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Outsourcing: Public Cloud vs Managed Hosting

If you have plants in the reception of your firm and they are watered by another company (or individual) that’s outsourcing - albeit at the simple end of the scale! At the other end of that scale one of the first big outsourcing deals was some 15 years ago in 2003. Business commentators were taken by surprise when Procter & Gamble outsourced all world-wide IT functions to Hewlett-Packard in a deal worth $3 Billion. Their reasoning was that specialists would be able to do a better job than they could. And time proved them correct as the initial $3B deal soon reached $5B.

In this week’s blog, we’re taking a deeper look at what outsourcing, specifically Public Cloud (such as Azure) as compared to private Cloud/Managed Hosting could mean for your business, particularly if you’re in the legal sector.

Public cloud vs hosting
Hosted solutions are just like the on-premise solutions many firms have today, except these are managed by someone else. The infrastructure costs are the same, software patches and upgrades still take a long time and need to be tested in a sandbox first. Today, we’re taking a deeper look at what this could mean for your business, particularly if you’re in the legal sector.

Economies of scale
With hosted solutions, the cost to scale still means someone must physically add and configure additional servers. That means cost and, more importantly perhaps, delay. Sometimes significant delays! So even if your firm is not managing those servers you are paying in time and money. And time is money - especially in legal firms.

In other words, hosted solutions have all the disadvantages of on-premise solutions, with the added cost of hiring someone else to manage it. 

While a hosted solution removes some of the headaches associated with IT, and, nominally at least, allows firms to focus on law, it does not provide the efficiency gains and agility that legal firms can obtain with the public Cloud. Smaller and mid-sized firms especially now understand that the cloud give them access to sophisticated software tools that would once have required a large IT infrastructure and staff to support it. The Cloud - the Public Cloud - enables mid-sized firms to compete on equal terms with larger competitors.

Considerations
Here are a few things to consider, especially in light of the understandable psychological bias that that private cloud/managed hosting is more secure than public cloud:

  • Public Cloud providers are much larger targets for hackers than private Clouds. This means Public Clouds are hardened through continual hacking attempts.

    • Public Clouds attract the best security people available; the biggest and best Cloud service providers have millions of customers relying on them. They can attract the best talent and can afford to pay them.

    • Public Cloud providers, like Microsoft, can get access to the latest security gear much more readily than a small to midsize private company.  They are also able to utilise the latest security techniques, partly because they are often the originators of such techniques!

      • Because data can be accessed in so many different ways, thin client, laptop or mobile phone, and can be transferred across multiple networks, all communication should be protected using encryption.  This is just one of the reasons Virtuoso work so closely with Citrix.

 

Transparency

Any size of business can advertise Cloud-based services to the world but how can you be sure that the company is competent and safe to work with? How do you assess them? Some Managed Service Providers may be unwilling to explain their security processes - sometimes for their own security reasons which may appear perfectly reasonable. But transparency is always preferable. Well for Microsoft Cloud, you could look at this Compliance for Microsoft Cloud article. The most comprehensive set of compliance offerings by any cloud service provider. And it is completely transparent.

Managed Service/Public Cloud service providers typically implement robust data replication mechanisms as a safeguard for server failures. This means that the customer’s data might be distributed across different data centres and geographically separate. The Microsoft Cloud can do this whilst still complying with SRA regulations to keep all data in the UK. If you would like more information on this my contact details are below.

In conclusion

Data and communication protection is paramount in Cloud computing. Law firms use the services provided even though the security mechanisms for secure communication can be quite abstract, especially to someone who is not an IT expert.

Next steps
To find out more about the points discussed above please contact our sales specialist for the professional services market Gerald Martin by clicking on the button below, emailing gerald.martin@virtuoso-uk.com or you can phone +44 (0)20 3326 3900

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