IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Cloud Management Pain and Relief

This year’s rush to online everything has channel pros coping with cloud management headaches. Here’s how to conquer them. By Rich Freeman
Reader ROI: 
THIS YEAR’S RUSH TO THE CLOUD has MSPs grappling with new management challenges.
AN EXCESS of admin portals with limited functionality, plus novel security concerns, are chiefly responsible for the challenges.
AUTOMATION, STANDARDIZATION, security, and optimization are four keys to overcoming cloud management demands.

GIVE THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC credit for one thing, at least. It may have clobbered the global economy, but it sure did speed up the business world’s embrace of cloud computing.

Indeed, thanks to skyrocketing adoption of software- and infrastructure-as-a-service solutions in the months since COVID-19’s appearance, IDC now expects global cloud services spending to climb at a 15.7% CAGR through 2024 to over $1 trillion.

With that flood of cloud revenue, however, has come a host of cloud management challenges. “Everything looks different, everything has its own different policies,” says Malik Khan, CEO of PointClick Technologies, a cloud and security service provider in Raleigh, N.C.

For many channel pros, in fact, managing cloud solutions has been among 2020’s biggest headaches. Conquering the issues responsible for that pain, moreover, has become an urgent priority.

“It’s not going to slow down anytime soon,” says Khan of the cloud’s ascent to dominance.

A Zillion Portals

The many reasons cloud management is difficult begin with tools. Though most MSPs have an RMM application, those systems are usually better at supporting devices than cloud solutions.

“We have all these tools, which are made to make IT life easier, that ignore SaaS and cloud completely,” says Josh Weiss, president and virtual CIO of L.A. Creative Technologies, a cloud service provider in Los Angeles. As a result, he adds, technicians must rely on a long list of vendor-specific administrative tools instead. “You’re hopping back and forth between a zillion portals.”

Few of those portals, moreover, support multitenancy, and they rarely do a good job of simplifying batch processes like adding multiple users or refreshing passwords across an entire company. To perform tasks like that, users must either repeat the same sequence of clicks manually over and over again or write and execute a script in PowerShell, JavaScript, or Python—assuming anyone on their staff knows those languages.

“Those are skills that weren’t necessarily required by service providers in the past to do their day-to-day stuff,” observes Shane Monty, vice president of Bang Industries, a provider of cloud and managed services in Laval, Quebec.

About the Author

Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Executive Editor

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