As the vast majority of companies continue to migrate more workloads to the cloud, many are evaluating how to optimize cloud operations or refresh their cloud to meet modern standards. Managing applications, teams, and systems on the cloud are not as easy or out of the box as the cloud providers promise. Your IT team still needs to do things like: configure networks, maintain permissions, lock down critical data, set up backups, create & maintain machine images, monitoring, incident response, & dozens of other tasks that cloud platforms and other off-the-shelf tools don’t perform.
According to research conducted by Wakefield Research & Logicworks, 76% of IT staff believe leadership underestimates the time and cost of cloud management. This can lead to under-resourcing or not elevating the importance of establishing the right foundation for cloud success. It can also cause issues to compound over time including:
- Accrual of technical debt
- Present vulnerabilities and increase the chance of cybersecurity breaches
- Service disruptions or downtime
- Stalled cloud migration projects or inability to launch new features, products, or enhancements
- Escalated costs or lack of control of cloud spend
Teams can also become unnecessarily burdened with mundane work and can burn out quickly. Top IT talent does not love being on call in the middle of the night or on weekends to ensure things like patching is performed or an incident is investigated and resolved quickly.
Core Components to Optimize Cloud Operations
Hiring and retaining cohesive teams that can manage your environment 24x7x365 is not easy. These tasks take significant time and dedicated resources to get it right. Additionally, platform automation can help reduce risk and streamline cloud operations. Building and integrating tooling and knowledge to meet modern automation standards can often be a non-starter for many companies that do not have the resources, talent, budget, and time to do it properly. It can be particularly challenging for most companies to respond to evolving needs of the business, keep up with the pace of innovation, and retain top IT talent to run and operate on the cloud. In fact, most companies outsource cloud management to reduce the burden on internal IT teams and focus on more revenue-driving activities.
Your cloud partner can be a true extension of your team and give you the peace of mind that your environment is optimized, protected, and efficient. However, not all CloudOps partners, CSPs, or MSPs are equal. It is important to partner with the right cloud management experts to get real value and create a solid foundation for ongoing success. Do your homework to select the right Cloud Operations partner or MSP. There are a ton of resources to vet the right partner:
- Choose an accredited and badged AWS Managed Services Partner or Azure Expert MSP. Partners that have this designation went through an extensive 3rd party audit that also includes validated customer testimonials to prove success with real-life examples.
- Work with a provider that has a solid foundation as an MSP. There are a number of partners that focus on staff augmentation, migrations or consulting that have not built the robust systems, automation, and tooling integration needed to operate on the cloud at scale.
- Ask for NPS scores, financials, and customer references. Companies with strong financials and customer relationships know how to succeed in the market and deliver the right solutions to meet customer demands.
- Consider working with partners that have multi-cloud capabilities. They are often more well-versed in a wider range of technological advances and can give more of an objective view.
- Review RACI charts for the MSPs you are talking to, so you can get a good understanding of exactly who owns what.
- Ask about platform automation capabilities, partner R&D, and tooling integrations to get a sense of innovative solutions.
- Evaluate if you need a new provider or a cloud refresh.
- Security & compliance can be one of the most complex areas to get right for your business. Work with a partner that undergoes 3rd party audits to meet compliance standards to ensure you have a high degree of protection and security expertise in your corner.
- Run a cost comparison of what it would take to build automation, procure the right tooling, and hire/retain the right talent. On average, you are likely going to spend at least 4x+ with DIY and add more headaches overall.
Regardless of the direction, you take to optimize cloud operations, you have options to transform how you are currently operating as well as build a better foundation for future migrations. Our Guide to Cloud Management, Staff, Budget, Tools expands on the details above and breaks down how to further plan for ongoing success on the cloud. If you need additional help understanding how to plan or budget for better ongoing cloud management, schedule a time to meet with our AWS or Azure experts.