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August 5, 2020 | Bryan O'Neal

Managed Services Providers Drive Multicloud Success for SaaS Companies

According to a Gartner forecast, the Software as a Service (SaaS) application market will grow to $113.1B by 2021. There are plenty of benefits for companies to develop SaaS applications, but are businesses truly positioned to manage the infrastructure that comes along with hosting a SaaS application? If the businesses are using multiple cloud platforms, how are they ensuring interoperability? Is the application compliant with industry regulations? How secure is the application from cyber criminals? How is the business ensuring maximum up-time? These are all questions a managed services provider can help businesses address. In this blog post, we discuss six big ways managed services providers help businesses with cloud applications find success in their market.

The value managed services providers offer for SaaS applications

Here are the six ways managed services are driving SaaS company success.

1. Enable multicloud environments

There are any number of reasons why a SaaS company might leverage multiple cloud types for its applications. One of the most common is to ensure the resiliency of their applications and services. Many SaaS companies house their data in a hosted private cloud and then leverage AWS or Azure as a backup solution.

Other times, there are various functions in your applications that may work better in one cloud environment than another. Or you may have pockets of customers that have a strong preference. For example, your government sector customers might prefer Azure while the pharmaceutical companies you serve might prefer a robust private cloud.

Just because your staff knows one type of cloud environment does not make them an expert across the cloud. You could hire additional staff to manage your various cloud environments. Or, you could work with a managed cloud provider to fill in the gaps.

Also read: The Four Pillars of Provider Multicloud Management

2. Help to lower costs

The most obvious way a multicloud managed service provider can help lower costs is by allowing you to get rid of the overhead of maintaining an on-premises or private data center. This includes the cost of the building and all that entails (security, HVAC, rent, energy, etc.). It includes the cost of the hardware (regular refreshes and maintenance). And it includes the cost of the personnel required to run the data center (IT, janitorial services, security, etc.). All in all, a private data center is a pretty expensive proposition.

But outsourcing your data center needs to a managed service provider can also help you spot overspending in the cloud. It’s not uncommon for a SaaS company’s developers to spin up a cloud environment to use for development purposes – and then forget to spin that instance down again when it’s no longer needed. These resources then sit idle even though you’re still paying for them.

Poor utilization of resources can happen for other reasons as well, but with so much on their plate already, many IT departments in SaaS companies find they don’t have time to keep an eye on infrastructure utilization the way they should. A managed service provider can keep an eye on utilization rates and identify underutilized cloud resources.

3. Ensure SaaS application compliance

By definition, SaaS companies are responsible for the handling and storage of their customer’s data. Sometimes that data is covered by an existing regulation such as PCI DSS (retail), FERPA (education), HIPAA (healthcare), etc. At other times, the information is simply personal and not something the user would want listed on the dark web.

According to McAfee’s Cloud Adoption & Risk Report, enterprises have an average of 14 misconfigured cloud infrastructure and platform instances running at any one time. Most notably, 5.5% of all AWS S3 buckets used to store data are misconfigured, making the data they contain publicly accessible. Whether anyone sees the data or not, this is a compliance violation that can lead to some pretty hefty fines in many regulated industries.

4. Power SaaS system security

The internet is filled with bad actors with malicious intent, but not all of these actors are human. We’ve seen a progression from first-generation bots that were designed to perform functions like scraping websites for information or filling out forms to fourth generation bots that can mimic human behavior.

These bots are capable of more than just stealing data. They can encrypt your customer’s data and demand payment, usually in bitcoin, in an attack known as ransomware. According to CyberEdge Group’s 2020 Cyberthreat Defense Report, 62% of organizations were victimized by ransomware last year, up from 56% in 2018 and 55% in 2017. The same report found that of those that paid the ransom, only 67% were able to recover their data. This type of attack can destroy a SaaS company’s reputation.

Bad bots can also overwhelm your systems in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. This is just as bad for the SaaS company because the end result is similar. Your customers can’t access their applications and data.

It’s hard for many SaaS companies to keep up with the latest threats. Because companies like TierPoint are in the business of IT security, we can afford to stay abreast of the latest threats as well as tools and strategies to combat them. We can help keep your systems secure and your customer’s data safe.

5. Make the IT staff more agile

If your business is software, not infrastructure, you’re probably already asking your IT staff to wear a lot of hats. Chances are, you could sit down and list at least a dozen IT-related tasks and responsibilities that take you away from your core business: providing great apps and superior service to your customers. Outsourcing these tasks and responsibilities to a qualified managed service provider can free up time, allowing you to focus on the things that move the business forward.

6. Improve up-time

I’ve already alluded to many of the ways that a managed multicloud provider can improve up-time. By managing the security of your environment, you can limit your risk of downtime due to ransomware, DDoS, and other cyber threats. A managed service provider can design a well-architected disaster recovery strategy that minimizes downtime and data loss in the event of a disaster. A managed services provider can keep a watchful eye on your environment and identify potential issues, such as over utilization of resources or malfunctions in the system, that can affect up-time and performance.

We can help you manage your cloud applications

Whether you’re adopting multiple cloud platforms, improving the security and compliance of your environment, looking to save on facility costs, or just looking to free your IT staff from day to day management of your cloud environment, a provider can help your business gain the competitive edge. As a managed services provider, we can help. We operate over 40 data centers across the U.S. and offer cloud, colocation, security, network and disaster recovery solutions that work for your business. Contact us today to see how we can help you address your IT challenges.

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