Key Differences Between On-Premise and Cloud Managed Services

Lee Hylton / June 5, 2021

There is no doubt that the cloud is the wave of the future. For newer companies, embracing the latest technologies and trends can be second nature, but for more traditional organizations, things can quickly get a lot more complicated. This is where a Managed Service Provider can help.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are third-party contractors that offer IT tasks and services to companies. Managed Services typically include; infrastructure management, security services, DevOps, and NOC services. No matter how an organization may choose to utilize an MSP, they must first decide if their services are to be on-premise or with a cloud provider.

The differences between traditional managed services and AWS managed services

There are a number of differences between managed services offered on-premise and those offered on the cloud. For organizations trying to decide which is the better option, it’s necessary to compare them based on infrastructure needs and objectives of the company.

Infrastructure Management

Infrastructure management has some significant differences between the two. Cloud providers, like AWS, have built out robust API frameworks. This allows the usage of tooling like Terraform, CloudFormation, or Visual Studio to deploy and manage your infrastructure. If using Infrastructure as Code, you get to enjoy increased benefits like; automation, version control, cost regulation, rapid disaster recovery and shortened replicable provisioning times.

On premise can support automated provisioning of images but your lead time to get to that setup can’t compare. Disaster recovery is slower and more expensive. Additionally, taking in cost considerations of hardware to be ready and possible licensing costs of virtualization software, cloud is the clear winner. No matter the size of your company, the benefits of cost savings and speed are always recognized.

Security Services

Hopefully, security isn’t keeping you up at night. It does require constant attention, however. Having a responsive team to monitor for changes and protect your environment works in either environment. The benefits of cloud providers really shine in this area for at least one of the same reasons infrastructure management does- a robust API. Using tools that are either included or third party to pinpoint areas of remediation can reduce time, save money, and increase awareness around problem areas.

There are security services that specialize in intrusion detection, penetration testing, and compliance but Managed Services can setup and manage services, as well as respond to events. These services exist for on premise but the tools for investigating your entire infrastructure is largely limited due to the inability to check via a robust API. The biggest advantage to on-premise over a cloud solution is control of physical access. This is a misguided concern, however, because provider’s facilities meet or exceed the same standards that any other data center does.


Integrating DevOps into your organization to provide guidance and structure to your dev team will help improve operations in several ways. One of which is establishing an efficient CI/CD pipeline with tooling. Using tools like Jenkins, Travis, and CircleCI, are pretty universal either in a cloud or on premise but there are some differences in what you can do, namely improved automation, scalability, and lowered cost. You can also go native in  Amazon Web Services (AWS). Specifically, AWS actually will provide included tools like Elastic Beanstalk, CodePipeline, and CodeDeploy. Typically, these don’t cost anything, only the services that they create.

Whatever the tool(s) that you decide to use, Managed Services can build it out, update, and maintain it for you. Being able to deploy faster, pay only for what you use, and create automation really help a team focus on what they enjoy most. This wins over an on-premise solution.

Network Operational Center (NOC)

NOC services can be pretty standard across the board, in terms of the basic function of responding to alerts. The diversity of broken up services in cloud with API and agent monitoring really come out on top here, though. For example, AWS has a broad range of services that used to have to run on specific machines and devices like email, cron jobs, and caching to name just a few. Now, all of these services are already running and only need to be configured. In AWS, native monitoring of these services can be done with CloudWatch using the API and set up with automation. Automation like; setting up a scheduled serverless script to check for tagged resources or using coded infrastructure with variables. The broken-up services really help when something needs to be troubleshot once of these alerts go off. Not needing to log into an instance to resolve an issue is more efficient and secure. It also doesn’t impact an entire server that may have other functions attached to it.

On premise obviously has monitoring solutions but the automation is a bit more complicated. The automation isn’t as robust and the API into the independent services doesn’t exist.


Managed services come with many benefits including increased operational efficiencies, minimized downtime, improved workflows, enhanced security, an increasing amount of automation and general peace of mind that everything is being taken care of and monitored. Whether companies choose to trust an MSP on-premise or on a cloud computing environment like AWS, it is crucial to fully weigh the key differences between the two.

Ready to migrate?

Moving infrastructures and workloads to the cloud is no longer a thing of the past. Rather, it is almost a necessity for organizations to do so when considering the advantages of scalability, automation, cost savings, and efficiency being hard to beat.

In order to help ensure the transition from on-premise to cloud is seamless, many companies are turning to AWS MSPs. Experts that can assist with the increasing levels of automation, process, and complexity brought about by the cloud. MSPs are equally valuable for businesses that are still utilizing traditional services and wish to transition towards a cloud and DevOps environment in the future. There are needs for both types of setups, too. Increasingly, we are seeing hybrid solutions that address multiple needs. Overall, cloud solutions are fitting the needs of most organizations, though.

Blue Sentry, an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) Premier Consulting Partner and provider of Managed DevOps-as-a-Service, offers all of these solutions and more. As an MSP recognized in the highest tier within the APN, Blue Sentry is dedicated to driving successful customer outcomes.