Common Cloud Challenges for MSPs (And How to Overcome Them) Thinkstock by Getty Images

Common Cloud Challenges for MSPs (And How to Overcome Them)

Here's a closer look at some of the most common cloud challenges for managed service providers (MSPs). 

Cloud computing represents the "future model of IT," according to a recent survey of 1,080 IT professionals conducted by cloud services company Evolve IP.

The survey, titled "2016 North American Cloud Adoption Survey," found that 91 percent of respondents have deployed at least one cloud service.

"[There is] continued momentum for the deployment of cloud services," Evolve IP President Guy Fardone said in a prepared statement. "There is finally alignment between executives and IT managers about the value of the cloud."

But the survey also found a fair bit of anxiety surrounding IT departments' ability to handle the cloud migrations with in-house resources.

More than half of respondents (53 percent) reported deploying a cloud solution on their own.

And of those attempting to move to the cloud by themselves, about 50 percent said they would outsource the deployment if they could start the process over again.

Vittaly Tavor, co-founder of cloud management platform provider Cloudyn, asserts that MSPs are generally well positioned to serve as cloud resellers.

The trick for MSPs, he said, lies in supporting the various capacity needs of multiple cloud customers, while maintaining enough standardization to keep costs under control. 

"MSPs need to centralize their management in order to report cloud costs for each of their clients while achieving cloud operations efficiency," Tavor wrote in a blog post. "As important players in a growing market, cloud MSPs need to overcome a few challenges to ensure their success."

Tavor said common cloud challenges for MSPs include:

  1. Billing -- Cloud vendors charge MSPs, and MSPs invoice customers based on chargebacks that vary depending on each customer's cloud usage. 
  2. Efficiency -- Proper cloud resource allocation and sizing is important for customers, but customers may be uncertain about their resource and sizing needs.
  3. Selection -- MSPs are expected to know about various cloud offerings and provide cost performance analyses to their customers.

He offered the following recommendations to help overcome these challenges:

  1. Gather information about customer projects -- MSPs need to learn about each customer's upcoming projects and assess which cloud options best meet their need.
  2. Tag cloud resources -- Tagging provisioned cloud resources on a per-customer basis can help MSPs determine how each customer is leveraging its cloud services, Tavor pointed out. 
  3. Maintain flexibility -- Monitoring a customer's cloud usage and making changes as needed ensures a customer can avoid downtime and a lack of disk space. In addition, Tavor suggested MSPs perform tests on how systems react to these changes before implementing them.

Managing such cloud challenges can streamline the cloud adoption process and help avoid wasting resources of the customers and the MSPs.

What are your thoughts on cloud challenges that affect MSPs? Share your thoughts about this story in the Comments section below, via Twitter @dkobialka or email me at [email protected].

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