How far is cloud computing from traditional managed services?

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As IT directors consider taking the 'plunge' into cloud computing, Alastair Kitching, Director of IT Managed Services Provider, Esteem, questions how far this 'plunge' really is from a traditional managed service model?

As a fairly rudimentary concept, cloud computing poses many questions – where is my IT coming from? Is my data secure? But the components of how IT is delivered through the cloud are not too dissimilar to that of a traditional outsourced managed service model, according to Alastair.

Concerns associated with cloud computing, such as security and privacy of confidential data, are not new predicaments for companies who have previously outsourced the management of their IT, said Alastair.

Kitching said: "What we are seeing at Esteem are companies who already have a managed service in place, who have overcome some of the psychological and physical barriers such as security and compliance are the ones likely to first move to the cloud."

Alastair confirmed: "These issues are associated with any type of IT outsourcing. If you've already addressed those issues when deciding to implement an outsourced managed service, you needn't have to have that conversation again."

Esteem predicts they expect a large proportion of their managed service customers to be at least adopting some cloud components into their infrastructure, within the next two years. A recent survey, carried out by Esteem, confirmed that 53% of organisations recorded that they will be looking to adopt further cloud services within the next two fiscals.*

As well as the cost benefits associated with the cloud 'pay as you go' pricing structure, companies can take advantage of the clouds flexibility, with the ability to adapt to a changing number of users, month by month.

McGinley HR, a previous managed service customer of Esteem's recently moved to the cloud. IT Manager of McGinley HR said: "Esteem provided us with an innovative way of managing the fluid nature of the recruitment market with a solution that grows and adapts alongside our business."

Alastair advises current adopters of IT Managed Services to challenge their Managed Service Provider (MSP) as to how they can cut costs and improve services further by utilising the cloud, without experiencing a change to the delivery of their IT.

Alastair concludes: "Vendors have changed their licensing model to be able to adapt to a cloud solution, and MSP's should be taking advantage of this. The cloud can open the door for mid market companies to receive enterprise level IT systems, in a delivery model which is familiar and cost effective."

*Esteem Systems Ltd survey of IT Managers and IT Directors in July 2012

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