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Published: 8 December 2023
Contributors: Teaganne Finn; Amanda Downie

What is managed cloud?

Managed cloud services are the complete or partial management and control of a client’s cloud resources.

A managed cloud service provider (MCSP) is the vendor or cloud platform that offers the managed cloud service. It can be directly connected to the cloud resource provider or a third-party server. MCSP responsibilities may include migration, optimization, security, configuration, system upgrades and maintenance in a cloud-native modernization.

The purpose of an organization having an MCSP is to optimize the benefits of cloud services while minimizing time and costs incurred by the business and its overall day-to-day functions.

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How does managed cloud work?

The purpose of a managed cloud is to outsource cloud management to an as-a-service option. This way, the organization can ensure that the cloud resources are running well while avoiding the costs of hiring a team to manage the cloud resources. The inclusion of a managed cloud service can occur anytime throughout the cloud solution lifecycle and help keep up with the ever-changing cloud ecosystem.

The managed cloud allows the organization to select which IT functions to control and which IT infrastructure or functions will reside with outside vendors and data centers. The service provider selected has its infrastructure that owns, operates and maintains data; using automations, this infrastructure is available in a cloud environment. Other offerings include cloud computing and cloud deployment to further help with your organization's workloads.

The payment method for outsourcing a managed cloud service is typically an as-a-service subscription model where resources are accessed online. The service provider must ensure that all information or data is up-to-date and available to the organization for real-time support when an issue occurs, along with performance monitoring and cybersecurity management. Depending on the organization, providers can deliver the managed services through a public cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment.

A time in which an organization might consider outsourcing cloud operations is during cloud migration. A managed service provider (MSP) can help manage cloud data and DevOps while freeing IT teams up to do other pertinent work.

Types of managed cloud services

There are several types of managed cloud services, depending on what the organization needs and where they are in the cloud solution lifecycle.

Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS): IaaS is an on-demand access to cloud-hosted physical and virtual servers, storage and networking from a third-party provider. IaaS is the original "as-a-service" offering, starting with major cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure.

Platform-as-a-service (PaaS): PaaS is a cloud-based solution that provides on-demand access to a complete, ready-to-use, cloud-hosted platform for developing, running, maintaining and managing applications.

Software-as-a-service (SaaS): SaaS is a cloud-based solution that is a ready-to-use, cloud-hosted application software. SaaS is based on a subscription model. All infrastructure required to deliver it is hosted and managed by the SaaS vendor.

Benefits of managed cloud

A managed cloud service offers several benefits to an organization, including operational efficiency, consistency and scalability.

Centralized control

Using a managed cloud service provider (MCSP) ensures that all cloud infrastructure controls are in one place, reducing downtime.


As business needs change, the managed cloud service provider can grow with the organization. It can allocate resources effectively while staying cost-effective and minimizing security risks in the cloud environment. A managed service can be used for a hybrid cloud, multicloud environment, on-premises and, in some cases, private cloud.

Cost savings

A managed cloud service provider allows an organization to add resources as needed and only pay for the services being used. No additional hardware or software is required, making pricing more flexible.

Network security

The managed cloud service provider has a security protocol in place to address threat monitoring, compliance regulations and round the clock monitoring across the IT services landscape.

Disaster recovery

In the event of a disaster, managed cloud services can quickly back up and restore data while minimizing disruptions to business operations.

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