Managed Services, Cloud

Cloud MSP: How a Managed Service Provider Can Shape Your Cloud Environment

Chaz Hager October 01 2021

Businesses of all sizes and specialties must have a way to keep up with customer demands and expectations. In many ways, these expectations are often tied to a digitalized experience or online exchange. But how can organizations offer a streamlined digital experience when internal resources are limited or overburdened?

The answer lies in making the switch to managed services. Many organizations have grown to rely on managed service providers (MSPs) for network maintenance, IT infrastructure, and online experiences.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the world of managed services and make the distinction between general MSP and cloud-based service providers (cloud MSPs).

What is a Managed Service Provider?

A managed service provider (MSP) is a third-party organization or consultant that helps businesses navigate their technical infrastructure or workload. Generally speaking, managed services can encompass the following areas:

  • IT infrastructure
  • Cybersecurity or security processes
  • Network setup and maintenance
  • Application development
  • Access and identity verification
  • Data storage and maintenance
  • Server setup

Managed IT services are ideal when an organization or industry requires the use of strong technology practices but does not have the internal means or expertise to regularly maintain the existing technology. By outsourcing to an MSP, companies can benefit from round-the-clock support, industry best practices, and an expanded network.

MSPs can even help organizations maintain compliance and accountability in the midst of an ever-changing security and data privacy landscape.

Managed Service Provider


Cloud Service Providers

Cloud service providers (CSPs) are similar to general managed service providers with one major exception–the core of services is delivered through an online, cloud-based platform.

In this regard, cloud service providers can operate in a tighter niche, since they focus on the delivery of on-demand services that help businesses with cloud computing challenges. Major players include the likes of Amazon and Microsoft, but many smaller CSPs exist to provide tailored services on a more personal level.

Cloud service providers offer services over a public cloud infrastructure, within a hybrid model, or via a private server. The method of delivery often depends on the exact use case, client, or customer base.

Cloud Environments–What’s Most Important

If you’re looking to establish or enhance your cloud-based environment, a qualified CSP can help you accomplish major cloud computing goals. As you do your research and make a decision, remember to prioritize those cloud-based services that can make or break your experience.

Some of the most transformative cloud environment services include:

  • Migration – If you have legacy systems, you’ll need a plan to move to a new cloud environment. Use service providers that are skilled in performing a safe and secure switch that minimizes downtime.

  • Disaster recovery and planning – Be strategic about your data management, especially once your data is housed on the cloud. In the event of a breach, make sure that your CSP can assist and get you on the road to recovery.

  • Cloud optimization – Make the most of your cloud environment by checking that your costs, benefits, and procedures are all in line with industry standards. Optimization may also include services related to monitoring and performance analysis.

  • Cloud security – Cloud-based cyber attacks are common, and it’s crucial that your CSP knows how to mitigate them. Choose a provider that understands the responsibility of reinforcing your data on the cloud.

Major Distinctions for Cloud Service Providers

Although many managed service providers can help with on-site support, CSPs typically stick to remote services. Since cloud-based solutions and maintenance can be delivered through a secure online environment, it makes practical sense for CSPs to operate remotely. 

Additionally, cloud service providers tend to have a more “hands-off” approach when it comes to servicing individuals or end-users. Keep this in mind if you think you may need hands-on, helpdesk-type support for your current business needs.

What to Look for in a Cloud MSP

When it comes to choosing a cloud management service provider, you need to have assurance that the provider will implement designs and decisions with your best interests in mind. Choose a CSP that provides timely, relevant, and personalized solutions that align with your business model or corporate values.

Aside from this primary rule of business partnerships, you can address several other important factors before deciding on a CSP. This might include:

  • Billing and budget
  • Terms of the contract
  • Type of cloud delivery (public, hybrid, or private)
  • Cloud security best practices
  • Level of off-hours support (for cloud concerns that happen outside of traditional business hours)

Remember, if your entire business is moving to the cloud, you need a team of professionals that you can trust, rely on in emergencies, and leverage for advanced industry knowledge.

Key Takeaways

A managed cloud services provider can add another layer of innovation to your managed services or IT strategy. While it can be difficult to optimize these platforms on your own, an expert can lead the way while helping you accomplish specific business goals.

Northriver IT is your trusted reinforcement for cloud computing needs. We’ll provide coaching, support, and optimization to help you excel. 

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