Cloud computing is topping popularity charts routinely in today’s digital era. There’s a plethora of Cloud infrastructure providers offering their services to businesses of all sizes across industries—from established market leaders to small and emerging players—all vying for organizations’ attention in Cloud-related matters. As a result, several businesses are finding it challenging to select the right cloud service provider amid this ‘noise.’
The first step in choosing the right service provider is to perform an in-depth analysis of your business needs with respect to the services and features you require alongside the involved cost. To help you make an informed decision, we have collated a list of capabilities you can use as a checklist before deciding on which cloud infrastructure provider to select.
1. Security: Compromising on security is counterintuitive. It is prudent to choose a service provider that provides:
- Security across the three layers of host, network and physical setup
- Multi-factor authentication
- Data encryption
- Enterprise-grade firewalls
- Secure data center and reliable backup setup to reduce risks of data loss, data theft and/ or cyberattacks
Selecting a provider that has valid certifications and complies with ISO standards is always a safe bet.
2. Cost: As you scale up your business, the cost of doing so can be expected to increase. That said, selecting a service provider that offers cost-effective Cloud infrastructure and migration services is the best option. Key services such a provider should offer include:
- Hourly, monthly, semi-annual and annual cost plans
- Pay-as-you-go payment option which eliminates the need for an upfront cost; you are charged for what you use
- Reserved instances: The upfront cost is based on what you use, and you can choose to reserve instances for one to three years
The amount you are willing to spend, which (and how many) services you need, and the upfront or hidden charges involved heavily influence the selection of a service provider.
3. Guaranteed uptime and Service Level Agreement (SLA): Downtime can disrupt business performance and result in significant losses. A service provider that has defined objectives, reimbursement policies/ penalties and exclusions, and can offer the following is a good bet:
- Guaranteed uptime of at least 99.99%
- Legal agreement (Service Level Agreement) that will back you up if anything goes wrong. (since such an agreement defines the liability of the provider if there is any failure/ flaw in the extended service)
4. Support: An IT setup needs 24/7 support availability to function optimally and overcome unexpected challenges. As you add services and components, you also add possible points of failure. So it is a good idea to choose a service provider that provides:
- Round-the-clock support to extend immediate help irrespective of the count of ‘help needed’ instances
- Multiple availability options - phone calls/ call centers, chatbots, or through emails
- Data backup and retention
5. Scalability: As your company grows, so will the number of new departments. These will require new/additional computing features. Choose a service provider that provides:
- Flexible service ability to scale up/ down as per your business requirements
- Hybrid capability
Also consider how much any new service will cost you.
6. Technology advancements: Expertise in technical and operational capabilities is a must. Choose a service provider that provides:
- Easy deployment and upgrade of software and applications
- Standard APIs and data transformers which can help in developing connections to the Cloud quickly and easily
- Event and change management
- Expertise in incident and problem management
Even the best of software or processes can have issues. Ensure your service provider has an experienced team that can quickly help resolve critical issues by giving the best possible solution and bringing back normalcy with minimal impact.
The above criteria will give you a reasonable idea of the capabilities you need to look for while choosing the right provider. The final choice, though, depends on some additional aspects like a thorough analysis of your business requirements, features and resources that will best support your ongoing business, operations, security and compliance goals.
Does it still sound like too much work? At Columbus, we are always happy to help. Our experts have over three decades of experience with navigating the twists and turns of everything that is Cloud related. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn which solution best fits your need.
Learn more about the emerging Cloud computing ecosystem comprising of private and public Clouds in our e-book: