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Opinion Piece: Not ready for the cloud? Try a managed service.

By Mike Rees, Territory Account Manager for South Africa at Commvault

Most businesses are already using the cloud in some form or are in the process of considering migrating one or more workloads to a cloud environment. However, there are a number of reasons why certain businesses are reluctant to make the move. Despite cloud’s many advertised benefits, there are several factors that may be holding organisations back.

Cloud concerns
Although many of the questions around cloud have been answered by now, there is still an air of the unknown around cloud and cloud services, especially in South Africa where the cloud is still relatively new by comparison to other parts of the world.

Many organisations still don’t really understand the concept of where the cloud is, or where their data will reside, should they move workloads there. The commitment of international cloud providers to soon establish data centres within South African borders addresses the concern around data sovereignty, yet there are still other valid reasons why businesses may not want to migrate at this point.

More tangible issues such as poor, unreliable connectivity to cloud environments, the responsibility of managing cloud data and workloads, as well as South Africa’s skills shortage for the retention of in-house experts to do so, are no small concern for enterprises who rely heavily on data for daily operations – which most do. To effectively manage an organisation’s IT and data requirements, specialists are needed. These are both scarce and, due to demand, expensive.

Data has become business critical, and one of the most valuable assets for any organisations. The protection, retention and analysis of that data is essential, as well as required by legislation – another complexity to add to cloud considerations. These factors combined may also make choosing the right cloud solution among the many options available on the market, today, a daunting prospect.

For organisations who are still considering the cloud, have hybrid environments with some workloads in the cloud and others on-premise, or who wish to retain their operations entirely on site, a managed service for IT and data management requirements may be the ideal solution.

Why a managed service may be the answer
According to TechTarget, a managed service is an arrangement where an organisation outsources the responsibility for the functionality of their IT services and equipment to a managed service partner, paying a regular fee for receipt of the service. A managed service enables companies to relinquish the support and management of various components of their ICT infrastructure, applications and software to an expert that has far more collective experience in their field than an in-house IT department or resource.

For the organisation this means that they can focus entirely on their core business operations without needing to worry about their IT and data management. Businesses whose core function is not IT should not have to take on the added strain of managing IT and data when all they require is the results of those solutions.

A data management and backup service takes the strain away. They offer the expertise, the latest technology, and the scalability to give customers the results and services they need without worrying about how they are delivered. Service Level Agreements ensure that services and data are available, secure and accessible.

Organisations who prefer to keep their own infrastructure can leverage an outsource partner to take over the management of their services. In this way, as they grow, their managed service provider can expand their environment without the organisation having to purchase new equipment or space. Managed services can also assist with the transition to cloud, as many managed service partners, today, leverage the cloud to offer their own services.

Nevertheless, it is important to choose a mangled service provider who are able to offer flexible, scalable solutions that are secure and deliver on the organisation’s business needs. Managed services may remove the responsibility and dependency on skilled staff, however control of the services received and how the data is managed still remains with the organisation receiving the managed service. Organisations can determine their preferences, ensuring that services delivered are aligned with business goals and compliance requirements.

A managed service is the best of both worlds. Whether managed services are offered on existing infrastructure, a hybrid of both existing and cloud, or a move to the cloud entirely, they provide organisations with the peace of mind that comes with receiving best of breed services, without worrying about how it’s done.

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