What to Look for in an Azure Managed Service Provider

By November 24, 2020Cloud Computing

What-makes-a-good-Azure-MSPPublic cloud is complex. Working with a platform as vast as Azure, adds to this complexity.

But because of Azure’s capability to excel in all aspects of cloud infrastructure (including security, performance, and scale) it’s an extremely useful tool in enabling business agility – particularly where Artificial Intelligence, Data Modelling or advanced capacity requirements exist.

Azure’s nature as a public cloud, however, means that any implementation needs to be carefully planned, executed, and managed by an experienced partner with proven Azure experience. To ensure success from the beginning with design, right through to day-to-day operations, you should look no further than an Azure Managed Service Provider.


What is an Azure Managed Service Provider (MSP)?

The hyper-scale nature of cloud gives new meaning to scalability, elasticity and resiliency – and has redefined how applications are architected and delivered.

Because of this, the approach to IT asset management has changed, simply because, with cloud, businesses are able to do so much more.

But this potential brings with it a high level of complexity, as well as a need for careful cost and security management.

A skilled Azure MSP like Evros Technology Group, helps customers by guiding them in all aspects of their cloud journey. From assessment, to migration, optimisation, cost, security, and governance.


Do you need an MSP for Azure?

Moving to Azure requires a shift in thinking – physical barriers no longer exist. This removes capacity concerns and increases speed-to-market, but also introduces more complex cost planning, and identity lifecycle management. Because of this, businesses can fall vulnerable without an experienced MSP to guide them throughout their journey to successful adoption.


What kind of services does an Azure MSP provide?

Some of the essential Azure MSP services include anything from basic IT support (patching, updates, configuration management, identity management), to backup, proactive infrastructure monitoring/alerting as well as basic anti-virus and anti-malware support.

More advanced services would include proactive capacity planning, performance and cost optimisation, deep Security (WAF, DDoS, Threat analytics, anti-virus, anti-malware, email and web protection), proactive runbook authoring, advanced operational intelligence and custom dashboard provision detailing usage, performance, governance and cost.


What makes a good Azure MSP?

In short, a good Azure MSP can provide you with the most optimal environment for your business.

This means having the skills, expertise, and relevant industry experience to be able to help you get the most out of Azure, while ensuring it is secure, cost effective and meets your needs as a business.

And to ensure this is what you achieve when you partner with an Azure MSP, you should be looking for some key attributes:


1) Experience

Unplanned cloud adoption and poor oversight can lead to environments that are difficult to manage, higher spend and give a disappointing ROI.

It is important to have access to a group of experienced, qualified engineers who know exactly how best to accurately design and configure your environment.

Ensuring your Azure environment is setup correctly is critical. Having this completed at the beginning, by an experienced partner, ensures you can continue your Azure journey with confidence.


2) Level 3 24×7 Monitoring and Support

Your business does not stop at 6pm. And if there is an issue, you want to ensure that it is dealt with by an experienced engineer regardless of the time of day.

By choosing a partner who offers 24×7 global support, it will give you the peace of mind that should anything happen – whatever the complexity of the issue – that your MSP will be there to fix it straight away.


3) Governance and Compliance

Not all businesses are the same, different industries have different regulations and compliance requirements that they need to meet.

Public cloud can present unique challenges to this. However, a skilled Azure MSP partner will be able to ensure all your regulations are met and adhered to.

Our highly qualified team will be able to help you meet your requirements, especially with more bespoke offerings such as our own, Azure Serve engagement.


4) Security

Public Cloud platforms change at a rapid pace. Combine this with both multiple services and multiple users, and there is potentially more risk of misconfiguration that could impact your security posture.

It is vital your MSP has the experience, and the technical expertise required to be able to secure your enterprise data and give you complete control over your access points.

At Evros, our cloud security experts will review and make recommendations regarding configuration of your organisation’s Azure tenancy, covering:

  • Access control
  • Resource protection
  • Network architecture
  • Auditing
  • Reporting


5) Cost management

Azure has multiple cost models. Some are suitable for a proof-of-concept, such as Pay-as-you-Go. Others are more suited to long term, flexible, billing capabilities such as CSP.

Finding the right model for your business and ensuring that model stays managed should be guided by an MSP. Cost management within Azure is required for the lifecycle of your resource. Ensuring you gain maximum benefit from efficient spend.


6) Backup and Disaster Recovery

Loss of valuable company data could potentially close your doors permanently.

Businesses need a complete, fully managed backup and restore service. Ensuring validation of data and functionality throughout the year.

A skilled Azure MSP will be able to match the right backup solution to fit your requirements.

At Evros, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity are addressed using Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery. This ensures your Azure configuration meets both your RPO and RTO requirements.


Thinking of moving to Azure?

Our Principal Azure Solution Architect, and Microsoft MVP, Joe Carlyle, discusses the considerations businesses need to make as well as common pitfalls in migrating to Azure, in our eBook.