With the global cloud managed services market projected to grow by 17 percent in the next 5 years, it’s evident that many companies are exploring it as key to strategic growth. Understanding the different opportunities provided by cloud managed services can set the stage for a plan that can lead to innovative solutions.
According to Research and Markets’ report, “Global Cloud Managed Services Market Insights, Opportunity Analysis, Market Shares and Forecast, 2017 – 2023,” the industry will significantly grow by 2020 because of the demand for more efficient and less costly alternatives to traditional on-site management services to handle data access and storage.
The report said the demand also is spurred by the desire to cut down on the challenges facing data center, infrastructure, communication and networking organizations for integrated services. With the growing adoption of Big Data and analytics and advancements in cloud computing and mobility, that type of growth won’t subside in the foreseeable future. Other studies reveal that spending on public cloud services will reach $141 billion in sales by 2019, up from nearly $70 billion in 2015.
In line with the Research and Markets’ report, experts are projecting that cloud managed hosting could become a $120 billion business by the year 2020.
What are cloud managed services?
Before exploring the best options for cloud managed services, it’s important to have a clear definition. To put it in simple terms, someone will be managing your cloud services — either an internal team of experts or outside resources.
With cloud managed services, you may have a mix of those options — with an outsourced managed service provider (MSP) providing resources and solutions through a cloud platform. The options could range from managing the cloud and network operations to managing mobility and applications.
As a result, the look of cloud managed services could vary significantly from company to company, depending upon the needs.
In the absence of cloud managed services, a company could decide to personally hire the experts needed to manage its cloud infrastructure in-house., including computing, storage, operating systems, and networks..
The company also has the option of dispersing those functions among numerous providers, with internal team members overseeing the management of those functions.
Cloud managed services, as many companies are realizing, allows businesses to turn over those IT responsibilities to a third party so that they can focus on their core competencies. Under this arrangement, the day-to-day functions would be outsourced. The benefits often cited included increased efficiency.
An important distinction to make here is that cloud managed services differ from cloud computing, which is based on a subscription model which provides the use of a tool only.
Pros and cons of cloud managed services
Before adopting cloud managed services as a solution, it’s important for companies to consider the advantages and disadvantages cited by various companies. The following is a summary of some of those considerations.
Efficiency and expediency. Companies looking to move forward with strategic initiatives can move forward more quickly with cloud managed services, while the internal team can focus on innovative plans. Through agile IT, managed cloud providers also can repair, access or monitor network issues remotely 24/7.
Less control. While cloud managed services offers the benefit of giving the internal team the ability to focus on its core competencies, some companies may see this as a drawback because they feel they’re letting up some of their control over all aspects of their operations.
Security concerns. Factors that could be seen as areas of concern cloud managed services are those commonly associated with using the cloud, including privacy and security. However, security concerns have subsided as a top concern for many companies as the solution becomes more mainstream and viable.
Cost savings. One of the leading advantages of outsourcing through cloud managed services is the ability to save significantly on the costs associated with employee IT staff internally to run and manage the same functions.
How to choose a cloud managed services provider
When choosing managed cloud hosting, it’s important to keep certain criteria in mind. They include the following attributes.
Consider the type of data you want to store in the cloud. Before choosing a provider, take inventory of the type of data you want to store and whether you want it in the public or private cloud — or a combination of the two. Compliance issues and privacy (including clients’ personal information) also could be top considerations before moving forward.
Compare the vendors’ expertise. It’s important to take into consideration the vendors’ expertise with compliance in your industry, as well as their expertise in workload, infrastructure and application management. Discuss your company’s specific needs in determining your level of comfort in their ability to meet your challenges.
Wide range of managed services offerings. Ensure that the vendor is offering cloud managed services beyond the basics, including providing expertise with management of specialized workloads and governance. The vendor also should demonstrate that it is leading in keeping up with industry innovations and offerings.
Check managed cloud storage provider’s security measures. Assess the provider’s security measures, including the availability of a full-time security team, security cameras, encryption, and multi-factor authentication for access.
Provider’s availability for consultation. A good partnership is essential to a new arrangement with a managed cloud service provider. Determine how they respond to day-to-day questions as well as emergencies.
Review service level agreements. Assess the provider’s SLA, which should outline levels of downtime, areas of financial responsibility on the vendors behalf for outages, and other contract specifications.
With cloud managed services, your company could set the foundation for a more efficient process in managing innovative initiatives and day-to-day operations.