It’s a quandary many organizations face regarding cloud and related IT services. They can go the do-it-yourself route, keeping most, if not everything, related to their IT environments in-house. Or, they can outsource some or all the responsibilities to a third-party company.
Both options can offer opportunities for cost savings and other benefits, depending on a company’s specific circumstances and business needs. The problem – one of them, anyway – is that IT operations today go far beyond applications and desktop computers. They’re now critical to executing and meeting key business initiatives.
That creates a challenge for many organizations. Their IT staffs already are busy deploying new software, trying to stay on top of constantly changing cyberthreats and compliance requirements, maintaining hardware, and handling all the other day-to-day tasks. Few have the time or expertise to step back and create a comprehensive strategy that aligns with and supports their organization’s overall goals, much less to ensure that it continues to drive business value.
That’s why it’s crucial for organizations to consider how outsourcing certain aspects of their IT operations to a managed services provider can help them beyond taking on the traditional, time-consuming routine IT tasks. The following are five benefits of managed services to consider when determining whether to outsource to a managed cloud services provider or go with the “do-it-yourself” approach to managing your cloud infrastructure and applications.
1. Free Up Internal Resources
In discussions about managed services, freeing up internal resources gets raised a lot, and for good reason. It’s one of the biggest benefits of IT outsourcing.
Offloading routine IT tasks, such as system monitoring and patching, enables in-house IT professionals to focus on the business, whether that entails developing products, improving operational efficiency, or any number of other strategic endeavors. These are the kind of initiatives that are essential to enabling organizations to undergo critical digital transformation and gain and maintain a competitive edge ─ and that benefit from the insider knowledge in-house teams have.
But it’s not just routine tasks that can be handed off to managed services providers to allow internal teams to focus on strategic initiatives. This is particularly true regarding cloud environments. Managed service providers can take on things like cloud security monitoring, reporting, and technical support, and forecasting, planning, optimizing, and allocating cloud spending effectively across various channels. This frees up internal IT staff time and enables organizations to get more value out of their cloud resources.
Rather than spending time researching best practices, trying to stay on top of trends that impact their cloud environments, and going through all the steps required to invest in the latest and greatest tools, internal IT departments can count on their managed services providers to take on those responsibilities. With less time spent on administrative tasks, in-house IT staff can get more done in general.
2. Tap Needed Expertise
A lot of IT projects are relatively straightforward and don’t require special expertise. However, there are those that run high on the complexity scale, tend to be time-consuming, and may require experience beyond what in-house IT professionals possess.
In many cases, these are high-profile projects with a lot riding on them. They could entail migrating regulated workloads to the cloud, or developing applications that employ advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence. If these projects aren’t executed correctly, they can result in business-disrupting downtime, product failures, or other serious consequences.
Midway through one of these kinds of projects is not the time to determine your staff doesn’t have the right skills to pull it off. However, it’s also not cost-effective for companies to hire full-time employees with the requisite experience and expertise just for a single project.
Using managed services solves the issue by allowing organizations to access the necessary project-specific resources. The key is to work with managed service providers that have proven success in the type of project you need delivered. In addition to benefiting from the provider’s experience and knowledge, by partnering with a managed services provider, your team can learn along the way. That saves on training time and adds to the IT staffs’ reservoir of knowledge that can be applied to future projects.
3. Improve and Optimize
A successful IT project doesn’t end with deployment to the cloud. Unfortunately, in-house teams often must move on to the next project or task. They aren’t available to provide the ongoing support and enhancements that help ensure that a solution is leveraged to its full potential and the business gets a full return on its technology investment.
For a managed services provider, this responsibility is often part of the project scope. Managed services providers are only successful if the cloud workloads they manage for you are successful. It’s in their interest to not only develop an optimal solution, but also take the added steps after deployment to ensure the solution works as expected and delivers the anticipated value.
The best managed services providers have broad and deep cloud expertise in ongoing optimization. That optimization encompasses both application and infrastructure performance, as well as cost control.
These companies employ tools such as user enablement frameworks, ROI reporting, cost audits, and continuous improvement to ensure the cloud solutions they develop and implement deliver long-term value.
4. Access Service When Needed
Many in-house IT staffs are available around the clock. However, that doesn’t mean they’re available to handle specific issues that might arise with a cloud environment or service. That often requires special expertise that might not be available within a company. Plus, internal IT staff are often already bogged down by a wide range of competing priorities. Even if they have the expertise to deal with an urgent issue, there’s no guarantee that they have the availability and time to do so.
Among the benefits of contracting for cloud managed services is that expert support is just a phone call, text, or email away. Most managed services providers that offer 24/7 technical support also provide service level agreements (SLAs) that specify the amount of time in which they’ll address customer requests.
Some of these companies also offer support arrangements that can be customized to customers’ needs. That may include delivery of support during specified times or a block of hours that can be used at any time. That kind of flexibility helps supplement internal IT resources and provides for access to the expertise needed, when it’s needed, without a long-term investment.
5. Enhance Security
This is another one of the areas where going with a managed services provider can make a huge difference. Managed services providers that specialize in IT security, including security specific to cloud operations, maintain highly experienced teams of cloud security experts. They are at the forefront of their fields and stay on top of emerging threats. They not only employ cybersecurity best practices, but they’re often instrumental in developing them.
These organizations invest in leading-edge defensive tactics and tools as well as mitigation strategies. The best among them take a multi-layered approach to IT security, employing a variety of resources to defend against both external and internal breaches across endpoints, at the edge, throughout the network, and anywhere and everywhere else.
Among the resources they can employ are security and vulnerability assessments to identify issues and fix them before they become problems. They can also take over the responsibility of monitoring your organization’s network and cloud infrastructure, maintaining the security integrity of your endpoints, and incorporating practices like application vulnerability monitoring, firewall management, and configuration management.
Some managed IT security services providers also have expertise in compliance with the security facets of various regulatory requirements and industry standards. They can help integrate the necessary controls to help meet HIPAA/HITECH, PCI-DSS, and a variety of other regulatory compliance needs.
More Reasons to Outsource Cloud Operations
We’ve covered just several of the issues to assess when determining if managed services are right for your company. There are many others, including the qualifications of the managed services provider. This is an area where ClearScale stands out – particularly if AWS serves as your current or desired cloud environment.
ClearScale is an AWS Premier Consulting Partner with 11 AWS Competencies, more than 100 technical AWS certifications, and a track record of over 900 successful cloud projects. This wealth of experience, combined with our extensive background managing customer cloud environments, uniquely positions us as an expert provider of AWS managed services.
To learn more about ClearScale Managed Services visit https://www.clearscale.com/services/cloud-managed-services.
If you’re still on the fence as to whether to go with managed services or keep everything in-house, this eBook will help. Download A More Efficient Approach to IT and the Cloud: The Case for Managed Services now.
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