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Everything you need to know about Cloud Managed Services

Cloud managed services is an offering provided by a managed service provider (MSP). MSPs exist to alleviate some, or all, of the burden of businesses when it comes to their technology. Offering a cost-effective solution to on-premises technology and resources, they allow for the outsourcing and management of IT services by experts in the field.

Businesses can be assured that they are getting the best skills and experience in managed services in areas such as security, IT support, and cloud management, so businesses can focus on other priorities such as customer service, innovation, and growth.

An overview of cloud technology

Cloud technology is accessed through cloud providers like Microsoft or Amazon. These providers have large, powerful servers located all over the world to host their cloud service. They spend billions investing in the latest cyber security technology to safeguard their cloud.

Businesses can access the cloud like they would an entertainment streaming service, through a browser. It can be any device, a MacBook or a PC, a smartphone, or a tablet. They essentially rent space on the cloud, paying only for the services that they use on a monthly basis. Microsoft is responsible for the costs involved in purchasing and maintaining the hardware that runs the cloud, so businesses are alleviated of this expense and burden.

Once connected, the cloud operates at high speeds. The technology is flexible and scalable, meaning you can add and remove services at any point in time. These services can be anything from a software application to data storage, to a virtual PC, to a network, to an increase in network bandwidth, a database, a development environment, even a virtual server.

Essentially, businesses can choose to have their entire infrastructure on the cloud, eliminating much of the physical IT infrastructure they have on-premises and the resources needed to support that infrastructure. The risk of downtime is also minimised in comparison to having an on-premises server because if something goes wrong with one of Microsoft’s servers, they will seamlessly redistribute traffic to one of their other servers. Business partners can be connected to each other, with appropriate access controls, making the entire supply chain a much more efficient, faster process.

Cloud technology brings business together. It allows for a streamlined, centralised approach, providing powerful collaborative tools. The more of the business that is moved onto the cloud solutions, the more real-time analytical data is available to aid in management decision making. This data, together with the scalability and flexibility of the technology, allows businesses to act quickly and take advantage of opportunities they would have otherwise missed.

Cloud adoption supports businesses to stay abreast of the latest technology, identifying bottlenecks and areas of weakness, allowing them to thrive, innovate and remain competitive.

What kind of cloud options are available?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to the cloud. Each solution must be tailored to the needs of the individual business. This is where the cloud managed services offering provided by MSPs can be helpful. Their job is to assess the current legacy technology and to provide advice and suggestions on how the business can best benefit from transitioning some or all their IT infrastructure to the cloud.

The types of clouds that are available are:

  • Public cloud – a cloud service run by a third-party provider like Microsoft. Businesses rent space on the third-party server and pay for the resources they consume. They are not responsible for keeping the technology updated or maintaining any physical hardware.
  • Private cloud – the business owns the physical server and is responsible for its security and maintenance. Often for private clouds businesses will outsource the management of their private cloud to an MSP’s cloud managed services department. The physical server can be kept on business premises or with the MPS.
  • Hybrid cloud – uses both private and public cloud options. This is often an option for businesses who to keep sensitive information on a private cloud but also want the benefits that a public cloud provides, such as using third-party cloud applications.

What kind of cloud services are available?

A cloud platform puts endless technology services at the fingertips of businesses to add and remove anytime they please.

These can be divided into: 

  • Software as a service (SaaS) – applications like Microsoft 365, customer relationship management (CRM) applications or enterprise resource management (ERM) applications are some examples. SaaS eliminates the need to deploy software the traditional way, by purchasing software and installing it on all business PCs.
  • Platform as a service (PaaS) – platforms that provide full lifecycle development, deployment, and operating systems to allow businesses to deliver IT solutions, for example, Microsoft Azure.
  • Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – provides infrastructure such as virtual data storage or data centres, networks, servers, databases. Microsoft Azure can also operate as IaaS.

Cloud managed services and their benefits

There are many benefits to cloud managed services and businesses partnering with an MSP that provides them. Including an MSP into a business’s technology workflow can dramatically improve efficiency and relieve much burden from business.

When choosing an MSP, businesses should consider factors such as does the MSP have a partner status with providers like Microsoft? What kind of certifications do they have? How big is their cloud practice?

Here are some of the benefits of cloud managed services: 

Time saved can be spent on business

In this new pandemic world, the demands on businesses to stay competitive have increased dramatically. Anywhere they can save time is a bonus. Outsourcing cloud technology frees up internal resources so staff can focus on other more important priorities such improving business processes and customer dependability and growing the business.

Saves costs and reduces the need for on-premises IT experts

So much of today’s business takes place in the digital world but this has put increased pressure on business IT departments. They have so much pressure to know and do it all. This can be an expensive challenge, especially when it comes to cyber security and protecting IT infrastructure. This isn’t the most cost-effective solution.

By outsourcing some or all the business IT infrastructure to the cloud, and having an MSP manage it, the need for in-house specialised staff is reduced together with the cost savings provided by the cloud technology itself.

Cloud managed services provide staff that live and breathe the cloud environment. They are certified experts in the field and can provide the best cloud solution for your business as well as provide services to maintain it. They will monitor cloud infrastructure proactively because they know what to look for. It is their business to keep it secure and safe and to stop problems from occurring.

A good MSP will work with the business to optimise costs. Usually, they can provide competitive pricing for a service plan compared to hiring internal staff. They may also offer discounts for long-term commitments.

24 x 7 IT support

Increase the reliability of cloud operations with the 24×7 IT support provided by MSPs. They have experienced staff located all over the world ready to deal with any problems via phone, chat, or email. Providing such support in-house would be costly. Experienced cloud 24×7 support teams increase the reliability and service levels of IT infrastructure and reduce the risk of any downtime which hurts business reputation and brand.

Cloud experts at your fingertips

Having experts manage your cloud computing means that the business doesn’t have to worry about it, and business continuity can be at an optimum level when change takes place. They will configure your cloud to maximise security, they will monitor it proactively to make sure it’s protected. They will consult with the business to form appropriate disaster and recovery plans.

If the business wants to scale up or down, they can consult with their MSP, and they will look after it. When first moving to the cloud, the MSP can assess the needs of the business and advise the best way forward. With cloud managed services, a business can be assured they are in good hands. The MSP will keep up to date with the latest cloud technology and will advise the business of any improvements/upgrades that can be made via a cloud strategy.

Compliance is taken care of

There are legal obligations when it comes to data, security and compliance, and it’s a headache for businesses to stay up to date with all these requirements. Some of them carry hefty fines. MSPs know what needs taking care of and will make sure data compliance and audit requirements are met.

Cloud managed services have the power to transform businesses in a meaningful way and support them in their innovation and growth. Talk to the experts at INTELLIWORX to find out how they can help your business transition to the cloud or help you get the most out of your current cloud infrastructure.

Shane Maher

We passionately work on the IT Infrastructure of mid-tier businesses and support MSPs into cloud services. I have over 17 years of commercial experience that includes supporting and managing IT systems, developing infrastructure solutions, both onsite & in the cloud.

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