MSPs can play a critical role in removing security barriers and enabling faster cloud adoption.

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Public cloud adoption is increasing as more companies shift to a digital transformation strategy. As an MSP, your customers can potentially benefit from using cloud infrastructure as the backbone of a modern, distributed enterprise. Gartner predicts the market for public cloud services will grow at roughly three times the rate of the overall IT services market, reaching $331 billion by 2022. However, many companies still have concerns about cloud security.

In a new report, “Future Shock: The Cloud is the New Network,” Barracuda evaluates just how big a challenge those security concerns will be when it comes to public cloud investments. Barracuda and market research Vanson Bourne interviewed 750 IT decision-makers across EMEA, APAC and the United States with responsibility for or knowledge of their organizations’ cloud infrastructure.

Securing the Cloud

The number and variety of security threats are increasing daily, and cybercriminals have become more sophisticated and effective in their approaches. As a result, security is a top concern when it comes to public cloud use among the respondents in the survey. Regarding public cloud infrastructure, security topped the list of concerns at 42%, followed by the impact of cyberattacks (36%), and protection of public cloud apps (33%). Thirteen percent of IT leaders said they lack an expert security partner to help them with public cloud deployments–presenting a significant opportunity for MSPs.

Given this growing interest in public cloud, how can MSPs help these companies take full advantage of cloud services, while also ensuring that their data and applications remain secure?

Integrated Solutions: First, MSPs should offer assistance to existing and potential clients. According to the Barracuda study, 95% of global respondents are looking for third-party providers to help them overcome cloud adoption barriers.

However, 42% of those companies will only work with a partner that offers full integration with major cloud platforms. MSPs still need to provide the basics, like staff training on cloud security and regulatory guidance. Keep in mind that security tools that have been proven effective in the public cloud will also be critical, as 41% of respondents said that responsive threat detection is a vital part of addressing security concerns.

SD-WAN: Companies that want to migrate to public cloud infrastructure need protection from both internal and external threats, but the Barracuda study found that they also need a secure connection to the public cloud. Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) technology can provide companies with the ability to manage security policies and bandwidth using a centralized tool. SD-WAN solutions also offer network monitoring and traffic prioritization capabilities, at a lower cost than legacy MPLS.

Organizations sometimes struggle with SD-WAN optimization because they don’t understand the products or lack internal support resources. In fact, the study found that just 23% of respondents already used SD-WAN, while another 51% are either in the process of implementing or expect to deploy within the next 12 months.

And, while there are different SD-WAN models available, most respondents to the survey (52%) preferred to acquire SD-WAN via a cloud provider. While this may be the easy way to adopt SD-WAN, there are other approaches from cybersecurity vendors that could be more effective. According to the report: “Respondents are looking to SD-WAN solutions to resolve not only network issues but also security concerns, as SD-WAN is being used by more than half of those who have added security to their public cloud. Respondents realize that cloud provider native security solutions may not provide sufficient capabilities and are looking for third-party providers to help them overcome adoption barriers.”

When organizations are confident in cloud security, they can significantly increase the value generated via cloud deployments. With their security concerns addressed, the study found that 65% would move more applications to the cloud, 56% would build more applications in the cloud, and 48% would use more partners to support cloud adoption.

Respondents also expect to benefit from greater use of public cloud resources through reduced IT expenditures, greater scalability, more agility, improved security, and by allowing IT staff to focus on more critical tasks.

To achieve these benefits, however, organizations need to address security concerns effectively. MSPs can play a critical role by offering proven cloud security services and technology, as well as informed guidance on how to shape their cloud strategies.

Chris Crellin is Senior Director of Product Management for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for leading product strategy and management.

 This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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