Pros and Cons of Managed Cloud Services and Tips on Choosing The Best Provider

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If you use cloud solutions for your business, you might want to outsource a third-party provider to manage them. In this article, you’ll find lists of arguments for and against this approach.

If your business uses managed cloud services, it means that you outsource a provider to help you handle your clouds. From this article, you’ll get to know the impartial benefits and shortcomings of using this type of service and should be able to understand whether it suits you.

How Do Managed Clouds Function?

You let a managed cloud service provider access your cloud resources either directly or through a third-party operator. To pay for their services, you’ll normally need to purchase a subscription.

Management duties can include the following types of activity:

  • Migration
  • Configuration
  • Optimization
  • Security
  • Maintenance

You won’t need to hire an in-house team to carry out all these tasks. You won’t need to buy tools and software for your staff members, pay for their training and closely supervise them. You can outsource a provider to manage your public, private and hybrid clouds at any point of their adoption lifecycle.

Arguments in Favor of Managed Cloud Services

Resource Optimization

You’ll be able to easily determine the following aspects:

  • Services that best fit your workloads
  • The most cost-efficient pricing models
  • Ways of configuring services to optimize performance while cutting down expenses

Many service providers generate comprehensive reports or let you know performance metrics for your resources.

Integrating Cloud Services

This should be particularly important if you strive to create a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. Hybrid clouds get the best of on-premises and cloud resources. Multi-clouds combine cloud services from several providers. The configurations of such environments are much more complex, compared to single-cloud or cloud-only deployments. You should opt for managed cloud services if you’re planning to smoothly connect any new cloud resources to your existing systems.

Flat, Predictable Spending

Managed cloud services normally rely on tiered subscription systems. You can know for sure how much you’ll spend each month and will be able to plan your budget well in advance. It’s not unusual for providers to offer credit systems for their services. You might be able to select lower support during slower periods and more support during times of high demand, which is especially important for businesses with seasonal or fluctuating schedules.

Arguments Against Managed Cloud Services

High Cost

Unmanaged cloud services cost less than managed. But if you opt for the former, you’ll need to pay salaries to your in-house specialists who take care of your clouds. Your exact expenses on managed services will depend on the level of these services and the complexity of your systems.

Optimization at the Expense of Performance

When you try to optimize your cloud resources, you might need to put up with lower performance options or lower data storage tiers. This doesn’t mean that you will necessarily face any problems — but you should realize that you might face them. Processes might take longer than planned and your data might become slower to access. To prevent this issue, your provider should meticulously prioritize assets. Before signing a contract with a provider, you need to discuss with them the impacts of any optimizations that they might make.

Security and Privacy Risks

Public cloud services are built on a multi-tenant model. Each provider caters to multiple clients simultaneously and stores their data in one location. There is nothing wrong with it as long as providers have strict security measures in place. But if the security level is mediocre, some other client’s system might affect yours. This might happen if a provider accidentally uploads the wrong data while handling a migration. To avoid this problem, you should take proactive measures to protect your data and review the security measures your provider uses.

The Primary Factors to Pay Attention to When Selecting a Managed Cloud Service Provider

Skills and Expertise

For an ideal provider, it’s not enough to have experience in managing cloud services. They should also meet the following criteria.

  • Understand the specifics of your business
  • Know how to integrate tools and apps that you already use
  • Be able to adapt or optimize your workflows for cloud resources

To impartially assess the skills of a certain provider, you might want to ask them the following questions:

  • With businesses from which sphere do you most often collaborate with?
  • How familiar are you with tools and workflows that companies from my sphere use?
  • Which cloud services are you familiar with and how are you trained on them?

Security and Compliance

Your in-house team would probably confess that these aspects are the most challenging to manage. A third-party provider might cope with them much better than your own staff.

When talking to a provider, you should try to get answers to the following questions:

  • Which built-in security solutions do you offer?
  • Which security measures will you take to make sure that client data and access won’t be compromised through your access?
  • What is your team’s certification level, what expertise and experience do your staff members have?
  • Which compliance regulations do you specialize in and do you offer services to audit compliance?

Transparency and Control

Most likely, your provider will have full access to your data. You need to choose a company that you entirely trust because your business operations will significantly depend on their responsibility.

These questions should help you understand whether a particular provider suits you:

  • Are you ready to share performance reports and metrics about your services?
  • Do you rely on proprietary or open-source tools in your workflow?
  • How are you alerted to changes, maintenance or issues?
  • Which sort of training do you offer to improve in-house skillsets?

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article came in handy and now you better realize the strong and weak sides of managed cloud services. If you opt for this type of service, you should benefit from resource optimization, cloud integration and flat, predictable spending. On the flipside, your expenses might be high, you might face performance issues from time to time and multi-tenancy might cause data protection risks. The advantages that you’ll get from using managed cloud services outweigh their shortcomings, so you might want to give them a try.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.