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Moving to the Cloud: 5 “Must Have” Areas of Expertise When Choosing an MSP

Part 2: 5 Reasons Why MSP Application Expertise is Critical When Moving to the Cloud

Nick Cavalancia

Your business probably relies on just a few very critical applications you can’t operate without. As you look to move some or all of your operations to the cloud to take advantage of the benefits the cloud brings, it’s important to realize that in some cases, there’s more to a move than simply pushing the server hosting an application up to a cloud provider.

In this second blog in a five-blog series on Moving to the Cloud: 5 “Must Have” Areas of Expertise When Choosing an MSP, we’re going to look at the second area of expertise necessary: Applications.

Moving applications to the cloud changes the environment in which the application runs – an application running on-premises enjoys the benefits of existing on the same network as its users, taking advantage of fast local network speeds, simplified network routing, and enough computing power to ensure it runs well.  But none of that is necessarily true when you move an application to the cloud.

If you were to partner with an MSP to assist with moving your applications, there are a few reasons why you should be looking for one that definitely has application expertise:

  • Some Applications Are Your Lifeblood – The applications you believe are most critical to your operations need to be a) running and b) accessible. MSPs with experience moving applications to the cloud are familiar with issues that may arise around connectivity, compatibility, interdependencies with other services and/or applications. They also can help to proactively plan the move to avoid anything that would disrupt operations.
  • Your Applications May Be Industry Specific – Having an MSP that is familiar with the setup, configuration, management, and maintenance of the applications that are particular to your industry is necessary. Otherwise, you’ll be paying an MSP to sit on the phone with the application vendor’s support team to do the same work your internal IT could do. The right MSP should know your applications intimately – or, at a minimum have the talent to quickly understand the application and its’ specifics – so they can add value throughout the move. Direct experience with an industry-specific applications is obviously preferred but your MSP doesn’t have to (and likely won’t) know every application inside and out to ensure an appropriate outcome.
  • Applications Can Be Complex – What your users see as a single application can actually be made up of multiple services, systems, data sets, and interdependencies. This means the seemingly easy move will take some planning, expertise and experience to accomplish.
  • Applications Don’t Automatically Work Well in the Cloud – When running on-premises, the systems your applications run on may have ample hardware resources (processor, disk, memory, networking). But when you move to the cloud, more often you’re needing to purchase virtual hardware in a predefined offering tier that can force you to choose between paying too much and not having the application performance needed.  The right MSP will help you determine where your systems need to run in the cloud and ensure optimal performance.
  • There May Be a Better Choice – Pushing the on-premises systems, services, and data into the cloud isn’t always the right path.  In many cases, there are newer cloud-based applications that will provide better value, faster performance, and improved productivity. The right MSP should have a grasp on what your options are – even when the answer is to move to a new application.

As a general rule, when discussing the move of your applications to the cloud, the MSP you choose should ideally be familiar with all of them. They should also be able to match your specific business needs with one or more options of how your operation will function in the cloud – whether as a result of moving applications or replacing them with cloud-native alternatives.

There is an optimal way to move your applications to the cloud; be sure to choose an MSP that can help you find it. 

In our next blog, we’ll focus on Cloud Expertise, discussing how your choice of cloud impacts your move, and what an MSP with this needed expertise looks like.

For more information on defining how your organization should move to the cloud, read the whitepaper Defining Your Journey to the Cloud.