1. Security and Compliance:
If you are wondering why we are starting with security, then check out this number. $6 trillion, that’s the amount of annual damage cyber crimes is predicted to cost us by 2021.
Which is precisely why the first thing you need to check while picking your cloud service provider is their security and compliance levels – both physical as well as virtual – this includes the geographical location of their data centers and the local laws of the country they are based in.
There are a number of certifications and standards which guarantee the security preparedness of cloud vendors; their validity must be checked and additional investigations must be carried out by checking internal and third-party audits or reports.
You need to do a deep check of:
- Security infrastructure and procedures followed by the vendor
- Identity management and authorizations
- Physical security controls including the process for natural disasters
- Policies for data back-up and disaster recovery
2. Technical Capabilities
An obvious point, but it still needs to be reiterated.
Your service provider should have a full stack of technologies that support your current applications and also has the capability to match your future needs.
Cloud partnerships last a long time, and it’s important to check the future roadmap of the service provider to understand if they have the mindset to catch trends early and innovate.
Some questions to focus on:
- Will your current software and applications integrate easily with the service provider’s cloud infrastructure?
- Do they use standard interfaces and APIs for easy integration?
- Do they have the capability of providing hybrid cloud computing options and do they have the flexibility to host different cloud environments and systems?
- Are they backing their capabilities with SLAs?
- Are they willing and capable to architect solutions tailored to your business?
No two cloud service providers have similar or comparable pricing packages. They each have their own formula of computing cloud costs, and it is almost impossible to make a side-by-side comparison of different vendors. What you need to do is map out your organization’s requirement as minutely as possible and then decide which pricing model suits your needs.
Keep in mind:
- Consumption timelines as long-term contracts are better priced
- The flexibility offered by service providers in scaling up or down
- Check for hidden costs
4. Business Health
The stability of your business depends on the stability of its partners, and you cannot underestimate the importance of a cloud partner. Before finalizing your cloud vendor, it is important to check their business and financial health.
You should check:
- The company’s financial records
- Management structure and other third-party relationships
- Reputation, reviews, and referrals from existing customers
- For any legal run-ins
- All available third-party audits
Do you just have a phone or chat access or does your service provider offers dedicated account management? How much support you can get from your vendor is another important criteria, that must be considered before finalizing a service provider.
Find out about:
- Time guarantees for solving technical issues
- Access to support services – 24×7 or 12×5
- Cost of opting for dedicated resources
Deciding on a cloud service provider is a long process that demands complete thoroughness and analysis from the CIO and the rest of the team.
Before we leave you to navigate your way to your future cloud partner, here are two more important points that must be considered – Right size and exit strategy.
Keep in mind that to get the best service you need to find a vendor who connects with you and for whom you are a valuable client.
And always plan an exit strategy in case things don’t work out.
Best of Luck!