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What is the Value of a Managed Service Provider?

Imagine a restaurant where you have to prepare your own food, serve yourself, clean up your mess and then pay a bill at the end. The company provides the food and overhead – and nothing else. 

This is the level of service your customer will get if he or she buys a public cloud package through a hyperscale cloud provider such as Google or Amazon.

A hyperscale cloud provider will offer the bare metal infrastructure that is needed for running a public cloud environment. The infrastructure will even be of premium quality. But it will be your customer’s job to manage that infrastructure on a daily basis.   This is what we mean by "going naked in the public cloud".

This often comes as a shock to business owners who sign up for cloud services thinking they will be fully managed – only to find out the hard way they must do the heavy lifting. The truth is that looking after your own public cloud infrastructure is difficult, time-consuming and risky. 

Fortunately, there is a solution for this problem: A managed services provider (MSP). 

An MSP – like Rackspace, Hosting or Datapipe – will sit in between the public cloud and your customer. An MSP simplifies the public cloud and provides a better overall experience by offering the following types of services:  

Enhanced security:  An MSP can layer additional security services on top of the public cloud. These services can include encryption, real-time threat detection and analysis, systems hardening and security patching. 

Expert guidance: It’s not always easy to understand which workloads belong in the public cloud. An MSP will provide sound guidance when migrating and managing workloads. 
Full time support: If a server suddenly stops working at 6 p.m. on a Saturday, your customer won’t have to ask an IT worker to come in and fix the problem. MSPs offer rapid-response troubleshooting and after-hours assistance. 

Ongoing maintenance: An MSP will provide regular maintenance to maximize uptime and prolong equipment life.

What’s more, an MSP will be held to a service level agreement (SLA). It will be legally obligated to ensure a stable, working public cloud environment. For this reason, MSPs are typically able to offer very high success rates.  Hosting, Datapipe and Rackspace, for instance, all offer 100 percent uptime guarantees.  

An MSP can also free in-house IT workers from having to spend the majority of their time on system grunt work. Instead of responding to trouble tickets all day, IT workers can focus on interesting and meaningful projects like data analysis. So an MSP will actually add value to in-house IT departments. It could reduce turnover in the long run, too.  

Finally, the most important point: 

An MSP can save time, and reduce risk when bringing services to market by ensuring that all backend processes are in order. When businesses launch their own applications and services, they often run into unexpected performance issues.  Performance issues are much less likely to occur when working with an MSP. 

So as we say, don’t let your customers go naked into the public cloud! To learn more about how an MSP can help your customers (and help you earn more money), click here.