What is cloud broker software?
Cloud broker software enables enterprises to migrate new applications to the cloud, create new applications within the cloud, and facilitate secure communication between those applications.
What does cloud broker software do?
- Provides an editable, searchable service catalog of all available applications on your cloud, giving your IT team easy access to information about all of these applications.
- Enables user access to images (backups) of your company servers across multiple cloud providers using a program called a provisioning engine. The provisioning engine also has security and privacy features to protect your server data on its journey throughout the cloud.
- Manages access to your cloud, such as user logins, and passes this sensitive information from your company to the cloud provider in a secure manner.
- Ensures that the cloud remains online and continues to run smoothly as you add more users so that you can scale your business without worrying about tech issues.
- Acts as an intermediary in all processes between your company servers and the various cloud providers you use. This ensures seamless integration of all of their services in one secure area that your users can easily access.
How departments can use cloud broker software
Sales can use cloud broker software to reach customers more efficiently.
As your organization grows, customer contact lists for different products and services could end up spread across multiple applications, sometimes even stored on different cloud providers. As an example, your sales team might store its customer leads on a database in Freshsales, while the marketing team could be using Salesforce Marketing Hub to log their cold marketing leads.
If a sales team member needs to call a lead on the marketing team’s list, they will need easy access to the marketing CRM, which is hosted on a different cloud. Cloud broker software enables you to give members of the sales team access to the marketing team’s cloud applications for their sales calls.
You can also manage their level of access easily. For instance, maybe the sales team needs to be able to see the information on the marketing team’s database but does not need to have the ability to edit that information. Using cloud broker software, you can modify the permissions and access settings of different users to achieve this outcome.
This increases the speed and ease with which sales teams can access customer information, giving them more time to focus on sales activities.
Marketing can use cloud broker software to market easily across multiple channels.
Marketing software is often highly specialized. For instance, CRMs like Freshmarketer focus almost exclusively on cold email marketing, while programs such as Adobe Experience Manager focus on digital asset management. This means that, in practice, teams may need to utilize multiple apps across different platforms and sometimes different cloud providers in the course of a single marketing campaign.
Cloud broker software enables marketing teams to have quick and easy access to all of the applications they need, regardless of platform or cloud provider, with a single login. It also ensures that any data being passed between these applications as the marketing campaign progresses remains secure.
Finance can use cloud broker software to aggregate expenses.
Accounting for all of the expenses incurred within a cloud ecosystem can be highly complex. The various applications and programs within your cloud can have different payment structures, such as annual or monthly installments due at different times.
One of the functions of cloud broker software is to aggregate these various expenses into one report that is easy for finance to follow, saving time and significantly simplifying their reporting process.
HR can use cloud broker software to securely store sensitive information.
Human Resources teams typically have access to highly confidential personal information about all employees within the company. This could be anything from personal contact information, like addresses and phone numbers, to employee medical records for insurance purposes.
The database storing this information should already be encrypted, but sometimes information might need to be transferred from that database to another cloud-enabled application—such as medical information being transferred from your database to the application of the insurance provider.
Cloud broker software enables the secure transfer of data between apps on your cloud, providing an added layer of security for sensitive personal information.
IT can use cloud broker software to access the service catalog.
A service catalog is a library that provides tech teams with access to information about all of the various applications hosted on the cloud by your company. Larger organizations, in particular, might use multiple different cloud providers. Each of these may have its own set of applications, for different purposes.
By aggregating information about all of these applications in one convenient, searchable catalog, cloud broker software enables IT teams to save time and have quick access to solutions when troubleshooting problems in the cloud ecosystem.
Features and benefits of cloud broker software
Any organization that stores personal data from the general public has a legal and moral responsibility to safeguard that data to the best of its ability.
Most systems that store personal information have at least some level of built-in security. However, it is frequently the case that customer data is stored in a single, secure database and other programs pull data from this database as needed.
A common example is when customer service and sales teams use two different CRM programs, both pulling from the company’s database of customer information. When data is transferred from one application to another, this creates a point of vulnerability. Cloud broker software is designed from the ground up to secure against these vulnerabilities and safeguard personal data while it is transferred between applications.
Integration of multiple cloud providers
As your organization’s needs become more complex, it is almost inevitable that you will end up using multiple cloud software providers to meet your various technological needs.
These cloud providers will not necessarily be designed to work together from the get-go, and one of the main uses of cloud broker software is to ensure that all of them run smoothly in the same cloud ecosystem.
Aggregation of IT support
IT problems in a complex cloud environment can be difficult to diagnose. In theory, IT can go into every application one by one, running diagnostics until they locate the issue.
However, this is highly inefficient as they would have to look up the individual documentation of those programs any time there was a problem. Also, there would be no warning when two or more applications on the cloud conflict with each other.
Cloud broker software facilitates IT support by aggregating all issues into a single dynamic report, accessible by the IT team. IT can identify problems within individual applications by running diagnostics on the cloud as a whole, and the program assists them by proactively pointing out conflicts and issues within individual apps across the entire cloud ecosystem.
Scalable cloud suite
As your organization expands, so does the pressure on its servers. One of the primary functions of cloud broker software is to make it easier for IT specialists to ensure that applications continue to operate smoothly with minimal downtime even as the company grows.
Cloud broker software continually monitors server health and alerts the relevant specialists if a server issue is likely to occur. This enables IT teams to stay on top of the server load and act proactively to avoid downtime.
Ensures regulatory compliance
Cloud broker software can serve to supplement an existing system by adding features that make it compliant with local regulations.
For instance, for a system to be ITIL compliant (usable for IT support in the UK) it must have a well-curated service catalog, which is a feature added by nearly all cloud broker programs.
How much does cloud broker software cost?
Pricing upon request is the most common pricing structure practiced by cloud broker software providers. Of the five brokers on our list of the best cloud brokers only one, Cloudmore, shows pricing information on its website. Cloudmore’s standard offering, CSP direct, is priced at £495/month (USD 691.39).
Cloud broker software offers a broad scope of functions, including facilitation of multi-cloud management, aggregation of expenses for accounting, added security, and IT support.
Since not every user will require every one of these features, pricing is variable and will depend on the individual user’s needs. The four brokers that do not provide their pricing publically offer a free call with their consultant, during which individual needs are determined and pricing can be negotiated accordingly. In all cases, pay-as-you-go on a monthly basis seems to be the most common payment structure.
Cloud broker software FAQ
Frequently-asked questions about cloud broker software
What is the purpose of a cloud broker?
A cloud broker provides one or more of the following services to an organization: aggregation, integration, and customization. Customization means modifying or creating new applications within the cloud. Integration refers to migrating applications into the cloud and ensuring that all of them work together.
Aggregation means providing a single UI and consolidated reports that can be used by IT and Finance teams to assess the overall status of the cloud ecosystem.
How does a cloud broker work?
A cloud broker, which is different from cloud broker software, performs many of the same functions as cloud broker software, but manually. There is a team that assembles aggregated reports to IT and Finance on request, another team that manages integrating multiple clouds into one system, and so on.
A cloud broker also maintains a relationship with various cloud providers, enabling them to provide clients with rapid support and access to the right products based on their specific needs.
What does cloud services mean?
Cloud services are any software services delivered to an organization over the internet by a third party and hosted by that third party. They enable an organization to have access to software without having to maintain the internal infrastructure required to store information and keep the software running.
What is a cloud consumer?
A cloud consumer is any entity that has a formal contractual arrangement with a cloud provider to use their service. Essentially, a customer subscribed to cloud-based software.
What is the cloud SPI model?
The cloud SPI model breaks down cloud computing services into three categories: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS). SaaS refers to applications hosted on the cloud by a third-party provider and made available to organizations.
PaaS refers to a development platform hosted by a third party, with tools made available to developers to create applications. IaaS refers to digital storage, servers, and other digital infrastructure hosted by a third party and provided to consumers.
We covered a lot today, so here is a recap of the five key points in this outline of cloud broker software:
- Cloud broker software enables users to aggregate all the applications in a cloud (or group of clouds) into one platform for ease of maintenance and security.
- It makes it possible for applications to securely transfer personal customer information anywhere within your cloud ecosystem.
- Cloud broker software creates a single user interface that allows IT teams to easily access and troubleshoot problems. It also aggregates all relevant IT information about every app in the cloud into one service catalog.
- It lets you manage exactly what level of access each of your users has to every application in the cloud, making it easy to limit the access of departments to applications within their operational needs.
- Cloud broker software makes it easy to scale up your cloud infrastructure when your organization grows.
To learn more about cloud broker software offerings on the market today, read our list of the best cloud brokers. To learn about cloud broker software specialized for automating tasks and workflows across your cloud ecosystem, check out our guide to the best cloud orchestration software.