At some point in the not-too-distant past, cloud managed services likely meant something simple, like paying a cloud provider to manage some virtual machines (VMs) instead of running them in-house at a datacenter. While purchasing computing or storage from a cloud provider remains a major use case, a much larger variety of tools and services has since joined them.
Today, a managed cloud service may be anything from a container platform to a service for creating and training machine learning models. Managed cloud services are any service that you purchase from a managed service provider (MSP), but that the platform or provider mostly operates for you, as opposed to you providing and maintaining the service (and all of the underlying infrastructure) yourself.
Today, the services by MSP are widely used for many aspects of an organization’s IT infrastructure, not simply the backbone. They can be really useful, but IT managers need to plan carefully to avoid squandered time, money, and talent. Which is where the application of MSP best practices kicks in.
4 MSP Best Practices
1. Know Your Options of Managed Cloud Service Types
The options available to you when selecting a managed cloud service span a wide spectrum. In any business that deals with significant complexity, a “one size fits all” or “simply pick one” strategy is not optimal here (which means most of them). The truth is, cloud managed services can mean different things to different businesses, but the most important question for your organization is, “What do they mean to us?”
Is your company interested in leveraging the geo-redundant public or private clouds to revolutionize the way in which its on-premise resources are used? Is your company ready to move its application workloads into a space where microservices can help it take advantage of the pay-per-use model and remain flexible as its business or customer base expands?
The managed cloud services offered by different companies are very personalized based on the objective that is pushing the firm to invest in cloud. For instance, companies looking to save money on IT will have very different needs than those looking to increase their capabilities in the cloud.
Others may need both, in which case it will be important to consider how a potential MSP might assist them find that happy medium.
2. Make Sure Your Business Reality Feeds Your Managed Cloud Services Strategy
In some cases, not everything has to be moved to the cloud or used as a service in the cloud. Most organizations must oversee a wide variety of services and products, including application portfolios, infrastructure, integrations, and more.
One of the key MSP best practices is to remember that architectural ideas will also need to address organizational current realities. Keeping systems as-is for the time being, replacing components with a SaaS or cloud service, and developing new microservice-based applications in-house are all options that come up asking IT decision-makers about the approaches for application modernization.
There is no need to refactor or even re-platform all applications before attempting modernization. Even though the cloud has become an integral aspect of IT, large and medium-sized businesses are not abandoning their on-premises applications and infrastructure enmasse.
Some might argue that cloud services should be considered alongside other methods of app modernization. However, each organization’s strategy must make sense in the context of a comprehensive application modernization strategy that takes into account, among other things, an evaluation of the expertise already present inside your organization.
3. Having a Experts On Staff is Good But Partnering with a Trusted MSP Will Save You Most Headaches
Another pillar of some of the most important Managed Service Provider best practices refers to the fact that to get the most out of MSP, in-house knowledge is still necessary; these services should complement rather than replace the IT department while serving as points of contact for your trusted MSP. Doing more with less is the modern corporate mantra, but with cloud managed services, you can grow your technology in ways that were before impossible. However, this should be done in the context of your current staff and any planned additions.
In this day and age, you’re ahead of the game if your company has reached the maturity level of a DevOps shop. It’s probable that other teams have some catching up to do, and that upper management will have to accept the fact that it’s not difficult to find people who can effectively combine once-separate job tasks.
Even with fully managed services, IT leaders need a strong grasp on who is accountable for what internally to assist bridge talent shortages.
4. Find the Synergy Between Hybrid Cloud and Managed Cloud Services
One of the other key MSP best practices includes the aspect of the DevOps era is that it does not eliminate the differences between the work involved in creating an application and the work involved in operating it reliably and making sure it is secure.
One of the primary explanations for this is as follows: It’s unlikely that most large companies will go cloud-native anytime soon. The cloud is likely to be your only option if you are a 40-person tech startup doing everything from scratch. But if you’re running IT for a Fortune 500 company, or at a government agency or elsewhere in the public sector, or at a privately owned midsize firm that’s been operating successfully for 80 years–or any number of other organizational contexts – not so much.
Information technology is another important factor to think about when hiring, and it reveals a close connection between managed cloud services and hybrid cloud and/or multi-cloud settings.
These disparate settings may find common ground with the use of the services by an MSP. With careful, intentional planning and adequate resources, managed cloud services can improve developer velocity, simplify operational overhead, and retain future flexibility to move workloads where they’re best suited.