As enterprises large and small create plans for their future IT needs, one trend is clear: cloud computing will be front and center. What is less clear to these same enterprises is how they will choose to manage their new cloud-focused environment. Experts roundly agree that the future will be dominated by hybrid IT environments, with hybrid cloud spending expected to nearly triple from 2016 to 2021. Data center environments will not go away entirely, but the rest of the workloads are moving to public and private clouds. This means future environments will be increasingly complex, requiring experts who possess a broad range of skills, resources and management models.
This is where an MSP can come in. In a previous blog post, we discussed the benefits that an MSP can provide its clients. But just as technology is evolving, so is the MSP, and while some enterprises may choose to manage their cloud environment themselves, this can be an overwhelming task between data centers, private clouds, and one or more public clouds. So one of the key roles that we are taking on for clients is to deliver and manage an open, flexible storage and computing solution customized to their unique needs.
Here are the 4 main reasons to move to a managed service provider:
Efficiencies at a Lower Cost
Buying cloud services on demand is generally cheaper than buying hardware and software upfront, and it can provide additional savings operationally as businesses are no longer responsible for infrastructure and application upkeep. But those cost savings mean nothing if they are not accompanied by reliability, scalability and customer service availability.
Reduction in Risk
By running on the latest hardware, in a data center built to handle not only everyday usage requirements, but anomalies from power outages to earthquakes, a cloud-based infrastructure generally is much more reliable than a small business can maintain in-house. Security also plays into the reliability equation. It can be hard for a small business to keep up with the latest vulnerabilities and hack attacks; cloud providers and MSP’s live and breathe security and have the resources and tools to keep your systems up and running and safe.
To be fair, cloud migration isn’t without its risks. Moving important systems, applications and data off-site can raise security or privacy concerns. If your IT systems are particularly proprietary, they might not move easily into the cloud – at least not without some added steps. But the right MSP will have experience with this and will create the best fitting cloud management strategy to reduce the turmoil associated with what can otherwise be a stressful transformation.
Scalability is key advantage of moving to a hybrid cloud environment; one that is well-suited to companies relocating due to growth concerns. If you’re outgrowing your physical location, it’s likely you’re outpacing your IT capabilities as well – not to mention the ability of your IT staff to keep up with software and server upgrades and other IT maintenance chores. Cloud environments can be turned up (or down) on-demand, as needed, with the latest upgrades, patches and fixes already deployed. The cloud is also well-suited when you aren’t moving locations but have a growing business and need to scale an IT environment.
Leading-edge technologies and processes
Companies now realize that outsourcing some or all IT functions to an MSP does not lead to a loss of control over vital business functions but rather ensures companies avail themselves of the industry best practices, standardization, and application support. At the enterprise level, you cannot afford to miss a beat on compliance and security. Both have to be in a state where they are being monitored regularly and efficiently.
Problems can crop up quickly in the public cloud; environments get stood up and killed off all the time. It’s not enough for an MSP to do a security audit once a year (although that is also necessary); it has to be managing all the time. If security and compliance are not in a good place, you will be flying blind. Working with an MSP will allow your leadership to focus on core competencies, grow the business, and improve profitability while your MSP stays up-to-date on the quickly changing technology and works to secure a reasonable ROI on technology investment.
Like a physical move, an IT migration shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. But weighing the benefits against the risks, it’s almost always the right move. In a time of greater demands and shrinking budgets, companies must embrace new concepts and approaches for delivering IT services, and MSPs need to offer the right mix of services to meet user demands in a fully hybrid cloud model.
Have more questions about transitioning to a hosted environment or working with an MSP? Our experts are at your service and standing by.