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Quantifying the Value of a Cloud Managed Service Provider

Unless you are an enthusiast, typically you don't manage your own super, and you don’t service your own car. Usually because you don’t have the skills to do these things to best practice and to develop them yourself would take too long..

  • Do you have all the skills to manage your Cloud environment to AWS best practice?

    • What indeed is best practice?

  • How do you quantify the value a Cloud managed services provider brings when it comes to managing your Cloud environment?

AWS Best Practice

Ideally you should manage an environment according to the Five Pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework

  1. Operational Excellence

  2. Security

  3. Reliability

  4. Performance Efficiency

  5. Cost optimisation.

Do you, or the person or team, tasked with managing your Cloud environment have all the right skills across these pillars to manage it as best it can be?

Starting with Security, taking each in turn, let's see how a managed services provider would address each pillar.

Managed Services Provider approach

2. Security

Maybe you already have Role Based Access Control (RBAC) and have implemented Principle of Least Privilege (POLP), and have restricted all administrative privileges to the absolute minimum, and have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in all the right places. But do you know that you have no vulnerabilities by virtue of misconfigured services which might leave open ports, or enable access to supposedly secure S3 buckets? Can you demonstrate that to your B2B customers if they ask?

A managed service provider would be responsible not just for ensuring the security of your environment, but also for demonstrating it back to you. They would typically be using AWS Organizations, Control Tower and an Active Directory to architect your security. They would be running monitoring to track, amongst other things intrusions, patching to keep software up-to-date and running a security tool every month to identify any vulnerabilities that may have opened up. On a monthly basis they would show you exactly what your security posture is.

3. Reliability

Just as some cars are engineered for better reliability, any car is more reliable if it is serviced regularly. Likewise a Cloud environment can be designed according to reliability best practice, and will benefit from a periodic review against best practice principles. A workload should perform correctly and consistently, be able to scale horizontally automatically, and automatically recover from failure. This means having sufficient service quotas, network topology, and resources available as required by any workload.

In an unmanaged environment, often failures and downtime occur for the simple reason that a workload exceeded its available resources.

In a managed environment, firstly the environment would be architected to recover from such a failure; and secondly, it would be reviewed sufficiently frequently to ensure workloads don’t outgrow their environment.

4. Performance Efficiency

The superannuation analogy is easiest to explain this: over a period of time, the performance of some stock will decline, whilst that of other stock will improve. If your money is in a proactively managed super fund, someone will be moving your money to get the best return. Likewise, in a Cloud environment, there are new services coming online all the time, and chances are, your workloads would run much more efficiently on the new services. Part of the role of a managed service provider is to stay at the forefront of these new developments and make recommendations for both environment optimisation and modernisation.

5. Cost optimisation

Are you running your Cloud environment to meet your business needs at the lowest possible price point? Many environments are over-provisioned just in case, and often left running when they don’t need to be. Development and Test environments are a classic example of this and would save 70% of the cost of running 24/7, if turned off when not in use.

You can right-size your compute and databases, but it’s not a one-time thing. Though organisations typically seek to scale up to survive, adaptation is also key to survival. Whilst some parts of your Cloud environment are scaling up, others might be winding down. Every major change to your business should trigger a right-sizing review.

A managed service provider would be responsible for minimising your AWS Cloud bill month by month and would deliver this through on-going right-sizing as well as using tools like reserved and spot instances to get you the best pricing for EC2 and storage.

1. Operational Excellence

This covers supporting application development, running workloads effectively and the supporting processes and procedures. A managed service specifically focuses on this last element. What happens when something goes wrong?

Typically, in an unmanaged environment, a number of people will stop what they are doing, get in a huddle, and try to work out what went wrong. Hopefully one of the people is an expert and can fix the problem and make the changes required to prevent it from happening again. If there is no expert, a lot of opinions are shared, and a lot of cycles spun and wasted until the problem is collectively researched, found and fixed.

How nice would it be to make a phone call, and make it some other expert’s problem, and then go do some other work until it’s fixed and you can carry on where you left off? If you have a managed service provider that’s exactly what happens. Your case is logged into a system and managed through ITIL compliant processes until it is resolved, and a fix put in place so that it doesn’t happen again.

Managed Service Provider Value

A managed service provider will easily give you a price to manage your Cloud environment, but how do you weigh that up against the cost of not having it managed? Consider for a minute if you can quantify in dollars these costs and values:

  • The internal labour cost in lost productivity of unplanned outages

  • The additional infrastructure cost of infrastructure you don’t need (to run)

  • The internal cost of managing the environment

  • The value of faster deployment cycles

  • The value of increased developer productivity

Let’s face it: you know your super performs better when well-managed by an expert, and likewise your car is much more reliable, and runs more efficiently when serviced by an expert: isn’t it time to at least see how a Cloud managed services expert could do the same for your Cloud Environment?

Book a free consultation or callback, and our cloud professionals can discuss your unique circumstances.



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