Managed Cloud Solution Providers (MCSP) are those thirty party companies that help your business to expand and provide muscle and expertise in two ways:
- Skill matrix to support – They have a bunch of experts in several disciplines to go through your IT service challenges and digital transformation, they are your mentor to understand your risk and how aligned is your investment in cloud solutions with your business. They have cloud architect and cloud strategist personas in their team to support your journey to the cloud on mostly hybrid scenarios.
- Tools to support– They have the right tools to support those business needs and to leverage your current digital state to a new version of your company achieving better efficient in your daily processes, simplifying your employees work, even their quality of life, and for sure, optimizing the time to react to your competitors with innovation. Just to remark, tools means not just thirty party tools but also the native cloud provider tools you have available when consuming cloud services.
Adding to those key points, all the most important operatives to support IT Services on the cloud are based in some specific daily tasks. Monitoring, backup, process automation or security are part of those operatives. Moreover, MCSP need to be effective to solve issues in order to provide the right quality to our customers. Something that it´s called “Operational Excellence” within the “Well Architected Framework”.With the massive expansion of cloud first IT services and migrations to the cloud of a huge amount of IT infrastructure to support data analytics, web services, disaster recovery and legacy applications in the road to be modernized, we need the right tools to cover some clear objetives. Azure Lighthouse has a tremendous maturity to solve lots of aspects and challenges any MCSP need to cope with:
- Scale as soon as we need to grow. Here i mean scale horizontally. So even when you have to assist lots of customers you can cover their need with granularity and focus on their specific roadmap to the cloud.
- Segment your IT cloud infrastructure from the customers IT cloud one. So any security issue or IT service downtime that you are providing internally as well as providing to others is limited and it just can affect a customer or group of customers.
- Provide permissions to some IT resources in the cloud and delegate depending on your customers projects and skills involved access to other partners, to freelance or to sum up to collaborate within this new project with several profiles.
- Achieve a whole picture of the IT services you are providing to your customers in several Azure contracts and tenants in terms of security posture, alerts with performance or health issues, triage misconfigured Items, provide the right azure governance, etc.
Azure Lighthouse has the potencial and flexibility to include monitoring and traceability to all the customers in several tenants, you get a holistic view, delegate specific permission with a great security level for a period or the time you want to the whole subscriptions or resources groups, integrate all in a Hybrid strategy together with Azure ARC or furthermore integrate security posture and SIEM for several tenants as well. Azure offers top native cloud tools to support your investments in almost any technology tendency.
Let´s go deeper into some nice strategies to any MCSP so they don´t get struggle trying to solve how to translate what they are doing right now on premise compare with Azure.
Access. To access you have as mandatory a secure authentication and authorization strategy., That´s why Microsoft offers the least privilege access approach with Azure Active Directory Privileged Identity Management (Azure AD PIM) to enhance even more access to the customers tenants with just a user or a security group.
Monitoring. Absolutely key for any MSCP. It is the core of your support to your customers. Adding you have to use the right ITSM (Information Technology Service Management) software to be aligned and strive in the right direction to assess and resolve customers issues from high priority to low priority.
Security Posture. Do you know how many misconfigurations and vulnerabilities exist in your customers Azure cloud?. Yes, you can add Azure Security Center to provide the right security posture and know which security controls are affected or can be aligned to your regulatory compliance. We can leverage the Security Score to see in a single pane of glass your customers security posture. Not easy peasy but helps a lot.
Incident Hunting. Maybe you know, maybe you don´t, Azure Sentinel, the Microsoft native SIEM can contribute to consolidate your security threats and deep dive any root cause of a security compromise across several tenants. https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/azure-sentinel/using-azure-lighthouse-and-azure-sentinel-to-investigate-attacks/ba-p/1043899
It´s a powerful tool to track logs, see layer to layer what´s is happening and determine how to step up suitable hardening for your technologies.
Hybrid Scenarios. Regarding Hybrid scenarios, Azure ARC, can be integrate as well with Azure Lighthouse bringing a great benefit to that holistic overview i mentioned before. The main target in this case, will be to provide the right governance to your customers even if they have some private clouds or on premise infrastructure. Therefore, an exciting approach for those companies which already have a lot of legacy staff to migrate during years but want to explore the benefits of public cloud such as Azure.
To sum up depending on your cloud provider maturity level, there are some key native tools to improve your support on your own or with the help of a MCSP. Azure is one of the most important providers together with AWS to offer this level nowadays.
Enjoy the journey to the cloud with me…see you soon.