In a previous post, I covered the term CSP (Cloud Solution Provider) and the differences between a CSP and an MSP. Since then, the question of continuing to offer on-premises services has come up a few times with readers and others in the community. Many seem to be wondering. I’d like to address this question specifically in today’s blog post

Should You Make the Move to Cloud-Based Solutions?

If you’ve read many of my blog posts on this site and the other Hornetsecurity blogs, you’re likely prepared for one of my favorite answers. That is, “It depends.” On-premises requirements vary based on the organization for which you are providing services. The suitability of cloud solutions is not a one-size-fits-all proposition; it significantly depends on the unique operational needs and technological infrastructure of each organization. Consider, for instance, a small realtor agency with a modest team of 10 users primarily utilizing document-oriented applications. Their technological footprint and demands are substantially different from a large-scale manufacturing entity, which might have 400 users interacting with a diverse suite of applications, including machine controls and intricate engineering software like CAD. These distinct operational scales and complexities inherently dictate the degree and manner of cloud integration that would be beneficial. Cloud-based solutions, with their promise of scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, should be earnestly considered and often preferred in many scenarios. As Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs), it is incumbent upon you to judiciously evaluate and recommend the appropriate level of cloud integration tailored to each client’s specific needs. However, transitioning entirely away from on-premises servers is not always the optimal or feasible route. The current trend leans towards a hybrid cloud model, blending the security and control of on-premises infrastructure with the agility and innovation of cloud computing. This hybrid approach allows organizations to leverage the best of both worlds, accommodating a wide array of workloads and applications. In conclusion, while the momentum is undeniably shifting towards cloud-based solutions, a thorough analysis of each organization’s requirements, coupled with a strategic approach to integrating cloud services, is paramount. CSPs must navigate this transition with a balanced perspective, aiming to harness the cloud’s potential while ensuring alignment with the business’s operational realities and long-term objectives.

Hybrid Cloud and the CSP

The truth is that very few organizations can go 100% cloud. Don’t get me wrong. That percentage is increasing as time goes on. But right now, many use cases still require an on-premises footprint. For example:
  • Highly GPU Intensive Workloads
  • Latency Sensitive Applications
  • Complex Monitoring Needs
  • Poor Connectivity
  • Disconnected (No External Connectivity) Scenarios
  • Recent Large Capital Investment in On-Prem Infrastructure
  • Low Customer Comfort with the Cloud
A good CSP will continue to leverage on-prem (only where it makes sense) and pair that with what works well in the cloud, such as:
  • Backup and DR
  • Email
  • File Storage
  • Web Apps
  • Office Applications
  • Collaboration Software
  • More!
Good CSPs provide exceptional value in knowing where on-prem and the public cloud intersect, and they can apply solutions for both with a high degree of skill to fill all the technology needs of a business. Are there CSPs out there that ONLY do cloud? Sure. However, you’ll likely find that many of those CSPs operate in an industry vertical that organically lends itself well to running cloud-native. Other verticals aren’t so simple. Manufacturing, for example, often employs complex machine control and supply chain software that doesn’t lend itself well to running in the cloud (yet). This is not to mention engineering and parts-design software that doesn’t work well in cloud scenarios in most cases either. Another good example is healthcare. Many functions within a hospital cannot be off-site to the cloud for regulatory reasons, or a given function is so critical to patient care (often life and death) that they can’t risk even the slightest connectivity outage.

Where and How You Can Move to Cloud-Based Solutions

In addressing the critical issue of shifting towards cloud-based services, my directive to both budding and seasoned Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) is clear and straightforward: Prioritize cloud solutions in all your strategic planning and implementation.  However, it is crucial to tailor these solutions to fit the specific needs and context of each business. Avoid forcing a universal solution onto diverse problems — akin to the futility of forcing a square peg into a round hole. Remember, the hallmark of a proficient solution provider is the ability to discern and deploy the most appropriate technology that aligns with the unique requirements and goals of a business. As CSPs, your objective should be to guide businesses through the cloud transition smoothly and efficiently, ensuring that every technological adoption enhances operational excellence, cost-effectiveness, and competitive edge. This means conducting a thorough analysis of the business’s existing infrastructure, understanding its future goals, and accordingly, recommending cloud solutions that offer scalability, flexibility, and security. It is also imperative to educate business leaders about the benefits and implications of cloud adoption, addressing any misconceptions or reservations they might have. By fostering a collaborative environment, you can work together to identify areas where cloud solutions can bring immediate value and areas where a gradual transition is more appropriate. Ultimately, your role as a CSP is not just to implement technology but to be a strategic partner in your client’s journey towards digital transformation. By leading with cloud solutions yet respecting the unique shape of each business’s needs, you can carve a path to modernization that is both effective and sustainable. Embrace the cloud, but do so with the wisdom and adaptability that ensures every solution is a perfect fit for the business it serves.

Wrap-Up

What are your thoughts? Have you been trying to lead with cloud and struggling? Are your customers hesitant to invest in the cloud? Thanks for reading!