Blog March 21, 2019

What is a Managed Cloud?

Wikipedia describes cloud computing as a “shared pools of configurable computer system resources and higher-level services that can be rapidly provisioned with minimal management effort, often over the Internet.”

That’s not a bad definition, although one might take issue with the “minimal management effort.” Putting aside the considerable work you put into migrating workloads to the cloud, your cloud computing environment is not something you can turn your back on. A managed cloud is one in which you rely on a cloud service provider to do some or all of the day-to-day management activities involved with keeping your cloud environment(s) optimized.

In this post, I’ll give you a high-level view of what that looks like, so you can determine whether your cloud environment should be a D-I-Y project or whether you might need some help.

3 Managed Cloud Service Buckets

Not coincidentally, we break the managed cloud services we provide into the three categories that organizations typically find the most challenging: security, performance, and cost optimization. In each of these categories below, I list some of the most significant services we provide in our managed cloud offerings.

Performance

The performance aspect of a managed cloud is about ensuring your system provides the speed and accessibility you expect. Primary services include:

  • Monitoring the environment – To manage an environment, you’ve got to be keeping an eye on it. There are a lot of tools we use to tell us what’s happening, but we still use human beings to analyze the meaning behind that data.
  • Escalating and resolving issues – Once a problem is detected, we escalate it according to the severity and urgency of the issue. Different customers have different escalation procedures, so we customize this process according to the needs of the organization.
  • Change Control –No cloud environment is static. You’re always going to be adding or reducing capacity, adding new applications, or tweaking the features in your cloud environment. We help our clients manage these changes, so they don’t impact the performance of their systems.
  • Backup/Restore – If you’re doing basic backups, we can help ensure these get done. For clients that need more advanced disaster recovery solutions with tighter recovery objectives, we can tailor and manage a solution that meets their needs.
  • Network/OS/DB Admin – From patch management to upgrades to integrations, our systems administrators help avoid conflicts between systems and ensure everything is working as it should. Plus, when you work with a managed cloud provider like Connectria, you have a single go-to, so you can avoid the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors.

Security & Compliance

Like the guards standing atop a fortress, we monitor your entire system terrain. Put in slightly less poetic terms, this includes services such as:

  • Vulnerability Scans – To strengthen your IT security perimeter, you have to know where your weaknesses are. Since your IT systems aren’t static – any more than the security threat landscape is – we run these scans on a regular basis and then work with you to address the results.
  • Antivirus/antimalware – Lots of vendors offer antivirus/antimalware protection. We provide our managed cloud customers with the best of the best, configured to their needs. Then, we make sure those solutions stay up-to-date and on-guard against the latest cyber threats.
  • Intrusion Detection/ Prevention – No system can prevent everything. If a virus, piece of malware, or hacker manages to slip past your defenses, our intrusion detection systems help ensure they don’t stay long.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) – Correlating all these independent security mechanisms is critical for detecting incidents which might otherwise slip by unnoticed. Managed SIEM gives you that visibility into what is happening now as well as what has happened before. Our SIEM solution can help streamline compliance reporting by providing a central repository for all IT security events across your enterprise.

Cost Optimization

Ironically, while many companies adopt a cloud-first approach to help them cut costs, too many don’t manage their cloud-based resources well. The biggest culprit is adding resources or features that may be needed at the time and then forgetting they’re there. We can help in a number of ways:

  • Managing configurations – We’re experts in multiple cloud technologies, including AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, and VMWare, so we can help you implement only those features you need and evaluate new ones as they are released.
  • Usage monitoring – Estimating capacity requirements is difficult, and many organizations err on the side of caution to avoid performance issues. We’ll work to identify and minimize unused, idle, underutilized, or duplicate resources.
  • Resource resizing – As your business expands or contracts, we can help you ensure your cloud environments keep up.
  • Invoice and billing control – Like an unmanaged cloud solution, a managed cloud helps you convert CapEx into OpEx, but our managed clouds go a step further by making your monthly payments more predictable.

Keeping an Eye on the Cloud

Cloud Management Platforms (CMP) are popular tools these days. The CMP tool we use to monitor performance, security & compliance and costs for our customers is the TRiA Multi-Cloud Management Platform. TRiA comes standard with all of our managed cloud services, so our customers see what we see. Collaboration across teams is more effective when everyone has access to the same information.

Not only does TRiA allow you to see resources in the clouds we’re managing, but it also gives you visibility into all your cloud environments. For example, if you have managed resources residing in one of our SSAE-certified data centers and a Managed AWS cloud, but you’re managing an Azure environment yourself, you would be able to monitor and control all of those environments from the TRiA dashboard.

Want to learn more about managed clouds from Connectria? Reach out to one of our cloud advisors today.

Related Resources

White paper: Migrating Workloads to the Cloud. How to overcome the most common challenges.

Solution Brief: TRiA Multi-Cloud Management Platform

Article: 7 Signs You May Need Help with Your Azure or AWS Deployment

Article: 6 Ways to Build a Better relationship with Your MSP

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