The Cloud Evolution of Managed Services Providers

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With the rise of cloud computing, many analysts had written off the traditional role of Managed Services Providers (MSPs). As Public Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) became increasingly powerful, reliable and affordable, it appeared that MSPs would be unable to compete.

The original function of an MSP was to remotely manage a customer’s hosted technology, infrastructure and applications, generally on a proactive basis under a monthly subscription model. This approach has enjoyed a successful run, considering the remarkable changes in technology over the past decade.

But not any longer. In order to remain competitive in today’s cloud-based environment, the MSP is evolving from a provider that simply manages your infrastructure, to one that blends cloud services with expert advice and hands-on assistance, as well as providing services that were originally performed in-house.

Many organisations have found it difficult to fully embrace the cloud, because there are a range of core business process and critical applications that don’t easily conform to a cloud environment. These systems still demand ongoing management, support and visibility, as well as ensuring compliance with security, privacy and data retention requirements. It is in mixed environments like this, where transition to the cloud is especially complex, that modern MSPs have a continued role to play.

One example is the e-commerce sector, which involves multiple highly customised elements and applications. Over time, these elements are tweaked and developed, and potentially moved onto the cloud, resulting in a diverse mix of hosted, cloud, on-premises and SaaS platforms. Since management of such complex environments is beyond the skillset of most organisations, it creates an ideal opportunity for an MSP with experience in managing diverse infrastructures to step in and provide the service.

For the customer this means predictable monthly costs, and no more infrastructure to manage in-house. In addition to management, the MSP can also offer advice on the best technologies to deploy for specific functions, as well as guidance on IT policies and procedures. By outsourcing these tasks to the MSP, modern organisations can better focus on their core business activities.

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