Managed cloud services are the partial or complete management and control of a Client’s cloud platform, including migration, maintenance, and optimization. Outsourcing cloud management allows businesses to avoid new hiring and training costs while ensuring their cloud resources run efficiently.
What is the Cloud?
The cloud is a virtual information bank that stores and manages information, delivers content and services, and runs applications on the internet. Cloud services can function for users at any time and from any location using an internet-connected device.
In the simplest of terms, “the cloud” takes those applications and files which were once housed on servers sitting in your business’ closet (or collecting dust-bunnies under the spare desk) and moves them to servers “out there.”
A cloud environment is made of databases, hardware, and software tools. These components are combined to create a server. Your organization may have a server room located somewhere in your building that provides internet service for connected hardware devices.
In a managed cloud hosting environment, different organizations share access and resources to a cloud environment. You purchase a server in slices or as a virtual server. Besides accessing this resource, you are also paying for a provider—like Amazon or Microsoft—to do everything necessary to maintain the cloud environment. By outsourcing management, you save on costs and can focus on operations.
One way to think about managed cloud hosting is to imagine an apartment building. As a tenant, you can rent as much space based on need and budget. You have control over a space (your apartment), but you share amenities with other tenants. You can occasionally have priority over amenities, such as using the pool or clubhouse, but this comes with an extra cost.
Advantages of the Cloud
One advantage of a cloud-based server is that it does not need to be at your physical location. This allows a third party to provide cloud services for you. Other advantages include that the cloud
- Saves disk space. The primary advantage of the cloud is the elimination of hard drives and disk space on your computer. The server handles most data storage, which helps preserve your computer’s memory for greater machine efficiency.
- Is accessible at any time and from any location. We can use the cloud from any location and for any device, provided you have an internet connection. This creates opportunities to collaborate with others on the same file even when you are not in the same room.
- Saves on IT costs. Using the cloud enables businesses to leave IT tasks to outside companies with expert skills in tech services.
- Has software on demand. Businesses can purchase many popular versions of software available on-demand, often at lower costs.
Types of Cloud Deployment Models
There are three main types of cloud deployment models, or how you will connect to your chosen cloud service.
- Public. You may be familiar with two of the most popular companies in this area: Amazon, Google and Microsoft. Their cloud environments, Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Azure, respectively, are examples of managed cloud hosting. A public cloud provides lots of storage, making it available to a wide range of users. Users rent the program and hardware services as opposed to buying programs and hardware. The vendor handles all the maintenance, administration, troubleshooting, backups, and capacity planning.
- Private. A private cloud is like a public cloud environment, except it offers more control over privacy and security. Private clouds use hardware and a network that is not shared by anyone outside of the company or organization.
- Hybrid. Combines on-premises datacenter or server and public cloud resources. This allows organizations to leverage the best of both environments.
Types of Cloud Services
Cloud computing is offered in three different service models which each satisfy a unique set of business requirements.
- SaaS. Software-as-a-Service is the cloud’s largest and most developed feature that provides software or a set of applications available in the cloud. Google Workspace (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, etc.) is an example of SaaS.
- IaaS. Infrastructure-as-a-Service provides raw computing services, which requires a high level of IT expertise. This service provides a cloud server, or servers, as well as data storage space, for access to computing power but without the hassle of installation and maintenance. Working with AWS or Azure are examples of IaaS.
- PaaS. Platform-as-a-Service outsources the tasks associated with running your cloud environment to a provider. This eliminates the need to oversee many underlying hardware and operating tasks associated with running your application, such as software maintenance, capacity planning, and buying equipment and supplies.
Need to figure out your cloud needs? Check out this article.
Who Manages the Cloud?
There are a few options for managing cloud environments, depending on your particular needs. An internal IT team might manage a small cloud environment, such as an onsite server. More complex use cases, with a high number of servers or the need to draw on lots of computing power, are best handled by a cloud service provider—such as Amazon or Microsoft—or a technology managed service provider (MSP) with staff and expertise in cloud management. Working with a provider or MSP is an effective way of leveraging specialized cloud knowledge whenever it’s required. We’re using the term “MCSP” to refer to a cloud service provider or an MSP.
MSCPs can work in private, public, and hybrid cloud environments. The first step is to collaborate with an organization to clarify goals and evaluate the organization’s applications and data. From there, the cloud manager can determine the best cloud resources to fit stated goals.
A key time to contract with an MCSP is before cloud migration takes place. Migration can take data from local storage—such as the hard drives on computers—and load it into a cloud environment. Or an organization can migrate from one cloud provider to another. Regardless, it is best to work with an MCSP early so they can help determine which cloud resources best suit your needs and ensure that configurations are performed correctly.
What do MCSPs Manage?
Managed cloud services providers engage in asset and service management, business continuity, solution-based capacity management, and more.
Managed cloud services can include 24/7 proactive monitoring and alerting, technical support, and experience with systems integration, storage, networking, security, application development, and more. Partnering with a managed cloud services provider frees up time and resources and allows your team to focus on business-critical issues.
Engaging a managed cloud services provider will:
- Inject expert cloud knowledge to improve efficiency and reduce cost
- Enhance agility as you focus more effort on your core business
- Improve resilience with access to support on a 24/7 basis if required
- Foster best practices with knowledge of emerging tools and tech
Managed cloud services offer safe and customized cloud environments for any industry. With the right provider, you can expect expert provision and management of private, public, and hybrid cloud IT services that address your company’s specific needs and meet or exceed regulatory compliance.
The Benefits of Managed Cloud Services
Beyond the reasons mentioned above, engaging a company to manage your cloud services allows for
- Optimization of resources. MCSPs can determine the services that best fit your organization’s needs. They can help you understand which pricing models are most cost-efficient and how you can configure services to optimize performance while minimizing costs. MCSPs can also provide clear reports or performance metrics for your existing resources and suggestions for improving configurations.
- Integrating cloud services. Integration support is a significant benefit of managed cloud services, especially if you are trying to create a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. These environments often require a more complex configuration than single-cloud or cloud-only deployments. MCSPs will ensure the smooth connection of cloud resources to your existing systems.
- Predictable spending. MCSPs enable greater control and management of cloud costs by optimizing the workload distribution, services, and infrastructure use.
- Enhanced security. Outsourcing cloud management also improves data security. Your data plays a key role in daily operations. Your provider can set up strategic plans that boost the security of your cloud environment, safeguarding your data from security threats.
- The creation of innovative strategies. The first element of an innovative strategy is providing transparency into cost and performance. Based on that data, an experienced MCSP offers organizations options to improve on the metric baseline. The organization can then implement the recommended strategy and track progress.
How to Choose an MCSP
Deciding which MCSP is right for you can be a challenge. Providers seem to offer the same services, and if you are new to cloud services, you may not understand what aspects are most important. These are a few considerations to keep in mind when reviewing your MCSP options:
- Security and compliance management. Security and compliance should be at the top of your list for evaluating MCSPs. These components are some of the most difficult for organizations to manage. The right provider can help you ensure significant improvements over what you can accomplish on your own.
- Proven expertise. The chosen provider needs to be familiar with both the cloud services you intend to use and your business operations. This means understanding industry best practices, knowing how to integrate any critical tooling or applications you have, and being able to adapt or optimize your workflows for cloud resources.
- Qualified engineers. MCSPs should have the necessary engineers on staff to manage your project.
- Partnership approach. Relying on an MCSP to manage your cloud resources requires a lot of trust. These providers have full access to your data and the functionality of your cloud services depends on their work. Because of this, it’s important to choose a provider who generates trust, has strong communication skills, and is an effective collaborator with your team.
Managed cloud services will usually include
- 24/7 on-call support
- Full or partial operational responsibility
- Continuous improvement
Additional managed cloud services may include
- Application deployment and management
- Architecture guidance
- Alerts, monitoring, and reporting
- Backup and disaster recovery advice
- Cloud cost management
- Database management and administration
How Anteris Can Help
When you consider how the cloud may serve your business, lean on a company with deep experience in all cloud and on-premise platforms, so you can be sure the right strategy is in place for many years to come.
As a complete IT managed services provider, we offer a variety of cloud management services to best suit our Clients. In addition to our partnership with public cloud providers, our hybrid cloud options, and our managed IT services, we offer Anteris Cloud Solutions, a private cloud in a local space. Your data would not be in a shared space, but rather in a private, redundant infrastructure. This would reduce your IT footprint, provide secure remote access to the infrastructure, and allow for affordable redundancy.
Let us work with you to determine the best cloud services option for your business. Schedule an appointment today to find out how Anteris makes cloud services freeing, not frustrating.