Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud Services – What are the differences?

When cloud computing was invented back in the 1960s, no one knew it would become one of the widely used technological innovations in the 21st century. From healthcare to manufacturing, it is a significant part of diverse industries around the world. However, before deciding to move to the cloud, it is essential to choose the right type of services for your business. And that’s where you have to decide between managed and unmanaged cloud services. Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud Services - What are the differences? Managed cloud services help you focus more on your organization’s goal as the provider takes care of all your technical needs. Whereas, with unmanaged cloud services, you have to dedicate your time and resources in handling your IT needs. Before you go for either of them, let’s have a look at their differences:

1. Control

One of the significant differences between unmanaged and managed cloud services is the range of control. An unmanaged cloud service is like buying an empty room from a broker; the type of furniture, accessories you want to add to the room is left to the buyer itself. Similarly, unmanaged hosting services are limited to providing a default solution configuration. The user must install the applications on the cloud server. On the other hand, managed cloud services are akin to buying a fully-furnished room. The broker takes their buyer’s needs into account and furnishes the room with the necessary furniture and accessories. In managed cloud services, the hosting provider offers customized solutions and installs third-party applications for the buyer. The client needs to intimate the provider about their business needs, and the hosting provider provides the optimum customized solution for them.

2. Handling Backups

Handling data backups is another area where both services differ significantly. In an unmanaged cloud service, the user decides the frequency and complexity of data backups. While this may seem beneficial, there are several downsides to it too. Since the user handles all the data backup operations, it is more error-prone. Also, what if the software you have used for backing up gets corrupted and no recent backups are stored? To prevent all these mishappenings, a great deal of dedication and investment is required, which puts considerable stress on a company’s working. In managed cloud services, the hosting provider is responsible for handling all your data backup needs. They conduct regular service checks to ensure a smooth data backup process. This way, your organization can dedicate more time and effort to other crucial organizational needs, bringing in more productivity and efficiency. Also, some hosting providers even provide DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) solution, further ensuring your data remains safe and well protected (even if a calamity occurs).

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Whenever an organization opts for a third-party service, the first question which comes to their mind is whether it will be cost-effective or not. In an unmanaged cloud service, you are free from any variable costs that might increase according to your requirements. This is an excellent option for newly-established businesses that wish to involve less monetary value at stake. However, they must hire a professional IT team to handle and maintain their servers if they are not technically competent enough to handle their needs themselves. Also, an unmanaged hosting solution has its plethora of issues, which might call for considerable capital investment in the long run. On the other hand, in a managed cloud service, since the hosting provider is responsible for all your IT needs, you don’t need to set up your own IT teams for server maintenance and checks. Also, their experienced guidance helps in better allocation of your resources that is again beneficial for your organization. However, they offer monthly subscription plans, which can be a little costly for businesses that have just started and experience a lesser customer influx.

4. Data Security

About 90% of data breaches occur due to human error. Thus, it is safe to say that the managed cloud service holds the upper hand when it comes to handling data security. In managed cloud service, the hosting provider has an experienced IT team for all your security needs. They use the latest available technologies to conduct regular system audits and detect vulnerabilities across the server. Also, as they are more experienced, they have the necessary ability to help you in adhering to strict security guidelines like HIPAA and PCI DSS. On the other hand, an unmanaged cloud solution is less secure and more vulnerable to security threats. The user who installs all the required antivirus/antimalware software may lack the necessary knowledge to set up an effective security solution. Also, the hired IT team may not be experienced enough to devise a security plan for the organization’s needs. This makes keeping data in an unmanaged cloud solution more risk-prone and easily accessible by hacking.

5. End-User Support

Last but not the least, you get unparalleled end-user support in managed cloud service. In unmanaged cloud servers, the service provider is only concerned with providing the cloud infrastructure. It is the user who has to manage the server, configure it, install applications and software, and set up the security measures. If the user experiences any technical issues, they have to either fix them themselves or rely on their IT team (which may not be available round the clock). All this calls for hefty time investment too, which doubles your organizational workload. Going for a managed cloud service means freeing yourself from these unnecessary work-life hassles. The hosting provider ensures that they provide round-the-clock technical support for all your IT issues. They provide premium features like constant server monitoring, automatic software updates, regular security audits, and rapid troubleshooting.


The points mentioned above indicate that unmanaged cloud hosting offers you greater control over your data but is also difficult to manage. Whereas in managed cloud hosting, the hosting provider controls everything, which is a good thing for organizations that do not have the expertise or IT infrastructure to manage a cloud server. Wish to know which type of hosting is suitable for your business? Get in touch with our Solutions Consultant at 1-855-ACE-IT-UP.

About Nolan Foster

With 20+ years of expertise in building cloud-native services and security solutions, Nolan Foster spearheads Public Cloud and Managed Security Services at Ace Cloud Hosting. He is well versed in the dynamic trends of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
Foster offers expert consultations for empowering cloud infrastructure with customized solutions and comprehensive managed security.

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