Are we experiencing a technology boom? Entrepreneurs are popping up everywhere, charging the market with innovative products, mobile aps and disruptive technologies. Their organizations are small, lean, solely focused on what is necessary to grow. And grow they do. So these technology-based start-ups need an IT infrastructure that grows with them. For many forward-thinking organizations — from Expedia and Reddit to the federal government — that infrastructure is Amazon Web Services or AWS, a cloud-based platform built for rapid scaling. And who is running the platform, managing the day-to-day operations? More often than not, these organizations are turning to third-party managed services providers as an external partner.

Like consumers in today’s economy who continue to eschew physical goods for digital replications, organizations of all types are seeing the benefits of the public cloud. By renting digital space instead of buying physical data storage solutions, they are operationalizing IT infrastructure expenses. Partnering with an external managed services provider enables organizations to leverage a team of dedicated experts for less than the cost of having an AWS specialist in-house.

What is AWS?

Amazon’s AWS public cloud offers extensive capabilities and global coverage, operating from 13 geographies around the world with the highest concentration of servers in the eastern US. The platform is composed of four core features: Compute, Storage and Content Delivery, Databases, and Networking.

AWS is best known for two of its 60 distinct services:

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
This central part of the cloud platform enables businesses to run their own applications on rented virtual computers. The “elastic” part comes in when users create, launch, and terminate virtual server usage as needed.

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
This web service provides file storage through web interfaces — with 99.9% monthly uptime guaranteed. Notable web-based companies utilize this scalable service, including Netflix, Dropbox, and Pinterest.

Why choose AWS?

Like other clouds, AWS is a scalable solution that enables users to pay by virtual space usage. In AWS, you only pay for the space you use every month. Within the public cloud, Amazon offers multiple options for occupants with varying needs. AWS GovCloud accommodates the unique needs of U.S. government agencies by offering a cordoned-off area designed for sensitive information.

Why work with a managed services provider?

It’s not enough to have an AWS cloud; organizations must understand how to get the most out of it. If you operate like many companies, you may not see the benefit of staffing your IT department with specialists. Your IT team is more likely committed to the greater goal of growing your business. Retaining a third party to handle the specifics of AWS can help keep your internal IT team focused on the bigger picture.

Ultimately, Partnering with an external managed services provider enables organizations to leverage a team of dedicated experts for less than the cost of having an AWS specialist in-house. Your AWS projects and initiatives will be more successful, with quicker implementation, higher performance and lower overall total cost, saving you time and money while providing peace-of-mind.

Migration

Migrating to the cloud requires a solid vetting process and an action plan. Business considerations include assessing the overall readiness of the organization for cloud migration, followed by a process and order of migrating applications. Technical factors must be taken into consideration, including integration of cloud applications with others essential to the organization that may still reside on-site.

Architecture

Renting space in a public cloud does not mean a one-size-fits-all solution. Designing a space that meets your organization’s unique needs is paramount when creating a cloud that will expand and contract with the ebbs and flows of modern business. Mapping the data to a particular location within the cloud that meets requirements of that particular application is essential for security and compliance. Architecture in the cloud is never complete; it evolves with the platform, enabling companies to take advantage of new technological advancements within AWS. Ongoing architecture support is a major benefit to opting to use a managed services provider.

Security

When housing your data in an external cloud, you share security responsibilities with Amazon. While AWS manages the security of the cloud itself, you are responsible for security within the cloud. The onus is still on you to keep your data safe. Keeping your AWS secure in-house requires a team of dedicated experts to monitor your cloud data 24x7x365. A managed services provider can provide continuous monitoring and reactive services to fix security flaws and manage patches.

Compliance

Compliance in the cloud — whether PCI or HIPAA — is composed of a network of services that all need to be running simultaneously. Firewalls, anti-virus software, and authentication are essential to keep the cloud data within compliance requirements.

Constant Support

Keeping the AWS cloud running smoothly is imperative to your business. Outages cost businesses, and a managed services provider will keep representatives on hand to respond to unforeseen service interruptions.

Business Planning

Is AWS the best solution for your business? Are you getting optimal usage out of the cloud? A managed services provider utilizes advanced analytics to review utilization and make recommendations for the future.

Are you interested in migrating your applications to the AWS cloud? ViaWest is a Certified Partner of AWS. We take a consultative approach to build a managed services plan that maximizes your growth potential. Contact us today for a free infrastructure evaluation!