Today’s businesses rely on the cloud for virtually every action. In fact, 60% of corporate data is stored in the cloud, and nearly half of all companies use the cloud to store business-critical data. Internal employees communicate across cloud-based instant messengers and access in-progress documents and spreadsheets on the cloud. CRMs and financial tools, not locally installed programs, use cloud-based data storage and integrations, and even retail checkouts use the cloud to manage loyalty accounts and record transactions.
Simply relying on the cloud to be present, accessible, and secure in real time is perhaps even more dangerous than relying on the Internet to always be there without worrying about outages, hackers, or network hardware limitations. A robust cloud strategy is the answer for using clouds with more confidence and security. Learn more about cloud strategy and how a managed service provider (MSP) can help you develop and implement your strategy for immediate and long-term success.
What Is a Cloud Strategy?
Don’t limit your strategic IT implementations to hardware and networks. Today’s businesses rely on cybersecurity and fast access to every element in their tech stacks, and these core operations hinge on the strength of your cloud strategy.
Gartner defines a cloud strategy as “A concise point of view on the role of cloud within the organization.” This document guides how the cloud supports your business’s initiatives for short-term and long-term success. It is more than simply an implementation guide or action plan; it outlines how the right cloud resources and support will connect with business operations at every level to ensure smooth internal and customer-facing functions.
Gartner further illustrates what a cloud strategy is by outlining these six critical steps in creating one:
- Center your cloud strategy on business value and speed. Consult with your internal business leaders and cloud experts to bridge the two areas.
- Choose both a primary cloud provider and a second cloud provider to create a robust, multi-cloud system.
- Focus on the application architecture to build security and resiliency against cyber attacks.
- Consider a distributed cloud if your organization needs a private cloud for extra security and to comply with data security regulations.
- Account for growing virtualization, such as serverless computing and future cloud consumption demands.
- Identify critical gaps in cloud knowledge and expertise, then find a solution.
What Is the Role of an MSP in Cloud Strategy Optimization?
Creating a cloud strategy makes your business stronger. You can create a cloud architecture that satisfies your organization’s needs and future requirements while at the same time preparing for adverse events like cyberattacks. You must have a complete plan before investing significantly in your tech stack. An MSP can use your plan to develop the right tech stack.
However, the role of a professional MSP doesn’t simply start with the implementation. Your organization’s MSP should be a pivotal partner in developing a cloud strategy, from assessing your business’s unique needs to designing a strategic plan built for the immediate future and long-term growth.
By starting with a personalized cloud strategy, your organization can move with more direction and certainty. If your MSP has years of experience in the tech industry—ideally, with a specialization in your organization’s industry—then they can guide the way or take a leading role in:
- Defining the role of the cloud in your organization
- Determining which software and hardware align with that mission
- Structuring your IT resources to support the cloud strategy
- Preemptively troubleshooting and adding support to your cloud strategy and tech stack
- Analyzing how your cloud strategy will affect your broader business strategy and revenue growth
5 Key Ways an MSP Can Help You Optimize Your Cloud Strategy
Making your MSP a strategic resource at the start of your cloud strategy development process, not just at the end, can help you develop a more robust plan and implement a vision that better aligns with that plan. Five critical ways the right MSP will help you build and optimize your cloud strategy are:
1. Assessing Your Unique Needs and Requirements
Cloud computing is a tricky concept, especially when identifying your required resources. Will you need a multi-cloud architecture? Will you need a distributed cloud? MSPs can help you determine the right path based on data integrity and privacy regulations that affect your organization, the volume and scope of your organization’s cloud needs, and the factors that impact your public and private clouds.
Without you and your MSP taking a joint active role in this stage, you’re vulnerable to something VMware calls shadow IT:
“The absence of a cloud strategy leaves these teams with little guidance for cloud service adoption leading to silos of technology, non-standard solution implementations, non-optimized costs, and greater exposure to risk from poorly configured environments.”
Instead, intentionally determine your organization’s needs so each team isn’t investing in ad hoc, disconnected solutions that focus on short-term productivity instead of long-term security.
2. Choosing and Implementing the Right Solutions
Based on the personalized assessment in the previous step, MSPs can contribute by finding solutions and platforms that belong to the optimal tech stack. This stage is what many organizations consider to be the core functionality of MSPs.
3. Supporting and Managing the Cloud Infrastructure
MSPs can use the strategy as a road map for creating maintenance and monitoring plans to ensure continual uptime.
4. Providing Integration and Management Support
Smaller organizations, in particular, benefit from third-party experts who can help them integrate all the tools in their tech stack into a central CRM. Work with an MSP who offers setup and support for your cloud computing tech stack. Larger organizations also benefit from this service, as MSPs can help bridge the gap between siloed departments so the disparate tech stacks become more aligned and integrated.
5. Keeping the Cloud Architecture Secure
A cloud strategy should ensure your architecture runs seamlessly and securely. MSPs can help by recommending the right cybersecurity tools, providing sufficient cloud resources for smooth business operations, and verifying compliance with industry-specific data standards.
Optimize Your Cloud Strategy With BCM One
At BCM One, we provide white-glove services and a lasting partnership with our clients. Our internal experts can help you develop a cloud strategy that carefully assesses your organizational needs, identifies the right resources and architectural choices for the cloud ecosystem, and implements and maintains your cloud. Contact us today to see how we can fit into your cloud and business strategies.