Enterprises can't solve tech support for the cloud

The only really effective approach costs more than you'll want to pay, but for now there's no better choice

Enterprises can't solve tech support for the cloud
Credit: Thinkstock

Your storage-as-a-service cloud goes down one afternoon. Who do your users call? The internal support desk? The cloud provider? Outsourced support? Their nerdy cousin?

These are the questions facing enterprise IT these days. They are brokering cloud services for users, often passing the cost on to them as well. However, when it comes to support, the cloud is still a hot potato. Enterprises are struggling to create support strategies that make sense for the cloud.

There are four issues at stake:

  1. Enterprises are brokering cloud services, but they still don't know much about them at a technical or operational level. They're not in a position to render assistance.
  2. Using public and hybrid clouds typically means internal networks and other infrastructure is involved. Cloud providers can't provide meaningful holistic support.
  3. Outsourced support is typically not equipped for the complexities that the cloud brings. If you need to support your Macs or PCs, great. If you need to support a complex multicloud architecture, you won't likely find outsourced resources that can do so.
  4. Cost becomes an issue, and the chargeback procedures around cloud support are complex. Who pays for what, and why?

What most enterprises do is provide internal support paired with support from the cloud providers. This provides a link between the internal system components and the cloud infrastructure. Users deal with a single person who knows whom to call and why.

However, this approach is also the most costly one. When you say "cloud," IT thinks "cheap." Thus, support costs could be a deal breaker with it comes to adopting or retaining cloud services. But if you don't take this approach, you get support that can't effectively do the job, for the four reasons listed above.

I wish I had a better answer, but I don't. As the cloud become more a part of enterprise IT, we're bound to figure out a better way. Until then, cloud support will be a head-scratcher and costlier than anyone would like.

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