Managed cloud Definition
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What is the definition of a managed cloud?
The term “managed cloud” is generally used as shorthand for “managed private cloud”. Basically, it refers to a company using a third-party vendor to create a cloud platform that is for their exclusive use. Let’s break this down and look at why companies take this approach.
The basics of the cloud
A cloud is essentially a pool of resources that can be shared among multiple users according to demand. Clouds come in two forms, public and private. Public clouds are always shared between different, unrelated customers (known as tenants) although each tenant should be invisible to all the other tenants. In other words, there should be the appearance of absolute privacy. Private clouds are for the sole use of one specific customer.
Both forms of the cloud offer the possibility of cost savings and greater efficiency
One of the reasons why public clouds have become so popular is because they offer the opportunity to achieve massive cost savings as compared to using traditional infrastructure. Private clouds are more expensive to implement but can still be more affordable than traditional infrastructure and if you go down the managed cloud route you can swap out upfront capital expenditure for predictable monthly expenses. Even if this does not work out more affordable, it can certainly be easier on your cash flow.
Both forms of the cloud also offer the possibility of working in a much more efficient manner by cutting down on unnecessary duplication and by providing users with exactly the level of resource they need no less and no more and for exactly the length of time that they need it, no less and no more. They also promote flexibility of working practices, such as remote working, which can help in recruitment and retention.
Public clouds offer massive scalability but can raise security issues
Public clouds enable you to increase and decrease your resources literally in the time it takes to log in to the control panel and click a few buttons. Public clouds do, however, raise security issues. This is not really so much because of the possibility that other tenants will get access to data they should not see, although this is a theoretical concern. It’s more to do with the fact that customers have very limited visibility of what goes on “behind the scenes” and are therefore heavily reliant on their cloud provider to ensure robust security.
It may be possible to use public clouds even if you are working in a strictly-regulated environment. There are, however, a couple of precautions you would need to take. Firstly, you would need to check your cloud provider’s credentials very thoroughly and secondly, you might well need to implement further security measures yourself. This could be either through using cloud-specific security tools monitored by an in-house team or by employing a third-party vendor to do the work for you.
Private clouds are less scalable but give you more control
Private clouds cannot be scaled up and down in the space of a few mouse clicks in the same way as private clouds. You can, however, increase and decrease the resources allocated to the cloud by updating its infrastructure. This is generally massively easier to do in a managed cloud environment than in an “old-school” on-premises environment. The reason for this is that the best-managed cloud providers are set up to make infrastructure changes as easy as they can possibly be, certainly far easier than managing changes to on-premises infrastructure.
The advantage of a private cloud, however, is that you have total control over it. You can choose to exercise this control through an in-house IT team or through a managed cloud provider, but either way, what you say goes (or what your compliance program says goes). What’s more, as the sole owner and user of the infrastructure, you have total visibility of everything that goes on in it and hence can monitor and audit as you see fit.
You can use both public and private clouds
A hybrid cloud is a form of IT infrastructure which combines a public cloud and a private cloud. Typically, the public cloud is used when minimal security is required and the private cloud is used when a higher degree of security is required. This can sound like “having your cake and eating it” and it can be, however, the price of this is added complexity, which is why many SMBs would probably only be able to implement a hybrid cloud with the help of a third-party vendor.
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