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Managed Cloud Services Provider vs.  Self-Service Cloud: What's Right for You?

Growing organizations must decide between working with a managed cloud services provider or managing everything on their own. This decision isn’t always easy to make, and it can have major implications for business performance, security, and scalability. 

Increasingly, however, companies are enlisting managed cloud service providers. Demand for managed services on Amazon Web Services (AWS) is projected to reach $1.8 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 13.8%. AWS, meanwhile, expects more companies to move to the cloud, in part because of generative AI. Still, it’s one thing to want help with cloud management, and another to know how to get started.

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between managed cloud services and a DIY approach. Learn more about the role of managed cloud partnerships, when it’s time to look for help, and what to look for in a provider.

What’s the Role of a Managed Cloud Services Provider?

A managed cloud services provider relieves businesses from managing their cloud environment alone. There are distinct benefits for choosing such a partnership over managing this infrastructure yourself.

Partnering on cloud service management helps businesses focus on core operations and strategic initiatives. A specialized provider handles the day-to-day operations, along with infrastructure management, security monitoring, compliance, and cost optimization. 

A trusted managed cloud services provider can provide valuable expertise and experience. They should have a team of dedicated professionals who are available around the clock. These experts will understand the intricacies of ‌AWS and other cloud environments and can navigate complexities with ease. By relying on their knowledge, your business ensures that your cloud infrastructure is well-maintained, optimized, and secure.

Downsides of Self-Managed Cloud Hosting 

While a self-service cloud environment can offer greater control and potential cost savings, it’s not always the right choice for businesses. Without the right knowledge, self-managed teams may struggle to keep up with changes in cloud best practices or hire and retain in-house expertise. Without proper resources, tasks like managing infrastructure, security, and compliance can quickly become time-consuming or even overwhelming. 

Businesses that lack experience with cloud management platforms may overspend or underuse cloud resources. Poor resource estimates, for example, can lead to overprovisioning and increased costs. Companies that self-service the cloud might overlook cost-saving measures such as reserved instances or spot instances, resulting in higher operational expenses and poor resource allocation.

Without the right talent in place, your self-service cloud might suffer from inadequate security measures, leaving it more vulnerable to cyberattacks, data breaches, and other threats. Similarly, your security team might not regularly update infrastructure or security measures based on new information, such as patches. 

As your growing business becomes more complex, so does managing cloud operations. Businesses may struggle to scale their infrastructure effectively, impacting performance and growth. The right partner can help these businesses adjust by designing and implementing scalable solutions that align with their strategic goals.

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What to Look for in a Managed Cloud Services Provider

Managed cloud services providers should offer comprehensive support and expertise. Here are services and capabilities to look for in a partner.  

24/7 Support and Availability

One of the primary advantages of partnering with a managed cloud services provider is real-time, around-the-clock support. These companies have a dedicated team of experienced professionals, often geographically dispersed, so they can address any issue at any time. This on-call support lets businesses focus on other matters and reduces internal staffing needs while placing ‌cloud infrastructure management in capable hands.

Infrastructure Optimization

Infrastructure optimization goes beyond basic maintenance and monitoring. When you partner with a managed cloud services provider, they take on the responsibility of fine-tuning your infrastructure to achieve maximum efficiency, performance, and cost-effectiveness.

Optimizing infrastructure involves analyzing factors such as resource utilization, workload distribution, and performance bottlenecks. A reliable managed cloud services provider will assess your setup, identify areas for improvement, and implement changes to your cloud environment that eliminate unnecessary costs and improve overall performance.

Infrastructure optimization can also include designing and implementing scalable solutions for your growing needs. For example, a managed cloud services provider can help you architect your infrastructure for scalability, ensuring that your environment can handle increased workloads without compromising performance or incurring unnecessary costs.

Security and Compliance

Trying to handle cloud security and compliance on your own can be overwhelming and risky. Most providers have specialized teams dedicated to managed cloud service security and compliance. These teams are highly knowledgeable and experienced.

Managed cloud service providers keep your systems up to date with the latest security threats and vulnerabilities, and they continuously monitor your cloud infrastructure for risks. They establish security frameworks, follow protocols, and implement industry standards to safeguard your cloud environment. Additionally, these providers conduct regular vulnerability assessments and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in your infrastructure and proactively address them.

Managed cloud service providers also have in-depth knowledge of different compliance requirements and which ones apply to your company and cloud. They can help you navigate the complex landscape of compliance so that you’re not caught off-guard by regulations.

Cost Optimization

Infrastructure optimization aims to improve the technical aspects of your cloud environment, such as scalability, storage, and network performance. Meanwhile, cost optimization focuses on financial aspects, such as reducing operational expenses and maximizing the value of the cloud.

If your team can’t analyze usage patterns and identify areas for cost savings, you’ll wind up with inaccurate estimates of spending and cloud utilization. This leads to increased operational expenses and can even hurt your growth. Managed cloud service providers use advanced cost-optimization tools to evaluate your cloud usage data more effectively. They identify opportunities to optimize cloud costs and maximize cost savings, such as leveraging AWS savings plans or EC2 spot instances. These providers can also provide resource-allocation recommendations to avoid over- or underprovisioning.

Scalability and Growth

Increasingly important for companies isn't just about getting a cloud environment installed. It’s also about making sure your infrastructure can scale alongside your business. This can be difficult to manage with a self-service cloud model, but a trusted managed cloud services provider will have the necessary expertise and experience. They’ll understand the intricacies of cloud architecture and can offer solutions that align with your goals for today and tomorrow.

With a cloud service management provider, you get a deep understanding of cloud technologies and the ability to architect your infrastructure for seamless scalability. Your provider will design systems that can handle increased workloads, implement auto-scaling mechanisms, and optimize computing resources for your business’ stage of growth.

Managed cloud services providers should also have extensive experience with cloud-native services, including serverless computing and containerization, that enable rapid scaling without significant infrastructure changes. With this flexibility, your business can quickly scale operations based on changing demands.

Access to a Network of Relationships

Building relationships with key cloud players, including AWS, takes time and effort. An effective managed cloud services provider has established relationships and partnerships, particularly within the AWS network. They can provide you with the resources and support you need to get started on your AWS journey.

With a direct line of communication, a managed cloud services provider can engage with AWS support teams on behalf of your business, ensuring faster resolution of technical issues. This direct access to AWS support minimizes downtime and allows your business to focus on other day-to-day responsibilities.

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Where to Start Your Managed Cloud Services Journey

It’s time to find a managed cloud services partner if you’re dealing with rapidly rising cloud costs, poor performance or availability, or a spate of unresolved problems and unanswered questions. 

As you move from self-service cloud to managed services, you want to find a partner you can trust. Start by looking for providers recognized for their quality service, such as Mission Cloud's Premier Tier Services Partner distinction, which highlights proven technical expertise and demonstrated customer experience.

Beyond technical capabilities, find out what other customers are saying by browsing customer success stories, reviews, and testimonials. These stories offer real-world examples of how the provider has helped businesses overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Talk to potential providers and ask them questions about their services and how they’ve helped businesses in your position. With all of this preparation, you can better understand the provider’s capabilities and how they align with your needs — and make the right choice for your cloud infrastructure.

Are you ready for the next step of your cloud managed services journey? Connect with a cloud advisor today. They’ll work closely to understand your current environment and business objectives, along with personalized recommendations on how Mission Cloud can support your growth, optimize your infrastructure, and drive long-term success.

Author Spotlight:

Erin Coleman

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