What to look for in a cloud-aware managed/hosted services provider Posted on March 23, 2017 by Tim Burke Choosing the right managed/hosted services provider for your organization can be tough because what such providers offer – and how they deliver – can vary greatly. What’s more, as I discussed in my last post, what you want a managed/hosted services provider to do for your business is changing fast, thanks to the ways cloud computing is transforming your technology infrastructure. Beyond the managed services basics Of course, the basics remain the same: you engage a managed/hosted services provider via a service-level agreement (SLA) that details what you’ll get in terms of performance expectations, metrics, support, and remediation should something go awry. These days, though, the right managed/hosted services provider can function as a key technology partner able to help you address and manage strategic issues as well as ensure broad day-to-day support for your workloads and applications, whether these are cloud-resident, on-premises, or co-located. You’ll certainly want an experienced provider with a full portfolio of managed/hosted services, including: Security, Online data backup, Network monitoring, Network management, Application management, Email migration, and Messaging. Cloud-aware, customer-aware: the 4 essentials In addition, because of the technological complexity of current infrastructures and the likelihood that you’re using (multiple) cloud services or soon will be, look for a managed/hosted services provider that offers four other essentials: Assessment services that enable you to get the provider’s strategic insight and recommendations about what you need before you commit to anything. A deep cloud services capability that includes …a hyperscale public cloud platform able to deliver key cloud infrastructure capabilities (infrastructure as a service [IaaS], platform as a service [PaaS], software as a service [SaaS], and database as a service [DBaaS]); and …a global grid of data centers and network operations centers to power both the provider’s managed/hosted services offerings – including 24 x 7 support – and a range of hybrid and other cloud services, like desktops as a service (DaaS), disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), cloud-based application development, and cloud-based videoconferencing. The ability to field professional services teams experienced in designing the custom configurations that work for your enterprise – whether it’s entirely remote, some on-premises, some co-located – so your cloud and managed/hosted services solutions are streamlined and efficient. A way to configure all of the SLAs you’ve contracted with your managed/hosted/cloud services provider exactly the way you want, capability by capability, and bundle it into a single monthly payment. This combination of capabilities creates a synergy that can make a critical competitive difference just at the moment when technological complexity becomes overwhelming.