What To Consider Before Building A Cloud
Want to build your own cloud service? Think again. Cloud computing saves money for consumers and businesses, but when it comes to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who try to build their own cloud, this isn’t so. Why is this?
Because to provide the services customers want requires an investment of millions of dollars. Businesses know to look for robust, reliable cloud infrastructures, faster network connections, highly skilled technicians, and other attributes. Starting a cloud business requires a large capital investment. It doesn’t come cheaply. And, trying to do this without the financial backing you need can cost you your MSP business.
What’s Involved In Building A Cloud Environment?
As MSPs enter the cloud building arena, they must understand the technical underpinnings and obstacles that stand in the way. These are just a few of the things to consider before building a cloud.
- Software & Hardware Costs: You may think that you can go into this a bit at a time, starting small and later offering more services. But, building a cloud infrastructure isn’t like using one where you can add layers as you go. You need the right foundation from the start. Some begin with just Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) because it’s easy to manage. The problem with this is that IaaS isn’t scalable unless you invest in data-center grade hardware with the redundancy and employees to manage it. The task of building software for even a small cloud company is a huge endeavor—it can take years. And you’ll need to either hire or be a programmer yourself-software development involves many intricacies.
- Data Center Costs: It’s suggested that you take what you think this will cost and double or triple it. You’ll need to either lease space in a data center or build one. And the data center must be built on an enterprise-class infrastructure with a serious amount of physical security.
- Plan For Future Customer Needs: Eventually your customers will want more services like as-a-Service solutions and virtual desktops. Not just Software-as-a-Service, but Disaster-as-a-Service, Desktop-as-a-Service, and more. As a result, plan on your costs continuing to rise as you attempt to please your customers.
- Employee Management: This is where many MSPs fail with they attempt to build a cloud environment. It’s not only difficult to find the cloud engineers and architects you need today, but they’re expensive to employ. And unless you’ve built a cloud architecture that’s extensive, they may not need to be employed full time after everything is up and running. They’ll know this, and you may have a hard time finding the talent that you need. Some try to “cross-train” their current techs to do this, but without the designated support, cloud problems go left unattended and the solution degrades. Then there are the new services that aren’t developed because engineers aren’t entirely focused on the cloud platform.
- Scalable Solutions: The cloud architecture must be adequate to support scalability. A small one won’t do this. You need an enterprise-grade environment from the start, or when you try to scale up, the costs could be prohibitive.
- Cybersecurity & Compliance: Both are essential, and both present significant challenges for cloud developers and providers. Your customers will demand this. So, you’ll need experienced and qualified cybersecurity experts to help you build your cloud environment from the start. Then you must find the appropriate partners to provide assessments and testing to ensure your cloud remains secure and compliant. Those MSPs that mishandle a cloud migration or enable a data breach due to inexperience suffer as do their customers. Security breaches shut down these companies due to liability, financial loss and lost reputations.
- Marketing & Sales: If you’ve overcome all of these obstacles now you have to create a marketing plan to help you sell your cloud service and get customers to subscribe. This also requires a capital investment at the onset and a continued effort to reach as many prospects as possible. And, of course, you’ve already written a business plan, right? This will guide you during the evolution of your cloud business. And, just like your MSP business, you’ll find that you’ll need to make adjustments as your cloud business evolves. Then there’s the sales staff you’ll need to employ. Selling will be your primary job, and you should hire expert cloud salespeople to do this.
- Competition: This can be the “nail in the coffin” for MSPs. Many end up losing customers to cloud providers with more substantial financial backing. Eventually, they realize that without the ability to fund a larger platform they’ll be on the losing end in this competitive space.
What Else To Consider
Most MSPs admit to their limitations and instead of building their own cloud, partner with a trusted cloud company. This is the easiest and most cost-effective way to “jump on the Cloud” and benefit from the revenue that’s coming this way.
We’ve done all of this and have been there. Want to learn more about what it takes to build a cloud? Contact Cloud Services For MSPs.