As a business, it feels good to have control over all the operations that help you run your business successfully every day. But doing everything on your own might not always be the best idea. Not every business is big enough to have the resources or expertise to manage in-house services and that’s where a third-party IT partner comes into the picture.
According to Zetsy, SMEs in 2023 will spend more than 50% of their tech budget on cloud services alone. Since most of the business operations are being handled by cloud architectures, it’s imperative to find the most secure, stable, and cost-efficient ways to manage them. Managed cloud IT services seem to be the most optimal way to go about it.
What are managed cloud IT services?
Managed cloud IT services are provided by third-party service providers to manage and support a company’s cloud infrastructure and applications. A managed cloud IT service provider (MCSP) assumes responsibility for cloud-based applications, databases, servers, storage, and networking resources. They offer monitoring, backup and disaster recovery, security, and compliance services to ensure the infrastructure runs smoothly and securely.
By outsourcing their cloud IT services, businesses can gain access to a team of experts with specialized knowledge and expertise, allowing them to focus on their core competencies. This has kickstarted the growing trend of managed cloud services and the numbers are inspiring. According to MarketsandMarkets, the cloud managed services market will be worth $116.2 billion by 2025!
What are the components of managed cloud IT services?
Managed cloud services cover a wide range of cloud components—from small databases to full-fledged ecosystems. The scope depends on the needs of your company and growth strategies for the future. Having said that, here are a few essential managed it services that are covered by most MCSPs:
On the application level, cloud IT service providers help businesses manage their cloud-based applications, such as stakeholder software, CRMs, and other custom applications. They deploy, scale, and manage the lifecycle of applications, along with database and virtualization management. This ensures that businesses can stay productive and secure every day.
Managed IT services providers help businesses manage their cloud infrastructure, including servers, storage, and networking resources. They can help with the setup, configuration, and ongoing maintenance of servers, DNS, DevOps support, and system stability. This ensures that the infrastructure is always optimized for performance, reliability, and scalability.
Managed cloud IT service providers (MCSPs) help businesses ensure the security of their cloud infrastructure and applications through threat monitoring and detection, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, compliance and risk management (PCI DSS, HIPAA, and GDPR), along with data encryption and access management. By fending off security threats, MCSPs minimize the risk of data loss and reputational damage.
Backup and disaster recovery
Data loss can spell doom for any business. Even though cloud architectures are more resilient to downtime, outages, and server crashes exist in multi-cloud systems and can have adverse effects on your business. MCSPs create and manage backup and disaster recovery plans to ensure that critical data is always protected. This includes regularly backing up data, testing recovery procedures, and creating redundant systems to minimize the risk of data loss.
Monitoring and performance management
Managed cloud IT service providers help businesses monitor their cloud infrastructure and applications for performance issues. MCSPs identify potential problems and proactively take steps to prevent or resolve them. This helps to ensure a company’s cloud infrastructure and applications are always running at peak performance.
Optimization of costs
Cloud services can be costly, and businesses need to ensure that they are getting the best value for their investment. By outsourcing cloud management to independent experts you can optimize operational costs without impacting performance. MCSPs can help you resize instances, use cost-effective storage options, and identify areas where costs can be reduced. Since they operate on fixed monthly or yearly packages, you have better control over budgets.
Managed cloud IT services: pros and cons
Considering the crucial services offered by MCSPs, it’s important to pick a provider that fits into your business goals. Most businesses make a mistake here and end up spending more on managed services than in-house teams while slowing down KPIs.
Cost savings: MCSPs can save you money by working on predictable, transparent, and recurring pricing models backed by SLAs. They can reduce the need for in-house IT staff and payroll, along with the costs associated with hardware and software maintenance, upgrades, and licensing fees.
Scalability: MCSPs offer scalable services that can be adjusted as a business grows. This means that businesses can easily add or remove services as needed without having to invest in new resources—making them future-proof.
Expertise: The skill gap is a major issue in bleeding-edge IT ecosystems. MCSPs have the expertise and experience to provide high-quality services and support. They stay up-to-date on the latest technology trends and can provide best practices and recommendations for businesses to optimize their IT resources.
Security: As we have already discussed, MCSPs bring enterprise-grade security to SMBs which is a critical part of cloud infrastructure. They use the latest security technologies and techniques to protect against threats and provide ongoing monitoring and management of security risks.
Availability: MCSPs offer high-availability services with built-in redundancy and failover capabilities. This means that businesses can have reliable access to their cloud services and applications with minimal downtime. This also improves response time and support metrics.
Focus on core business: By outsourcing IT services to an MCSP, businesses can focus on their core operations and growth strategies. This allows businesses to prioritize and optimize resources on their core competencies while leaving IT operations to the experts.
Despite the overwhelming advantages, managed cloud services may not be a safe bet for many companies. In almost all cases, the risks come down to best practices while picking an MCSP.
Unwarranted costs: Despite the intention of saving costs, working with MCSPs may expose hidden charges. It’s important to vet options thoroughly and factor in unwarranted expenditures to make sure ROI is achieved.
SLA complications: You’d be surprised to know how many businesses ignore the fine print. MCSPs may have different SLAs and uptime guarantees, and it is important for businesses to carefully review and understand the terms of the SLA to ensure they meet their needs.
Lack of cloud exit strategy: By striking up long-term contracts with an MCSP, you may run the risk of developing dependency. The lack of transfer strategies comes to the fore when businesses get used to working with a particular platform, making it costly and complicated to switch to a competitor.
Things to remember about cloud IT services
But before you go look for your ideal managed IT services provider, you must know the types of clouds. This will help you estimate the cost, define internal KPIs and create long-term strategies.
The public cloud is operated by third-party cloud services providers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google that can be accessed by anyone who wants to use them, on a pay-as-you-go basis. It’s highly scalable and cost-effective for SMBs. However, businesses should be aware of potential security and dependency risks that come with standardized public clouds. The main risks are related to data privacy but most public cloud providers offer some degree of security and compliance robustness to mitigate the attacks.
A private cloud is used exclusively by a single organization. In a private cloud, the organization builds and manages its own cloud infrastructure and services, which are hosted within its own data center or on a third-party data center. Private clouds offer similar benefits to public clouds, including scalability and agility, but with increased security and control. Even though private cloud architectures are highly customizable and can be designed to meet specific needs, they require significant investments. Private clouds are ideal for organizations with strict data privacy, security, and compliance regulations.
A hybrid cloud is a type of cloud computing environment combining public and private clouds, allowing organizations to use the best of both worlds. It’s designed to seamlessly integrate applications, data, and workflows between public and private cloud resources, creating a unified environment. This enables businesses to take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of public clouds, while also maintaining the security and control of private clouds. With the hybrid cloud, you enjoy flexibility in workload placement, allowing you to run certain applications in the public cloud and test others in the private cloud. A lot of businesses opt for a hybrid cloud for improved data security, greater control and customization, and cost optimization.
Multi-cloud utilizes multiple public cloud services to meet the organization’s specific needs, which is different from hybrid cloud. Multi-cloud strategies enable businesses to take advantage of the best features of different cloud providers, and avoid vendor lock-in, by spreading their workload across different providers. The main challenge of multi-cloud environments is managing and integrating multiple public clouds and ensuring data portability, security, and compliance.
How to choose the right managed cloud IT services provider?
Who you pick for cloud IT services can make or break your business. Here are some key factors to consider when selecting a provider:
Expertise: Look for a managed IT services provider that has expertise in the specific cloud services that your business needs. The provider should be able to offer services that align with your business goals and can scale with your growth.
Reliability: Check the MCSP’s uptime guarantees and service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure that they can provide the level of availability that your business requires. Also, check their security policies, compliance frameworks, and disaster recovery plans.
Pricing: Evaluate the pricing model of the provider and ensure that it is transparent and cost-effective. Be wary of vendors that offer very low prices, as they may be cutting corners in terms of quality and support to justify the costs.
Support: Ensure that the MCSP has a dedicated support team that can provide timely and efficient support, as well as help with any technical issues that may arise.
Integration: Check if the company can integrate with your existing infrastructure and workflows, to ensure seamless migration and implementation.
Experience: Look for providers that have a proven track record in managing cloud services for organizations similar to yours, and check their references and customer testimonials.
Scalability: Work with a provider that can offer a scalable solution that can grow with your business needs and requirements.
Compliance: Check that the MCSP meets compliance requirements specific to your industry, such as HIPAA, GDPR, or PCI-DSS.
How can MyTek help you?
Over the years MyTek has created a stellar track record of handling complex cloud migrations and maintaining the integrity of cloud ecosystems for growing businesses. With constant threat monitoring and mitigation, seamless migrations, and cloud hosting, MyTek has built a team that addresses your concern and recommends new cloud strategies. To know how we can help you, get in touch with us today!