Azure Managed Services is a term that gets thrown around the technology space quite a bit. But what does it mean, and how can businesses take advantage of this offering to make their business run more efficiently and effectively in this new digital world?
What are managed services?
Managed services is the outsourcing of technology services where businesses hand over the management of their IT to an external company. These types of companies, called managed service providers (MSP), specialise in managing IT services like Azure.
The challenges thrown at businesses in today’s world have made technology not only essential but a core operation. The pandemic has made businesses time-poor as they adjust to this new way of operating.
MSP’s are certified experts who live and breathe IT management. By alleviating the need to train experts in-house and choosing an MSP, businesses can essentially cut costs and carry less worry about an essential part of their business as they know they are in good hands.
What is Azure?
Microsoft Azure is a cloud-based service that allows businesses of all sizes to deploy their IT technology to the cloud, so it can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Services within Azure can be used for varying workloads, broken up into the following classifications:
- IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service
- PaaS – Platform as a Service
- SaaS – Software as a Service
Each offering comes with different levels of responsibility and ownership.
Services running in these so-called ‘clouds’ can be provisioned and de-provisioned at your organisation’s needs. Azure can eliminate the need for on-premises servers which are expensive and contain wasted space that might never be used. With the cloud, you pay for what you use while accessing Microsoft services.
Microsoft invests billions in having the best security on Azure servers as their business relies on them being secure. What’s great about Azure is that it can be tailored to the resources required. For example, you can create databases on Azure – or networks. Businesses can run their own applications or plug into software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings like Microsoft 365.
Hybrid options are also available for those who want to keep part of their IT operations on-premises and the rest on external Microsoft servers. What’s great about Azure is no matter the setup, Azure supports secure single sign-on (SSO), so users only need to log in once to access the business’s complete IT network, which is kept secure with MFA (multi-factor authentication).
Considerations for Azure Managed Service Providers
So, what should you consider when seeking an MSP for Azure? Asking specifically what certifications an MSP has in Azure, how big their Azure practice is, and what their partner status is with Microsoft is a good place to start, but it shouldn’t end there.
Do they offer end-to-end support? This involves sitting down with the client and understanding what their technology needs are, and how Azure can best suit those needs. They should conduct regular audits of existing technology and make recommendations that should cut costs and improve efficiency. Azure provides strong analytical tools that the MSP can access, decipher, and provide recommendations for. They can do this on an ongoing basis to predict any potential problems down the line around security and system performance.
Is their support 24/7? Round-the-clock coverage via phone, email, and/or chat? Do they have a dedicated account manager as a single point of contact?
How will the MSP work with the business to optimise costs? Usually, an MSP can provide competitive pricing compared to hiring internal staff. Do they offer discounts for long-term commitments?
How will the MSP work with the business to keep up with current trends in the cloud? As the cloud moves at lightning pace, costs and trends from last quarter may not be the most optimal path now. Do they offer regular upskilling sessions or an advisory council?
There’s no doubt that bringing an MSP into technology workflow can dramatically improve efficiency and relieve the burden on business. Contact Linktech today to find out how they can help your business get the benefits of Azure.