What is managed public cloud and how do you choose your perfect partner?

By Steve Denby, Head of Solution Sales at Node4
Public cloud platforms such as Azure and AWS provide enormous scope for flexibility and scaling as requirements change. For users, building their infras...

Public cloud platforms such as Azure and AWS provide enormous scope for flexibility and scaling as requirements change. For users, building their infrastructure on these agile opex models gives them a great opportunity to look at different cloud solutions.

But, understanding which systems can and should be migrated to the public cloud can present a range of challenges. Different applications need different platforms for optimal performance and many legacy applications are just not suited for the public cloud.

In addition, businesses need to ensure they manage both the performance and costs of running complex application environments across multiple cloud platforms. As systems are created or migrated to public cloud providers, they also need to have full confidence in their operational support model. One of the big questions for any organisation moving to public cloud is – can we do all this ourselves?


The challenge of ‘all-in’ strategies

While every type of cloud platform has its benefits, there are some drawbacks to going ‘all-in’ with the public cloud. With finances being one of the biggest factors for senior management to consider for every change that is made, it is important to be aware that some of the costs of using the public cloud can be hidden. When a business tries to scale up and use more capacity, for example, it may discover that its public cloud provider charges more than it was expecting for these peaks in usage.

On a day-to-day basis, the complexity of these cloud solutions is also an aspect to consider, as managing an ‘all-in’ or public/private hybrid solution can be challenging. To be able to use the public cloud to its full potential, users need to know where and how to access their data at all times. Now that GDPR is in full force, this is more significant than ever before, as businesses must ensure that they meet the compliance laws that have been laid out. But managing this alone can be tricky, and the consequences of not doing so can be devastating for some businesses if they are caught out with a data breach.

What is managed public cloud?

An alternative solution is to invest in managed public cloud services, where a third party provider works with a business to monitor and maintain its cloud usage. This option enables businesses to choose which IT functions are managed in-house, while leaving everything else to the managed provider. This is beneficial as the provider can work across a variety of platforms, including public, private and hybrid cloud, and has the expertise required to offer the best solution for each customer. Some of the services that a cloud provider can deliver include: migration of critical data, cost management, and data and security operations management.

Four key considerations when choosing a managed public cloud provider

1. Security standards

Having strong security measures in place is crucial when placing data under someone else’s care. Therefore, one of the first considerations to make when selecting a managed public cloud provider is whether its security processes are strong enough. Having accreditations and certifications, such as the ISO security accreditations, gives customers the confidence that the provider will manage their data with care.

2. Costs

The expense of a managed cloud provider’s solution is also one to take seriously, as it is important for third party services to be cost-effective. While a managed service could seem more expensive for a business than managing the cloud internally, having the support that these companies provide can be worth its weight in gold. In saying that, IT decision-makers need to choose the most viable option for their business, and so getting the best deal is important. Moving to metered billing on public cloud can often lead to an unexpected increase in costs, for instance, and so management and correct placement of workloads is crucial.

3. Continuity and backup services

It is important to set out a clear backup and disaster recovery strategy that supports the desire to decentralise applications and data. This should include rules for GDPR and data loss prevention as well as  take into account that SLAs with customers could be reliant on many agreements with different suppliers in the future, including Software as a Service providers, data centre providers, Infrastructure as a Service providers and public cloud services. Remaining compliant with internal rules, industry certification and government legislation all begins with a solid strategy.

4. Multiple choice

Another bonus of using a cloud provider is its knowledge and understanding of every cloud option, and therefore  when selecting a provider, a business should opt for one which has the ability to deliver a range of cloud services and various combinations of them. Choosing a provider that offers this gives more freedom for a business to create a solution that overall works best for them.

As more companies decide to make the move – whether fully or partially – to the public cloud, managed hosting providers will become increasingly valuable  to help make this transition as smooth and seamless as possible. Considering the speed at which this technology is advancing, having a team of experts on side to make sure businesses get the most out of it could be the wisest move to make.



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