decipher your monthly invoices and make smart changes that will reduce costs without impacting performance or speed, plus add predictability to the amount you spend.

 

Robust security:

 

Ensure all software is up to date immediately, handling patch management behind the scenes. Implement smart monitoring and alerts so vulnerabilities and misconfigurations are found before a breach can occur.

 

Full compliance:

 

The shared responsibility model means that you’re responsible for the security and privacy of all data and applications in the cloud. Do you have full visibility and control, or are you open to risk?

 

Data aggregation:

 

With data in multiple siloed systems, it can be hard to know where everything is. Often, businesses don’t have a single stakeholder who manages a hybrid environment. Let your MCSP be that stakeholder.

 

Employee productivity:

 

Stop focusing on technical IT tasks and the steep learning curve for cloud, and outsource this to a smart MCSP partner instead. Your teams can go back to their day jobs, resting assured that everything is taken care of.

 

A competitive edge:

 

With a managed partner for cloud, you can say yes to new cloud initiatives, seeing faster time to market with new features and updates, and benefiting from technology like CI/CD to see value quicker.

 

It’s easy to see why managed cloud services are a great win for the customer. Once you spell out the benefits! Share this article with your customers and start a conversation about managed cloud services at your next business review!

 

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