What to Look for When Choosing a Cloud Provider

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Cloud service providers play an important role in your long-term internet technology goals, and businesses of all sizes are making use of their services. Choosing the right provider takes a bit of digging on your part, with many factors to consider. Here is an overview to help guide your decision.

Experience in Your Industry

Data needs between different businesses vary greatly. Some are relatively static in their data needs, while other industries experience changing needs by the day or month; then there are those whose needs are completely unpredictable. A data breach may pose few problems for some types of businesses, while others house proprietary technology and sensitive information. There are workloads that interact frequently with multiple sources while others are essentially stand alone. Look for providers who have a long history of serving clients in your industry, who are familiar with your data management rules and regulations.

Important Services to Consider

A quality cloud provider will offer certain features that ensure smooth operating for your business. Interoperability is key; there is no clear-cut definition for this word as it is used in cloud computing, so knowing how a provider defines this term is important. Essentially, workloads should be able to span multiple environments. For instance, you can operate an application in a public cloud, but store a related database in a private, on-premise cloud. Should traffic peak unexpectedly, a private cloud workload can ‘’burst’’ into a public cloud on-demand. Flexibility is also important. Just like different environments are better fits for different workloads, said workloads have unique needs as far as configuration and delivery.

A good cloud provider offers a menu of options and allows you to choose the settings for each workload individually; you should only have to pay for what you need. Work with companies who offer that extra value in the form of managed and professional services which help streamline integration, simply management, develop strategies and support your business as it grows.

Financial Stability

Check the financials of any company you are considering. Do they have the funds for the long haul? Remember, you want a company that can support your growth and your business for years to come. Is there sufficient capital available to invest in equipment refreshes. Are they willing to share financial data that demonstrates stability and growth?

Carefully Evaluate Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Service level agreements are the contract between you and your provider. It clearly outlines responsibilities on each side and what to expect from the relationship. There is no one ‘’best’’ SLA. It is about finding one with terms that are most meaningful for your company. Know that outages are permitted under the ‘’annual average ‘’ availability metric. Many businesses express outrage at outages, only to find they were permitted under the terms of the SLA. If the amount of time that you may lose coverage could be seriously detrimental to your business, you must discuss this with the provider to learn more about your options.

About the Author: Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who covers a variety of technology and business topics; if you are on the search for a data center, she recommends learning more about this Orange County colocation facility.

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