The importance of having access to managed IT services when hosting your software in the cloud cannot be overstated, and is one of the top factors to consider when it comes to overseeing your digital assets and data. Holding off on migration to modern systems does not avoid addressing these concerns – chances are that your existing technology, as well as that of your employees, have already added cloud-connected endpoints to your network. Without being able to obtain the level of support and resources you need to handle both the different requirements and expanded perimeter of a cloud-hosted environment, your business will lose out on the true value of your application stack – and be vulnerable to cyber threats.
Here are several reasons why managed IT services are so important when hosting your software in the cloud:
Consolidation of Managed Cloud and IT Services
Technology always forces practices to form around its usage, and while legacy solutions often created siloed workflows with on-premise hardware, web-based applications and infrastructure promote greater integration between each tool and process. While specialization is still a key factor, managed service providers with enough expertise and resources can enhance the value of your IT, cloud and security support (MSP, CSP and MSSP, respectively), among others. The right-sized team, partner or mixture of both will be able to manage the software, middleware, storage, servers or anything else you need them to take off your hands.
Digital Transformation of Business Management Software
Digital transformation describes the migration of technology (and processes) to more modern digitized tools, channels and storage spaces, and the shift to the cloud reflects the increasing digitization of traditionally on-premise applications. Solutions like ERP, CRM, WMS, desktop accounting software and more have progressively been taken over by disruptors like SalesForce, BigCommerce, Intacct and Acumatica. Many popular suites like Microsoft 365 have been wholly or primarily cloud-hosted for some time, which means you already have SaaS connections somewhere in your network.
Migration from On-Premise to Cloud IT Governance
IT has unfortunately lacked priority as a business objective under traditional models, and the disconnect has only been exacerbated with large-scale migration to cloud-based infrastructure. Digital network management requires you to be much more proactive with your technology governance, as the same real-time pace and connectivity that enhances productivity will generate significant issues if the health of your systems are not prioritized.
Migration from Onsite to Remote and Hybrid Workforce
The importance of IT support in the cloud was felt in organizations around the world when the 2020 pandemic and social distancing restrictions forced the biggest remote work transition in history. With many businesses now choosing to employ hybrid workforces – and still workshopping the benefits and pitfalls of such – it is clear that hosted environments are only going to continue growing in adoption and scope, and for good reason. Many businesses that had invested in digital infrastructure prior to COVID-19 displayed the greatest level of resiliency while physical offices suffered from lockdowns, empowered by the agility and continuity web-based systems provide.
Distribution of Endpoints and Data Ownership
The pandemic brought to light the good and bad sides of remote work for IT governance, with distribution of data access allowing telecommuters to continue to perform duties online while also imparting ownership and security responsibilities. Unfortunately, many employees – and employers – have had little awareness of this mission-critical factor, if at all. This is another area where the disconnect between your network management and other business objectives can create vulnerabilities, and without education and training your remote workers can generate increasing risk.
Extension of IT and Network Management Responsibilities
With the pain points remote and hybrid workforces can bring on for internal IT departments established, it is easy to see why so many in-house network support teams have been overwhelmed by the new normal. On-premise infrastructure gave business leaders a sense of control (true or not) over their technology stack, allowing executives to think of IT in the same vein as maintaining any other piece of equipment. The dispersal of user endpoints within cloud networks makes that perception dangerous without the right protections in place, which also must be augmented by incident monitoring and response to keep watch for errors and cyber threats.
Escalation of Cybersecurity Breaches and Incidents
News of cybersecurity incidents has been growing in recent years, partly because of greater attention but primarily because of an ever-enlarging cybercriminal ecosystem that gives even amateur hackers opportunities to succeed. The proliferation of tools and knowledge, willingness of some nation-states to outsource cyber espionage and the increasing interconnectedness of many networks has made cybercrime more potentially lucrative than ever. Much of the data from past breaches – as well as malware toolkits – is openly available within the dark web, and often priced cheap, while the most experienced of the bad actors build ransomware networks that imitate corporate affiliate partnerships.
Increased Pace of Technology and Security Updates
With all of the cyber threats and new technology developments in mind, one of the biggest benefits of migrating to the cloud comes into focus – the ability to upgrade systems in real-time. Hosting providers as well as in-house teams are able to apply updates without having to shut down your entire network, making it a much more seamless process as well as better incentivizing feature development. This is especially important regarding cybersecurity, as the pace that new threats appear makes patch management a mission-critical exercise.
The Need to Stay Connected and Capture Better Visibility
As scary as the potential cyber threats can sound, cloud-hosted applications fulfill a very real and longstanding need many organizations have, empowering them to bridge the gap between siloed databases and insulated operational units. A managed service provider with access to your software and your environment will help you further accelerate your processes – with oversight of your resources and your networks, a cloud MSP will be able to monitor both and ensure each is optimized to the fullest potential.
Fighting Ransomware and Disaster with Cloud-Hosted Backup
Solely relying on physical backups of data is far being a modern best practice, and if you have not already leveraged the cloud in some capacity for backing up your files, then it is imperative you start pursuing a solution ASAP. Modern threats like ransomware as well as persistent natural disasters can cause business-ending losses without redundancy. A managed service provider will be able to help you build a business continuity plan that includes a number of cloud-hosted options as well as perform the back up regularly at intervals that ensure the best protection with the least amount of disruption.
What Managed Cloud and IT Services Can Do for You
The above points are only some of the factors affecting your hosted environment that an experienced cloud MSP can help you address, but you should weigh as many of the benefits as you can against your needs to find the partner that makes the best fit. Here is a more comprehensive list of what a managed IT service provider can deliver with application hosting:
- Help determine the best model of deployment – public, private, hybrid cloud, etc.
- Reduce costs by streamlining resource consumption
- Backup data in the cloud in frequencies up to the hour to up to the minute
- Manage and monitor every remote workstation with real-time support
- Provide protections such as antivirus, antimalware, MFA and encryption for every device
- Deliver regular updates for security patches, software feature releases and compliance changes
- Oversee user access points 24x7x365 and facilitate incident response to anomalies
- Analyze performance trends and work to improve output of systems
- And much, much more
SWK Managed Cloud Services Will Help Enable Your IT Success
When it comes to your IT needs in a hosted environment, you must partner with a provider that understands the deeper requirements of both your applications and your network infrastructure. SWK is an award-winning MSP as well as a CSP serving users of our wide range of software products, combining our expertise in all three categories to ensure you capture the best ROI on your technology and enable your success.
Sign up here for SWK’s webinar to learn more about the business value of Managed IT Services and how SWK Managed Cloud Services will help you get the most out of your systems.