Partners Can Provide More Management, Security Services On The Way To The Cloud

Managed services and security are at the top of business customer wish lists for 2018.

Enterprises aren't afraid of the cloud anymore -- that includes public and private environments. In fact, many organizations are committed to leveraging cloud services to offload workloads of all kinds. But that means that most businesses will need help with management and security.

UCI Irvine Health, a large university-based care provider in Orange County, Calif., has admittedly been late to the game in adopting cloud services due to concerns around security. But today, the provider is using a combination of its own data center infrastructure to house medical records and Amazon Web Services for analytics.

"We are looking at managed services in all areas, and we want to get out of the data center business and security as well. We should get out of those spaces because those are not core competencies for us," Charles Podesta CIO of UCI Irvine Health told an audience of solution providers during a keynote panel at The NexGen 2017 Conference & Technology Expo in Los Angeles on Monday.

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UC Irvine's Podesta said that while bad actors are attacking all industries, hackers love to target health care companies. As a result, managed services are becoming more appealing to health care providers of all sizes because these organizations don't have cloud expertise in-house.

"We are behind, and it costs a lot of money to catch up. Managed services are going to start playing a bigger role for organizations like ours as a result," Podesta said.

Terry Orletsky, vice president of IT for The Ken Blanchard Companies, a management training firm based in Escondido, Calif., is moving "everything it can" to the cloud. Today, the company is using public cloud extensively, including AWS Glacier, S3, and NetSuite. The company's goal is to cut down on its redundant operations and digitize its business as much as possible.

The company's cloud journey has been successful so far, Orletsky said. Heading into 2018, the company plans on moving its corporate web assets into Microsoft Azure and "getting out of the data center business," he added.

Enterprises today are expected to do more with less, so cost-cutting will be top of mind for business customers as they embrace the cloud. But cost-cutting on the part of the end customer can translate into a bigger opportunity to solution providers, said Sean Ferrel, president and CEO of San Diego-based solution provider Managed Solution who moderated the panel.

Mitchell International, a software provider for the automotive industry that offers solutions for managing collision and medical claims, parts and labor estimates, and glass replacement quotes, is moving most of its main storage into AWS. However, the popular cloud platform isn't a fit for all data, according to Pauline Mulvey vice president of enterprise business technology for Mitchell. As such, the company is adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, using a combination of AWS, Salesforce, and NetSuite, Mulvey said.

The ultimate goal is to have "one throat to choke," Mulvey said. To save money and have one trusted resource handling its IT needs, solution providers that can bundle offerings for customers will be in high-demand, she said.

"The more things you can get from a single vendor, [the customer] typically gets a better price," Mulvey said. "And the [solution provider] gets a bigger chunk of the pie."

Working with a solution provider can help boost a businesses' security posture, streamline IT and produce better business outcomes for the end customer, Podesta said.

"We're not only looking to save money and offload risk to another organization, but have better services for our customers as well -- that's the goal," he said.