Far from it. The future of Managed Service Providers (MSPs ) is managing the Hybrid IT environment. MSPs were originally born out of the need to provide facilities to securely house IT equipment, whilst also providing a point of presence on the Internet. This quickly evolved and management of hardware and OS (operating systems) became the norm.
Initially, this appeared to be a commercially attractive sector, well protected from competitive forces.
Cloud & MSPs
But with the advent of Cloud & SaaS, the fortune of the Managed Service Provider seemed to be initially at risk. Declining profits from product and service revenues led some MSPs to believe their survival hopes were diminishing. But, in reality, it was just an evolution. It soon became apparent that far from a threat to MSPs, cloud technology would provide a massive opportunity.
Hybrid IT & MSPs
The benefits of Public Cloud are well documented - constant availability, quick upgrades, automation, improved accessibility. But for many organisations, a move to the Cloud is rarely a black and white decision. Often, there’s a lack of clarity on which systems to keep on premises and which to shift to the Cloud.
And this is where MSPs come into their own. They have a central role to play in business migration strategies. MSPs can add value by providing operational support for complex hybrid IT environments. They have the expertise and set-up to support a business 24/7/365 across both cloud and on premises technologies. Additionally, they also provide guidance around best-practice security considerations. A key consideration, especially when there isn’t the in-house staff or skills to oversee data security.
The MSPs role is still evolving
As we’ve seen, the MSP relationship has already rapidly evolved, over a relatively short space of time. And now, it’s changing again.
The use of Hybrid IT is set grow further. 78% of IT workloads will be processed from cloud Data Centres by 2018*. And whether you place your workloads locally, on IaaS, PaaS platforms provided by most Managed Service Providers (MSPs) or on public clouds, like Azure, there’s still a need to manage and control those clouds.
Using your own IT staff for this task probably falls low on the priority list and that is where MSPs can, arguably, add value - in the day-to-day management and maintenance of clouds, whether public or private.
In turn, helping internal IT teams focus on the core business.
Client outcomes are key for any MSP. The 2016 Comptia report found that 64 percent of organisations are using some sort of managed service.
In addition to proactively fixing issues before they even occur, MSPs now need to provide real added value to their end clients. MSPs need to provide IP to make the consumption of service easy.
For example, OCSL has developed Cloud Control; a single pane of glass to manage on premise, managed private and public cloud workloads. Its key features are:
- Multi cloud management through common UI
- Accelerated provisioning on premises, managed private or public cloud
- Enhanced security with OCSL Cloud Route
- Develop once and deploy to multiple clouds using templates and containers
- Enabling secure self service
- Automate backups, monitoring, logging, and alerting
- UK support from OCSL
Arguably, a true Managed Service Provider's role is about improving and evolving a client’s business and to drive it forward through technology.
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* Source: Cloud Security Alliance. (2015) Cloud Adoption Practices & Priorities Survey Report.