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Cloud brokers can help IT departments manage the complexities of the cloud and help companies achieve maximum return on investment (ROI). There are certain cloud brokerage services that are requisite, a few that are nice to have, and many that are optional. How effective a broker is at solving an organization's cloud pain points depends on the effectiveness and resource abilities of the existing IT management system.
Obligatory cloud brokerage services: Management of integration points, customization
IT teams have successfully managed complex systems for many years. However, the growth and success of the cloud adds significant tasks to an IT team's workload, especially when team members are attempting to create a management system for all internal and public connections and integration points. Using a cloud broker allows in-house IT staff to remain focused on their current management tasks while working with the broker. Brokers, meanwhile, are adept at creating a system to manage internal and external connections and integration points.
A broker platform unifies cloud service providers in IaaS, SaaS or iPaaS (infrastructure, software or integration platform as a service) systems. Broker platforms are a combination of services in a single solution, which helps ensure interoperability. It saves time and stress for the IT and development staff if systems work together without requiring excess time spent analyzing failures and writing code fixes.
A second obligatory broker service is setting up the custom configuration within a cloud system. Cloud brokers have the existing expertise to work with the IT management group to set up cloud system configuration correctly. Errors in cloud configuration show up as security breaches, data loss or interoperability errors that existing development and IT resources must fix. Allowing the broker service to manage custom configuration keeps IT staff involved but focused on their existing duties rather than fighting fires in a complex configuration system.
Cloud brokerage service perks: Security and compliance, cost clarity for billing
A common cloud implementation pain point is managing security and required compliance. A cloud specialist is nice to have as cloud systems move into regulated and traditionally secure fields. It's not essential, but having a broker assist in setting up a security system and maintenance plan, while keeping in mind an organization's compliance needs, is an efficient move. Security and compliance are tightly knit and are complex fields that require constant awareness and clarity.
For example, one difficulty with cloud systems and the management of medical records is keeping the system available while making continuous security patches. Brokers with security expertise institute methods where security systems are updated while maintaining protection, and without affecting the availability of the records.
Additionally, brokers assist with security pain points by encrypting on-premises data and providing a secure tunnel to external connection points or other cloud infrastructures. Such services are frequently downloadable appliances using virtual systems. Other services may include tracking audit records for compliance and regulatory mandates, or producing readable reports and error logging to track activity. Similarly, brokers can integrate SaaS systems to handle identity management and single sign-on authentication.
Organization's with multiple cloud service providers often have difficulty analyzing their costs and return on cloud investment because of billing confusion. Cloud brokerage services simplify the billing process by creating a single invoice. Rather than analyzing multiple invoices, there is only one, which is split into categories for clarity.
Optional cloud brokerage services: Legacy integration, IT management
Legacy integration addresses a significant possible failure point for cloud implementations. The brokerage integrates new features into the existing and connected networks. The service may include code development and testing so in-house resources are not impacted. The complexity of managing data and application interconnectivity is immense, and many legacy systems simply do not integrate well outside of their proprietary boundaries. It's up to an organization to determine if legacy systems are worth moving, leaving in a separately managed system, or abandoned for newer, more flexible technology.
IT management is another optional service offered by cloud brokerages. It is critical in any organization because IT management controls governance, administration and system stability, and companies must consider if they are comfortable with a third party handling these duties. Each new system adds more layers of complexity. The advantage of using a brokerage service for IT management is to avoid over taxing existing resources by adding a highly complex cloud system to the mix. Many IT departments are already overtaxed and unable to rapidly provide necessary services to development staff, causing delays and increasing costs. It may be more cost-effective to have a brokerage service provide cloud-related management and to increase resource depth and response time.
Cloud brokerages allow organizations to unify, simplify and standardize cloud systems in order to improve innovation and global collaboration, add revenue streams and enhance cloud system functionality. For technology providers, brokerages offer specialized services and differentiate offerings to build market share, increase profits and open up additional distribution channels.
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