Managed cloud services enable businesses to take advantage of cloud computing without the pain of becoming an expert in this demanding field. These services emerged from the simple reality that every cloud, similar to your investment portfolios or your car, doesn’t run on its own but has to be managed by someone.
Therefore, every cloud adopter faces two options that are either DIY (Do It Yourself) or employing an experienced managed cloud service partner. At some point, most busy, successful people find it wiser to focus on what they do best and outsource the rest. This is the reason for the increasing popularity of managed cloud services.
In this article, we’ll share with you everything you need to know about managed cloud services and how to find and hire a suitable vendor.
What Are Managed Cloud Services?
Managed cloud services are the practice of outsourcing daily IT management and technical support activities required by your cloud-based services to a third-party service provider. Oftentimes, organizations employ this practice when their internal IT departments don’t possess the skills to run, monitor, and maintain their cloud environments effectively. A third-party managed cloud services provider is then hired to manage cloud security, computing, storage, network operations, application stacks, billings, and more.
The range of activities covered depends on your IT needs; cloud MSPs can also help you do performance testing, set up periodical backups and disaster recovery, and more. managed cloud services are often charged a fixed monthly price, and hiring a managed cloud services provider is often less costly than maintaining an in-house team.
What Is A Managed Cloud Service Provider?
A managed cloud services provider like CMC Global offers its customers expertise, convenience, and reduced costs. Cloud engineers deployed by a managed cloud service provider handle not only the customers’ computing, networks, storage, and operating systems but also the complex tools and tech stacks that run on top of that infrastructure. These technologies consist of the latest databases, eCommerce platforms, as well as DevOps automation tools.
Managed cloud services allow clients to decide which IT functions they want to manage in-house and which are offloaded to the managed service vendor. managed cloud services can include infrastructure and application-level support.
At the infrastructure level, managed cloud services include:
- Architecture guidance
- System monitoring, alerting, and reporting
- System administration and operations (Ops)
- Performance testing and tuning
- A single point of contact for support
- Proactive communications and 24×7 support
- Security and compliance management
- DNS management
- Database Administration
- Backup and disaster recovery
- Developer support and training
At the application level, managed cloud services include:
- Application deployment, scaling, and lifecycle management
- DevOps automation tools: Chef, Ansible, Puppet, Salt, LogStash, etc.
- Managed virtualization on VMware vCloud.
- Specialized database management: MySQL, Hadoop, MongoDB, Redis, etc.
- OpenStack Private Cloud deployment and management.
- Management of Microsoft apps: SharePoint, Exchange email, Lync, etc.
- E-commerce and digital experience platform management: Sitecore, Adobe Experience Manager, Oracle ATG, Hybris, Drupal, WordPress, etc.
11 Benefits of Managed Cloud Services
Here are the benefits of employing managed cloud services instead of maintaining an in-house team:
1. Cost savings
By outsourcing your cloud-managed services, you can reduce costly in-house maintenance costs. Maintaining a full-time in-house IT department is expensive and often unnecessary for small-to-medium-sized businesses with simple cloud networks. Outsourcing to an experienced managed cloud services provider is a great way to save on costs.
2. Predictable recurring monthly costs
Cloud-managed services are highly flexible, which means you can decide how much you want to outsource based on your existing system and the monthly bill you’re willing to pay. For instance, a tax service with traffic spikes during tax season will need more support over the first quarter of the year while less from the second to the fourth quarter. A private learning institute for working adults will need the most support in the evening when students attend school after work. Cloud-managed services can customize a fixed monthly service plan that fits your needs and budget in scenarios like these.
3. Faster access to the latest technologies
Migrating to the cloud is the first step in future-proofing your technologies. Next, you’ll need to keep up with the latest technology and services that are necessary to your business. An in-house team will have to spend company time learning and training in the face of a new technology or required upgrade. Cloud technicians at managed cloud service providers, on the other hand, are already prepared to handle the latest technology since that’s what they’re specialized in.
4. Custom and integrated service
Cloud-managed service vendors tend to be flexible. They often offer pay-per-service or payment plans, allowing your business to focus funds on growth. Some cloud-managed service providers provide a converged solution that allows for even more cost savings. These converged solutions may consist of network monitoring, security protection, or the setup of a new service area.
5. Strong infrastructure
Cloud MSPs like CMC Global provide a strong network infrastructure with 24/7 management. Cloud-managed service providers can monitor and scan your network for patch requirements, security, and more.
6. Centralized network services and applications
Managed cloud service providers manage all applications and servers in a central data center. This increased network availability raises employee production as your remote employees can access centralized data via the same network, and you can integrate storage and backup into a centralized network.
7. Coverage on all service levels
The longer a cloud-managed services vendor works with you, the more familiar they’ll become with your system network, which then allows for faster issue response times. Cloud service vendors also provide better control over service levels, performance-wise and maintenance-wise, so with a comprehensive service-level agreement, your service continuity can be guaranteed.
8. Disaster recovery
Cloud-managed services can guarantee that your data will be safe and secured across all cloud services and applications. In the face of a disaster in your current data center, data can be moved or recovered in other locations so your business and operations can continue with minimal downtime.
9. Fast response times
Your business can expect quick response times from enterprise-level monitoring and remote cloud services. Cloud-managed service providers can access, monitor, and fix virtually any network issue remotely. If an issue needs to be resolved locally, a technician is often deployed within the same business day.
10. Reliable Relationships
An ongoing relationship with a managed cloud service provider has several benefits. Managed services act as a bridge between you and your cloud provider. They serve as a single point of contact. Thus, you know where to go when problems arise.
As your vendor becomes familiar with your company over time, they can help your business grow rather than being just a service you call when something breaks. Your managed cloud service vendor has a vested interest in making sure your networks and systems are healthy, as well as delivering insights to help your bottom line.
11. 24/7 support
Managed cloud services use remote monitoring technologies to keep an eye on your systems day and night. Real-time alerts can ensure any problems that occur can be fixed before they have any serious impact on your business.
Without such constant monitoring, it’s not uncommon for a network issue to happen during rest hours. If your system goes down in the middle of the night, it can take some time before anyone finds out. The problem may not even be discovered until the next day after a significant loss has already been caused if you run a global business. Remote monitoring allows your managed cloud services to take instant corrective action as soon as there’s an alert.
11. One-Stop Shop
Cloud-managed services offer a turnkey solution for all your cloud computing needs. Hence, you most likely will need to work with only one vendor with one invoice. If you managed your cloud migration project in-house, you probably had to deal with several different vendors and faced frustration and cost overruns.
Managed Cloud Services vs. Similar Models
Managed cloud services can be confused with other similar business models. Let’s address those confusions in this section.
Managed Cloud Services vs. Cloud Outsourcing
A lot of people use the term managed cloud services and outsourced cloud services interchangeably. The confusion originates from the broadly similar structure of these business models. In both cases, a company delegates some of its cloud activities to a third-party vendor to increase productivity and reduce costs.
There is, however, a subtle difference. An outsourcing vendor will typically complete a predefined set of tasks in a certain amount of time and then get paid for its services for that period. A managed cloud service provider, on the other hand, typically looks after a customer’s whole IT infrastructure, making strategic decisions and actively sending recommendations to the customer to improve their business operations. Managed cloud services also charge a monthly subscription fee, not a one-time fixed cost.
Managed Cloud Services vs. Cloud Staff Augmentation
Organizations sometimes need to hire specialists or consultants to execute their projects. The practice of hiring additional staff to meet temporary work requirements is known as staff augmentation. Personnel hired for specific tasks get paid by the hour for their service and leave after the scope of work is completed.
Managed Cloud Services vs. Professional Cloud Services
Managed cloud service providers look after the day-to-day operation of an organization’s cloud system. Professional services, on the other hand, come in to solve specific IT problems. The difference lies in the scope of work and the timeframe. Professional cloud services generally work on one-time projects, whereas managed cloud services serve by a long-term contract.
How To Choose a Managed Cloud Service Provider: Key Considerations
Finding the right cloud service provider can be a daunting task. Many providers seem to offer the same thing, and if you are new to managed cloud services, you may not be sure what aspects are most important. In this section, we’ll walk you through several important considerations you should keep in mind when reviewing your options for cloud-managed service providers.
Skills and expertise
The provider you choose needs to be competent and familiar both with the cloud environment you’re operating in as well as your business operations. This means they need to understand industry best practices, how to integrate necessary tooling or applications, and be able to optimize their workflows.
Here is some important information that you should find out about:
- What cloud services is the vendor familiar with, and do they have formal certificates?
- What types of organizations do they mainly serve?
- How familiar is the vendor familiar with your industry’s operations and workflows?
Security and Compliance
Security and compliance should be one of the priorities when it comes to evaluating managed cloud service providers. A few questions that are necessary to get answers include:
- What security expertise and experience does the vendor have, including certification level?
- What compliance regulations do they specialize in, and do they offer services to audit compliance?
- What security measures are they employing to secure clients’ data and access?
- Do they have any built-in security solutions?
Transparency and control
Relying on a managed cloud service vendor to manage your cloud resources requires lots of trusts because the vendor generally has full access to your data and the functionality of your cloud services. This is why it’s vital to choose a provider that is transparent about how they will handle your systems.
Ideally, your in-house teams should collaborate with the vendor to help them understand how services are managed and monitor their activities in your system. This transparency helps lower reliance on the vendor and helps you verify whether they are providing the services they claimed.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Is the vendor willing to share performance reports and metrics about their activities?
- How do they inform you of changes, maintenance, or issues?
- Do they have a comprehensive non-disclosure agreement?
Managed Cloud Services With CMC Global
We hope that this article has provided you with valuable information about cloud-managed services.
If your company doesn’t have the expertise to manage your cloud services in-house, it’s best to find a well-managed cloud service provider to help you.
CMC Global is among the top three cloud-managed service providers in Vietnam. We operate a large certified team of cloud engineers – specializing in Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud – who are able to manage cloud environments and services and maintain their stability in the most cost-effective way.
For further information, fill out the form below, and our technical team will get in touch shortly to advise.