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Why tenant consolidation is critical to cloud success

By Contributor
Thu 12 May 2022

Article by BitTitan, Brad Rosairo.

Consolidating tenants can improve cost management, security and engagement.

Over the past two years, the widespread shift to remote operations led to a flurry of activity for many managed services providers (MSPs) and IT service providers. They had to sign up tenants quickly for companies and higher education institutions to support remote work.

Quickly spinning up a tenant was adequate for the short term, but it was reactive. It lacked a more comprehensive cloud-enablement plan. Consequently, organisations ended up having to manage multi-tenant environments and an excess of public or private cloud resources. This has led to inefficient operations and ballooning costs.

For businesses and universities now looking to unlock value and streamline cloud operations further, consolidating multi-tenant environments enables them to leverage cloud solutions more effectively. Consolidation also leads to better cost management and seamless engagement across the organisation.

However, consolidating tenant environments is challenging, and merging troves of data from multiple tenant environments can become incredibly overwhelming.

It’s critically important not to make these complex multi-tenant consolidation projects even more challenging by managing them alone. Partnering with an MSP and leveraging automated migration tools can significantly ease these challenges and ensure no disruption to business operations.

Costly drawbacks

Multi-tenant environments present various hurdles. Generally, larger companies will employ different domains or sub-brands. A parent company might assign a separate Microsoft 365 tenant to each smaller company or branch under its umbrella.

Tenants that operate differently are often split. For instance, in the education sector, university tenants are typically divided between departments, faculty and students.

Multi-tenant splits can lead to an array of challenges. Where do end-users log in? Where is their data located? If their portals and applications aren’t properly synced with the new platform, the end-user will have to log in to different places.

Further, users may be confused about finding and accessing their data, where that data lives, how it will be shared, and if it’s still on-prem or moved to the cloud. In some cases, users may not have access to the data depending on where they log in.

For IT teams, multi-tenant environments present more endpoints and variables to manage. For the outsourced MSP, this means more time and effort is spent locating users and data and resolving issues. And overall, this means increased IT costs.

Larger cloud enablement

A larger cloud enablement plan brings multiple benefits. Above all, it allows companies to plan for expansion. It provides a clearer picture of what data needs to move during migration. It also offers more control in shaping the company’s IT future.

Additionally, a larger enablement plan helps companies grow in the cloud. It mitigates the hassles and headaches of managing users and data across multi-tenants or on-prem and cloud environments. And it eliminates the need to back up on-prem systems.

A cloud enablement plan also improves overall security through simplified management and reporting. It helps companies maintain compliance with industry regulations and stay ahead of changing security requirements.

A consolidated cloud environment offers better insights into user activity, overall application usage and enhanced monitoring and reporting. In addition, security updates for cloud systems are pushed frequently. All of this leads to better overall control of the environment.

Best consolidation practices

A detailed plan is critical to consolidating multi-tenant environments effectively. Organisations should lean on MSPs and IT service providers to develop a checklist of tasks to ensure the project is successful. Consolidating IT resources is complex, and service providers can bring the critical expertise needed to navigate the project and overcome any hurdles.

If tenants are being consolidated in an M&A scenario, it’s vital to consider the total number of users and their roles within the company. Do they work in-office or remotely? Will the domain name of the tenant be changing? Additionally, consider the compliance regulations for the client’s industry and how much data will be migrated. These will factor into the project timeline.

To ensure consolidation costs are managed effectively, organisations should work with their MSP or IT service provider to determine the appropriate number of licenses for cloud technologies and applications that will benefit end-users.

For instance, not all employees will require platforms and services like Teams and OneDrive; some in-the-field employees may need only email and data backup. Consider the nature of the company’s users and its day-to-day operations to estimate the project costs accurately.

Need for consolidation

With more companies relying on remote operations, the demand for consolidated tenant environments increases. Cost control, security, and mergers and acquisitions are just some of the drivers for consolidated tenants.

Companies that began their initial move to the cloud are further adopting cloud services to enhance their operations and maintain business continuity. Technology upgrades from cloud providers like Microsoft and Google also drive migration projects.

Since the pandemic began, businesses had to mobilise remote-work plans quickly. They turned to cloud services to maintain operations and spun up new tenants for the short term.

In the long term, however, consolidating multi-tenant environments will lead to more efficient operations, improved collaboration and engagement, and better resource management. A comprehensive cloud-enablement plan will help companies operate efficiently, achieve their business goals sooner, and be positioned for continued business growth.

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