5 Questions You Should Ask Before Choosing a Managed Service Provider

Today, businesses operate in a complex tech-driven competitive environment using a plethora of applications and clouds. Managing this distributed infrastructure in a secure manner is a complex and resource intensive exercise. Unfortunately, the IT departments are often understaffed and overworked dealing with this complexity. There are multiple logs to monitor and constant alerts can lead to alert fatigue.

Amidst all this complexity, organizations often feel the need to automate and outsource their operational routines and give a breathing space to the IT staff to focus on other critical areas. This is where managed services providers (MSPs) come into the picture.

According to Gartner, “The number of cloud managed service providers will triple by 2020.” It is possible that your organization is also looking forward to onboarding a managed service provider; if not, here are a few more reasons why you should consider the services of an MSP:

Efficient IT operations

It is ironical that though organizations choose cloud for higher efficiency and RoI, there are reports which suggest that around one-third of the organizations are not even monitoring it. Many of these organizations lack a reliable model to calculate the RoI of their cloud investments. Under or over-provisioning of resources is a constant challenge. It requires considerable expertise to optimize and make the most of cloud investments; MSPs can help you in this direction with granular and structured visibility into cloud resources and their consumption. They can provide reports helping you measure the impact over a period.

Support for bimodal initiatives

According to Gartner, most technology initiatives fall under the two broad classifications; mode 1, (tried and tested) and mode 2 (exploratory and innovative). An MSP can strengthen your bimodal capabilities - whether you are migrating your core apps to the cloud or want to explore new revenue streams with a major disruption.

Hiring an MSP? Ask these 5 questions first

The managed services market is huge and fragmented. Numerous vendors are offering a range of services and choosing the right vendor can be a complex decision. Your organization should look forward to working with a trusted advisor who can support your long term technology initiatives on an end-to-end basis. Here are a few questions that you should find answers for making the critical decision:

1.What is the domain expertise of the MSP?

The MSP should be able to understand all the intricate details of your business, its unique functional challenges, the competitive landscape it operates in, and offer best-of-breed solutions that are optimized to suit your requirement. You should evaluate if the MSP has a ready pool of skilled personnel that can support specific technologies relevant to your business domain. The domain expertise of the MSP becomes more critical for highly regulated industries such as banking, healthcare, and government.

2. How does your MSP deliver cloud management services?

It is good to know what the MSP offers; the next question should be - how the MSP offers all these services. You should evaluate how your MSP offers cloud management and optimization of resources with a common platform. This platform should simplify self-service for commissioning servers, load balancing, provisioning of middleware, database management, and improve governance along with the full visibility of costs, compliance, and security.

3. Is your MSP offering multi-cloud and hybrid cloud management?

A lot of enterprises prefer Azure for ease of deploying Windows workloads. However, they would like to leverage AWS and Google Cloud Platform for their large portfolio of services. While this approach has its benefits, integration between various platforms is not easy. Similarly, keeping track of security also becomes a challenge within Hybrid environments. You should evaluate if your MSP can meet your interoperability, security, and management concerns related to multi-cloud management. Further, you should explore if your MSP is capable of engaging in one-time consultancy and support or has the required expertise for a long term multi-cloud management role.

4. Does the MSP have requisite certifications or accreditations?

Every industry has certain specific security and compliance requirements. While the data privacy and security concerns remain valid everywhere, their severity and the governing policies can vary. The easiest way to evaluate if an MSP can meet your security and compliance requirement is to check third-party certifications. For instance, most MSPs conform to ISO 9001 (for quality management systems) or ISO 27001 (for information security management systems) standards. Similarly, you may check compliance with PCI DSS, HIPAA, GDPR, etc. depending on your business requirement.

5. How good is your MSPs technology services roadmap?

The managed services market has come a long way from its initial days of colocation and renting of racks. Today, containers and micro-services have drastically changed the application deployment model and are offering higher efficiency for cloud utilization than ever before. However, the market is still evolving and there is a growing business demand for integrated end-to-end services. Therefore, you should look forward to partnering with a vendor who seems open and eager to leverage advances in machine learning, IoT, and AIOps.

Who you choose to be your managed service provider will ultimately determine the benefit that your business receives and the overall experience for your customers, employees, and you as an organization. You should understand all the risks, features, service offerings, and the drawbacks before you finally decide to take the relationship forward with one of them. From freeing the internal resources, increasing and streamlining efficiency to reducing operational costs, a right Managed Service Provider can offer you a wide range of benefits.

Cloud4C provides managed services across the world’s leading cloud platforms like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform helping you deal with the complexities of the multi-cloud architecture. Our COE structure ensures inch-wide, mile-deep expertise to manage the entire technology stack round the clock, allowing you to focus on the business while leaving the infrastructure management to us. Our centralized support system and customizable cloud managed services portfolio can increase productivity with a reduction in cost.

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