Moving from Operating to Innovating in the Cloud – Managed Cloud Services

March 12, 2018 - by Synoptek

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Just as the experts predicted: Cloud computing is dominating enterprise IT. Nearly all organizations (95%) are using cloud, and 85% have a strategy to use multiple clouds. By 2020, corporate “no-cloud” policies will be as rare as “no internet” policies are today. “Cloud first” strategies are now ubiquitous in the enterprise. Why? Because the cloud delivers greater flexibility and agility. It increases IT performance and scalability, while enabling new efficiencies and cost savings. And the cloud provides a robust platform with security and compliance that’s better in most cases than on-premises standards. But what if these kinds of promises aren’t being realized from your cloud  strategy? When you look beneath the covers of continuously increasing cloud adoption rates, the ugly reality is that many enterprises’ cloud expectations are not being met. Their costs are higher than anticipated, and they don’t know why. Their cloud operations are less efficient than they should be. They’re finding they don’t have the skills or resources to implement or manage a successful cloud strategy. They worry about security and compliance because they don’t know where hosted cloud security ends and their corporate responsibility begins, or where their data will be stored.

Many businesses turn to a cloud consultant for answers. But simply hiring someone to migrate your applications and workloads to the cloud doesn’t guarantee a cost-optimized and security-hardened solution. Harnessing the power of the cloud for the greatest possible return takes working with a Managed Cloud Service provider with the expertise and resources to capture the full capabilities.

What are Managed Cloud Services?

A well developed Managed Cloud Service model is designed to deliver these key value propositions: risk mitigation, expertise, optimized costs, compliance assistance, and Digital Transformation guidance. This last item, Digital Transformation, deserves extra focus. While there is much talk about Digital Transformation, seldom does that talk focus on “why” companies want to digitally transform. After all, it sounds so disruptive. But the most important implication of Digital Transformation lies in finding ways to improve the way a business does business using information technologies. It could just as easily be called Digital Improvement. That is certainly the goal.

What is a Managed Cloud Services provider responsible for (on the technical side)?

  • Setting implementation goals, guiding architecture development, and providing a complete cloud migration roadmap
  • Monitoring, alerting, and reporting on systems, security, and compliance based on best practices as well as industry and government regulation requirements
  • Performing patch and change management as well as ensuring cost and utilization optimization
  • Handling backup and disaster recovery
  • Proactively communicating as well as providing 24/7 support and monitoring
  • Deploying, scaling, and managing applications and operational tools, including industry-specific and marketing platforms, among others

Moving from Operating to Innovating

It’s no secret, there is an IT skills gap hindering productivity and innovation in the cloud. Considering all the tasks and responsibilities the cloud entails, most IT teams  just do not have the bandwidth and other resources necessary to utilize the full capacity of cloud for innovation. Leveraging an experienced Managed Cloud Services provider empowers your staff with the flexibility to explore and embrace other opportunities in the cloud. Many IT leaders are accustomed to worrying each day about whether all of their servers are operating, or if any of the drives have failed or did the backups run last night, but those concerns will be gone. Instead you’ll be focused on which of your projects are on track, and which require your attention. Where do you have opportunities to reduce cost by limiting resource allocation? Are there any requests in your queue that you haven’t responded to yet? You’ll find you have switched over from completely reactive and putting out fires to completely proactive and finding out where you can innovate to enhance business operations.

Choosing wisely

When choosing a Managed Cloud Services provider to address your biggest cloud management and operational challenges, don’t let sheer size be your guide. Choose a proven partner with a long track record, extensive professional references, top-notch resources, strong relations with each Cloud platform provider, and a strong security mindset.

Here are a few considerations and questions you need to ask to vet a potential Managed Cloud Service provider:

  1. STRATEGIC BUSINESS PLANNING: Does the service provider have the expertise and tools to provide data analytics, cost analysis and recommendations that will accelerate your cloud selection process?
  2. ON-GOING OPTIMIZATION: Once you are in the cloud, will the service provider perform usage, performance, and cost analysis, along with optimization recommendations?
  3. INFORMATION GOVERNANCE: Who is allowed access to which assets and how are they permitted to use them? Can the service provider ensure that you will meet security, compliance, and audit regulations? Does the service provider have staff to monitor for security issues and remediate them?
  4. PLATFORM INNOVATION: After you’ve migrated workloads and applications to the cloud you may come to realize that there are superior opportunities available to you in the form of platforms you could never use on-premise. Will the service provider help you evaluate these opportunities and take advantage of the most meaningful ones.

Use your answers to these questions to guide your managed cloud service provider selection and help you determine which cloud service or services best meet your short- and long-term business goals.

Ask Synoptek

If you’ve been considering the move to the cloud, or even if you’ve moved to a cloud environment that you’re not certain is delivering everything it can, talk to a Synoptek Advisor today.

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About the Author

Synoptek is an established firm that provides information systems consulting and IT management services. Synoptek and its predecessors have been providing these services for 23 years.