9 Keys to Selecting a Right Cloud Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Cloud computing has come in a big way to aid businesses in the pandemic era of covid , business could sustain and thrive themselves more than ever, physical data centers are getting shut down by businesses and organizations are moving to cloud however migration cloud is not that easier as assumed. Without a deep understanding of the cloud environment, the complexities of subscription models one could end up in a technical debt.

Today we look more in detail about how cloud managed service providers are instrumental in bringing this radical shift from on prem to cloud, what are the key points to consider while choosing the right cloud managed service provider (MSP) for your organization and its benefits.

Making the Right Choice – Cloud Managed Service Provider (MSP) 

Organizations require specialized skills and understanding of tools to harness the optimal potential of the cloud. Cloud MSPs help to migrate from legacy IT systems to the cloud ecosystem and manage cloud resources in a more efficient and secure manner. MSP acts as a bridge between company and the cloud or in other words between IT resources in the cloud and the ones residing in organization physical data centres. 

Cloud MSPs enable the automation of cloud migration and management at minimal costs and up to maximum scale. Routine, repeatable and resource intensive tasks can be left over to Cloud MSP and business can focus on planning business strategy. 

While choosing a cloud service provider some common areas you need to focus on to effectively compare and choose which cloud managed service provider (MSP) delivers value to your business which you expect from your cloud ecosystem:

Standards and Certifications

Providers compliance to recognized standards and quality frameworks demonstrate their commitment to industry best practices and processes. Standards may not determine which service provider to choose but they help in shortlisting potential providers. Look for structured processes, effective management of data, good knowledge management and visibility across functions. And do understand how providers plan to continue adherence to the standards.

Services Roadmap and Technologies

Provider platform and preferred technologies align to organization current environment and support your cloud objectives. Cloud architecture needs to support your workload and preference of monitoring and management. Assessment of re-coding and customization is necessary to understand the effort required to align your workloads to their platforms. Comprehensive migration services and assistance in assessment and planning migration in phases support is also critical to business

Services Roadmap

Provider roadmap for service development is an important aspect to understand how they plan to innovate and grow over years? Commitment to specific technologies and interoperability support with similar deployment cases is a bonus. Evaluation of overall portfolio of services which is provider offering with a mix of compatible services. 

Data Governance & Security

Selection process largely depends on provider capability to provide hosting facility in chosen geographies. Choice and control over jurisdiction where data to be stored, processed, and managed need to be transparent. Assess the ability to encrypt data throughout the cloud and sensitive volumes to be encrypted at rest to limit exposure to unwanted sources. Provider data loss and breach notification processes and its alignment to your business risk appetite and legal and regulatory obligations is a crucial aspect to consider while making a choice of MSP. 

Assessment of cloud providers level of data and system security , maturity of security operations and security processes governance. User access and activity should be auditable via all channels and there should be clarity on security roles and responsibilities as laid down in contracts.

Partnerships and Service Dependencies

Services provider might be using multiple vendors , the assessment of provider relationship with other vendors , their accreditations, technical and operational capabilities are equally important. 

Service Dependencies & Subcontracting

Ensuring that provider discloses information about key sub-contractors and guarantee primary SLAs across services including the ones which are not under his direct control also. Limitations of liability and service disruption policies of these sub-contractors are equally important during vendor assessment.

Contracts & SLAs

Cloud agreements are usually complex and SLAs in particular are tricky business aspect hence them should be a vary clear understanding of service definitions, roles and responsibilities, service management practices , services availability, Disaster recovery commitments, data management, data security, ownership and use rights, intellectual property , limitation of liabilities and warranties. Look for a clear definition of service and deliverables delivery commitments. Clarity on roles and responsibilities between customer and cloud provider is important.

Cloud Commercials

Each cloud provider offers a unique bundle of pricing models and services. Different providers have different pricing advantages over their products. Pricing usually depends on usage period and if it is long duration then further discounts are also offered. Fine tuning the scalability is affected by how your cloud service provider has packaged its services and you need a provider which matches your requirements. 

Reliability & Performance 

Performance of provider needs to be assessed over a period of 6-12 months inline with SLAs. Downtime is inevitable but how the provider handles it, that actually counts. Monitoring and reporting tools offer sufficient clarity and can be integrated into your overall monitoring and management ecosystems. Chosen service providers should have a well documented and established process to handle planned and unplanned downtimes and how it is communicated to customers during disruption of services. 

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