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MSPs help get the most value from the cloud's many use cases

4/29/2016 3:51:46 PM

For proof of the growing uptake of cloud computing by both enterprises and startups, look no further than how it has transformed Amazon. Once known primarily as a bookseller and online retailer that routinely racked up quarterly losses, the Seattle-based company now consistently turns a profit, driven in part by growth in its cloud business.

Revenue from its Amazon Web Services platform surged more than 63 percent year-over-year, to $2.57 billion in earning reported in April 2016. The cloud division as a whole was Amazon's fastest growing unit for that quarter. It nows supports a wide variety of services across the Web, from Reddit to IMDB, via its AWS infrastructure-as-a-service offering.

Public, private and hybrid clouds, powered by AWS as well as other players like Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, etc., have all come to the forefront over the past decade. But what are organizations actually using them for?

Cloud computing supports a variety of use cases, from VoIP to hosted Microsoft Exchange. Having a managed service provider partner can help your company get up and running with applications such as:

1) Collaboration through Web conferencing, secure messaging and Microsoft Office

Cloud-based infrastructures and applications have transformed how teams work together, even when their members are physically far apart. SharePoint is a good example.

While it has been around for more than 15 years, SharePoint has continually evolved to incorporate modern tools such as Skype for Business (for conferencing) and Yammer (for messaging). At the same time, it also remains a linchpin of remote access to Office for many businesses.

Cloud solutions simplify document workflows through apps like Microsoft Office 365.Cloud solutions simplify document workflows through apps like Microsoft Office 365.

SharePoint is a window into Office's Web apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. According to numbers from Morgan Stanley and comScore, the mobile Web sees about twice the traffic of dedicated mobile apps, perhaps because Web browsers are basic applications on computing platforms. Supporting Web apps is crucial in this context, and an MSP can help by creating a dedicated SharePoint site for more convenient access to Office files.

2) Safe, reliable and cost-effective IT Infrastructure

The rapid growth of AWS, Azure et al. can be explained in large part by how easy these platforms are to use. Customers can get the resources they need on-demand without having to invest beforehand in the costly software and hardware they would otherwise need.

The big public cloud providers are not the only game in town, though. An MSP can also supply servers on demand, which offers numerous benefits:

  • Customers only pay for what they use, as part of an ongoing subscription.
  • IT does not have to deal with daily maintenance, freeing it up to work on other tasks.
  • Getting live servers is often as simple as just clicking a few buttons.
  • The MSP's expertise ensures that security and uptime are carefully monitored at all times.

Beyond supporting everyday applications, this cloud infrastructure can also be put to use for tasks such as disaster recovery. Cloud-based DR can get your businesses back up and running in a matter of minutes or hours, rather than the days or weeks you may have been accustomed to.

3) Versatile communications tools such as VoIP, hosted fax and Exchange

The cloud has been a godsend for communications tools that go beyond traditional phone calls. There is VoIP for high-definition telephony, hosted fax that makes faxing as simple as emailing and hosted Exchange with advanced calendaring, task and contact capabilities.

"The cloud has been a godsend for communications tools."

These solutions help businesses of all sizes save money and move more quickly to take advantage of opportunities. Companies everywhere are noticing these benefits. According to IHS, the VoIP services market rose 5 percent year-over-year in 2015 to $73 billion, driven by uptake of cloud-based applications and Session Initiation Protocol.

Cloud is in many ways just getting started, as numbers from the 2016 State of the Cloud Report from RightScale indicate. Public, private and hybrid cloud all grew significantly within the last year, suggesting that there is still a lot of headroom for companies to ditch legacy technologies for cloud alternatives. During these transitions, having a trusted MSP will be essential for finding a solution that is right for your particular situation.

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