Integrated cloud services are altering the way businesses consume IT services. This is especially true for enterprises that are opting to build out cloud-as-a-service solutions rather than investing in new physical infrastructure, like data centers. In fact, according to an article written by William Fellows and Carl Brooks of 451 Research, many enterprise businesses are turning to “third-party vendors to host business services, using private and public tenant options to complement or replace on-premises systems rather than source hardware and software themselves.”
The growing acceptance of the cloud is allowing for a better alignment of business and technology, resulting in the creation of new products. Products which aid in the transition away from data centers and toward digital infrastructure. Fellows and Brooks describe the push for the cloud as “the biggest IT opportunity in decades.”
While moving to the cloud has become the new standard, it is not without its challenges. According to the 451 research, there are several remaining hurdles for businesses (and especially their CIOs) to overcome.
The research done by Fellows and Brooks suggests that while businesses are ready to migrate to the cloud, the issues related to data protection and overall cloud security remain a major concern. As we published in our Security Reminders for the Modern MSP, “security standards are no longer the sole responsibility of the security guys,” and CIOs are now in the hot seat. The concern is real, and the question about whether or not data can be protected once it leaves a firewall and lives in the cloud should be taken seriously. This concern also needs to be addressed with respect to discussions about cloud solutions.
The good news is that, when offering public cloud services to SMBs and other customers, MSPs can lean on the reliability and protections that enterprise solutions have to offer. For example, 451 reports that “AWS and Azure are secure by default because they have a vested business interest in being as durable as possible.” Large companies like Microsoft and Amazon have the bandwidth to protect data; their experts can design security best practices and monitor security protocols. As a result, they can stay ahead of the latest security threats and can quickly inform customers of any potential hazards.
Embracing the New
A majority of companies adopting the cloud would not be label ‘cloud-native’ companies. As a result, CIOs may encounter objections when trying to push an “out with the old, in with the new” agenda. This is where the MSP can add value, by addressing concerns, providing informative guidance, and presenting the benefits of the ‘as-a-service’ world. According to 451, change to the cloud is a major IT adjustment that “requires users to move from hard-wired, top-down ‘waterfall’ approaches” and adopt an automated and agile operational structure which supports “continuous development, delivery, and integration.” And while this may seem like the best move possible, in some cases, it will still require CIOs and MSPs to teach some old dogs some new tricks.
The cloud is becoming the new IT norm, and businesses are ready to get onboard. However, despite the increasing acceptance, many companies are still in the dark about exactly what the cloud might mean for them long-term. Customers will be looking to their MSPs for help with migration away from traditional, on-prem solutions to cloud offerings. It’s important MSPs remember, that while most understanding the task at hand, some will still need further explanation and reassurance that they are making the right choice.