The cloud offers an attractive array of benefits: agility, scalability, cost savings, and more, encouraging businesses to adopt cloud computing for their operation and innovation. However, most non-IT businesses lack the technological skills for navigating the vast and ever-evolving cloud landscape. This is where Cloud Managed Service Providers (MSPs) come in, acting as your trusty guides to ensure a smooth and successful cloud journey.
Choosing the right MSP is as well an important decision just as deciding to migrate to the cloud. With a plethora of providers vying for your attention, the selection process can quickly become overwhelming. This article attempts to prepare you with the questions to be asked before shortlisting an MSP.
Key Considerations While Selecting Your Managed Service Provider
Expertise and Specialization
An expert Managed Service Provider is crucial to the success of your cloud strategy. A partner who has already worked with enterprises from your or similar industry can bring a lot of experience to the table while solving a typical industry-specific challenge. Integrating solutions into existing tools, tracking for common glitches, and overall E-governance of your cloud resources can be seamlessly managed by an experienced partner without trying to learn the basics.
Security and Compliance
Data security is a very important factor when it comes to operating in a public cloud. Check for the security protocols and data privacy policies of your prospective managed service provider. Ensure your MSP proactively employs strong security techniques like encryption, access control, and threat monitoring. Compliance is another factor to be fulfilled in today’s world of data privacy and protection. Ensure that your MSP is aligned with the security and compliance standards of your organization and holds active compliance certifications like ISO 27018, ISO 27001, GDPR, HIPAA, and other industry-specific standards.
Scalability and Performance
Scalability is of paramount importance when operating in a cloud ecosystem. Your provider should be able to scale as required with the surge in traffic. They should be able to effectively plan the deployment of resources for scaling with maximum utilization for cost optimization. An experienced Cloud Managed Service Provider (CMSP) will be able to provide recommendations for the efficient utilization of infrastructure and maximum throughput.
Support and Communication
Transparent communication and uninterrupted support is the key to a successful partnership between you and your MSP. Check for round-the-clock availability of your MSP, reaction times, and routes of help. Take an account of their modification management strategy, routine maintenance plan, and response to service interruptions. A SPOC should be established between the MSP and your business for better team collaboration and timely problem solving.
Budget and Pricing
Everything a business does is ultimately for better pricing and a partnership with a cloud MSP is not beyond that. Before even you start you must have a tentative budget in mind that you would like to invest for your managed services. Check for the pricing model if it is subscription-based or pay-as-you-go. Look at the perks offered in terms of add-ons such as bandwidth, storage, maintenance, extended subscription, and technical reports.
Identifying Your Organization’s Need for Cloud Managed Service Provider
Type of Managed Service Provider
Managed Services for Cloud have different implications for different use cases. It is important to identify the purpose behind hiring a cloud Managed Services Provider. Managed services provide personalized services to their customers. Key reasons to hire an MSP can be for migration of infrastructure to the cloud, expanding businesses over a global network, or ensuring seamless operation with instantaneous resource scaling and distributed backup. The budgetary goals should also be identified when selecting a managed service provider.
Business Need for a Managed Service Provider
Not all functionalities of a business may need a cloud migration. Keeping the system as it is and functional for the time being while attempting to replace functionalities with SaaS or cloud service can be one way to go. Sometimes an organization may prioritize application modernization before cloud migration. There might be certain components that needn’t be refactored or even re-platformed. An expert managed service provider is able to take all these factors into consideration and bring out a meticulously done migration plan.
Finding Synergy Between Hybrid Cloud and Managed Cloud Services
Hybrid cloud is a reality for most organizations today. The way they leverage new and different infrastructure options varies, but they’re all starting to experience the additional complexity associated with hybrid cloud. That complexity is raising concerns about the ability of IT teams to deliver on business initiatives that their organizations require, and many of those concerns center around effective management in a hybrid and multi-cloud world. These disparate settings may find common ground with the use of the services by an MSP. With careful, intentional planning and adequate resources, managed cloud services can improve developer velocity, simplify operational overhead, and retain future flexibility to move workloads where they’re best suited.
Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Managed Service Provider
Before shortlisting a managed service provider for your cloud you can ask the following questions to have clarity on the quality of service being provided.
Do you provide regular updates and maintenance?
Before committing to a contract, make sure to ask the service provider this crucial question. Check if the managed cloud provider takes care of regular updates and maintenance to keep your IT infrastructure in sync with the latest industry standards. A trustworthy managed service provider will consistently assess and oversee your system, addressing any software vulnerabilities through timely maintenance checks.
What add-on values can be expected from this service?
Check if the service provider has a “fix-as-it-breaks” mindset or if they take a proactive approach that focuses on stopping problems before they happen and making ongoing enhancements. Do they go beyond basic monitoring and device management? For instance, using advanced technologies like smart analytics can prevent issues by studying patterns of failure across platforms and processes, giving insight into areas where both the customer and the service provider can get better. Look for technologies that offer features like smart alert systems, automatic sorting and prioritizing of work, and automated handling of issues.
Are you ready to support multivendor, multicloud environments and foster strong relationships?
In today’s IT setups, there’s often a mix of traditional IT (made up of hardware, software, and network products) and various public and private clouds from different providers. A good service provider needs solid experience in dealing with diverse technology from different vendors and cloud platforms. Even more crucial is having strong relationships with top vendors, ensuring availability now and insights into the future direction of products and emerging technologies. A truly unbiased service provider can act like a middleman, assisting you in planning, purchasing, managing, and operating across various cloud models and providers to find the best fit for your business.
Do you support consistent global service delivery, with options for local resources?
Picking a global managed services provider is a smart move for companies looking to grow in today’s economy, no matter their size. Having the ability to operate globally comes with several benefits, like quickly setting up in new places, efficiently handling projects that span multiple countries, offering support in local languages for branches or subsidiaries, and keeping resources and data in-country to meet regulatory and legal needs. When choosing a provider, find out if they use the same processes everywhere and how teams in different locations work together and communicate.
Is there a service-level agreement?
One big plus of managed services is that the service provider takes on the responsibility for performance. Instead of worrying about how the service is done, focus on what the provider delivers. This approach encourages the provider to come up with new ideas, enhance service delivery, and cut costs for both parties. In return, the services provider should be ready to officially promise to meet your service-level needs—and support those promises with financial penalties or other consequences if they don’t meet those service level agreements (SLAs).
Cloud Managed Service Providers can be your key to unlocking the full potential of the cloud. By following these steps and choosing wisely, you can confidently navigate the cloud terrain, leaving confusion behind and embracing a future of agility, scalability, and innovation. Remember, the right MSP is an investment, not just an expense. Choose wisely, and watch your business soar to new heights.