Content access and management has become an important part of a complete cloud offering for any managed service provider. Understanding the history of the move to “the cloud” sheds some light on why this is the case.
The move to the cloud is well underway within enterprises. The early focus ofthis transition was the migration of applications to the cloud. In fact, when the movement to the cloud started, the application was really all that existed. At that point in time, the content created by applications generally lived in repositories created by and tightly tethered to the applications, so the applications and the content were almost considered one and the same.So it makes sense that the managed service providers that serve enterprises initially focused on moving applications to the cloud. But in recent years, we have seen a decoupling of applications and the content that they create. Applications still have attached content repositories. But increasingly the content is becoming dispersed across a variety of storage locations that include application-specific repositories, private enterprise storage and public cloud storage services. Content is even leaking outside of the enterprise perimeter and into individual cloud storage accounts. This change has been driven by employees taking advantage of new technologies to maximize productivity and convenience in an increasingly mobile/BYOD work environment. It is this decoupling of cloud applications and content that has driven the need for MSPs to provide a content access and management solution as part of their menu of cloud services. Outsourcing, management, security and control for applications without addressing the related content are incomplete solutions. MSPs must add content access and management to their service portfolio to fully address customer needs.
The starting point for an MSP isunderstanding the business needs for content access and management. The basic needs include:
1) Support for BYOD/mobile workforce. Increasingly, employees work outside of business hours and on personal devices, many mobile. Enterprise IT must support this anytime, anywhere mobile workforce to enable employees to achieve maximum productivity.
2) Broad storage access. Files and content needed for work are becoming dispersed. No longer does all content required to work live in one place. To be productive, employees require broad access to files and content. This content can now reside across private enterprise storage systems, ECM systems, and public, private and hybrid cloud storage environments. Especially when working mobile, toggling across multiple accounts and multiple logins is not efficient. To be efficient, IT must provide employees with a single control panel to access all of their work-required content regardless of where it is stored.
3) Security and control. The positive of the growing BYOD/mobile working model is the increased productivity. The challenge is the security in a new environment where access comes from outside the enterprise perimeter and sometimes on devices not managed by IT. The key is finding a balance that imposes limitations on content access but no so much that productivity is stifled. A key starting point is carrying some of the same access controls (LDAP, AD, etc.) from inside the enterprise firewall to the applications that access content from outside it.
Content access and management sits at the intersection of technologies ranging from cloud-based applications, cloud-based storage, enterprise mobility management and security. The number of overlapping technologies makes the creation of solutions for BYOD/mobile content access challenging. But it is quickly becoming a must-have component in a broader managed service offering. Fortunately,CloudFuze is here to partner with MSPs to address this vital service offering.