More businesses are storing data off-site. If your organization will be migrating to the cloud, it is important for you to pick the right cloud service. Here are some things that you need to know before choosing a cloud service.
Before selecting a cloud provider, you have to deeply understand your specific business needs. That might sound like a no-brainer. However, if you do not clarify your specific requirements and minimum expectations before evaluating providers, you may not be comparing them against your actual checklist. Instead, you will be comparing one cloud provider with another.
The problem with approaching it in this way is that one cloud provider may stand out when compared to another. However, it could be that the cloud provider that seems to offer fewer features has exactly the features that your organization needs and can afford. It is best for you to only choose your cloud provider after identifying and analyzing the workloads you will need for migration.
Cloud providers must comply with recognized standards for quality and security. Evaluate a potential cloud provider’s ability to adhere to industry best practices and standards. While standards on their own should not be a determining factor when selecting a provider, they are beneficial in giving you a shortlist of potential suppliers.
There are countless standards and certifications available. Look for the standards and certifications that align with the type of data your organization will store and the products and services you offer.
It is good to look beyond the certifications. You want to see the processes that are behind the certifications. This means looking at how well or how effectively the cloud provider manages data. How knowledgeable are their technicians and engineers? What resources do they have in play to continually educate their engineers and technicians to guarantee continued adherence to these standards?
You want to scrutinize potential cloud providers’ vendor relationships. Work to understand their technical capabilities, staff certification, and accreditation levels. If they claim to support multi-vendor environments, ask for documentation or examples that prove this.
Evaluate the services they offer from the standpoint of how they align with other services that might complement or support the services they offer. For example, if you are looking at a SaaS CRM, there should be existing integrations with marketing and financial services. If you are looking at PaaS, you should be looking for a cloud marketplace where you can purchase complimentary services that are reconfigured and that effectively integrate with the same platform.
As your organization does a cloud cost optimization that evaluates potential expenses incurred by migrating to the cloud and compares one provider to another, reliability and performance should be important.
You want to check the performance of a service provider against what they promise in their SLAs over the last year. Providers who do a good job publish this information for all to see. If you are considering a provider who does not publish this information, it does not hurt to ask them for it.
As you evaluate performance, it is good to be reasonable. You should not expect perfection. Every cloud provider will have some downtime at some point. What you want to zero in on is the way that the provider handles the downtime.
You want your cloud provider to have documented, proven, and established processes for handling downtime, be it planned or unplanned. Look at their monitoring and reporting tools. Are they sufficient? Will they integrate with your overall reporting and management systems?
In a similar vein, you should evaluate and understand a potential provider’s disaster recovery provisions. What is the process they will use to help you protect your data? The roles and responsibilities and who will be held responsible must be clearly laid out in advance, preferably in the SLA. In some cases, it could be your team that will have the responsibility to implement some of these processes.
Businesses that want to survive and thrive need to migrate to the cloud. Because of the importance of this decision, it should be made thoughtfully while considering some of the factors mentioned above.