Multi-cloud computing surfaces MSP opportunity and peril
A survey of 1,000 technology practitioners conducted by HashiCorp, a provider of tools for managing cloud infrastructure, suggests that as more organizations embrace multi-cloud computing the number of challenges being encountered is starting to multiply as well.
Conducted by Forrester Consulting, the survey finds 81 percent are embracing a multi-cloud computing strategy, with 60 percent already doing so and another 21 percent planning to be multi-cloud within a year. Among respondents already using multiple clouds, a full 90 percent said their strategy is working in terms of advancing their organization’s business goals.
The primary drivers of adoption of multiple clouds are reliability (46 percent), digital transformation (43 percent), scalability (42 percent), security and governance (41 percent) and cost reduction (39 percent), the survey finds
A total of 86 percent of those respondents also noted they have created a centralized team to manage multiple clouds.
However, it’s also clear challenges remain. A full 94 percent of respondents recognize they are wasting money in the cloud, with idle or unused resources (66 percent), overprovisioning of resources (59 percent), lack of skills (47 percent) and manual containerization efforts (37 percent) being identified as the primary culprits. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) of respondents admitted their organization over spent on cloud services in 2021.
A shrinking economy and cybersecurity concerns drives demand for external expertise
As the economy continues to contract, it’s only a matter of time before more organizations become sensitive to the total cost of IT. As a rule, the willingness to rely on managed service providers (MSPs) tends to increase as the economy softens because more organizations become less inclined to hire full-time IT employees.
Cybersecurity also remains a major concern with data theft (41 percent), ransomware (39 percent) and phishing/ social engineering attacks (38 percent) all identified as major cloud security concerns, the survey finds.
The more clouds an organization employs, of course, the more likely it is there will be a need for additional external expertise to both help optimize the consumption of cloud resources and secure the overall cloud environment. Savvy MSPs are not only focusing their customer engagement efforts on organizations that have complex cloud computing environments; they are also striving to recruit IT talent capable of working across multiple clouds.
Limited talent pool and rising costs requires thoughtful investment
Unfortunately, the number of IT professionals that are proficient across multiple clouds is still limited. MSPs are increasingly finding themselves battling against end users and IT vendors alike to attract and retain people from the same relatively small pool of cloud experts. Yet the alternative, obviously, is to spend a lot of time and money training their own cloud experts only to see them take a higher-paying position somewhere else a year later.
In effect, the total cost of providing cloud services tends to rise with each platform added to a managed services portfolio. MSPs need to be absolutely certain the profit being generated by adding support for an additional cloud platform warrants the investment required.
Today, there are potentially hundreds of different classes of cloud services offered by any number of providers that an MSP could choose to support. Not all those services, however, generate the same level of demand so the difference between success and failure in the cloud will come down to identifying the platforms that have not only have the highest demand but also generate the kinds of sustainable margins that would justify the ongoing level of investment that will inevitably be required.
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