Choosing a Cloud Service Provider
Cloud technology is a must for most businesses now, but there is a big gap between knowing that you need a cloud platform and understanding which cloud platform will work best for your business. There are a few major providers and a lot of smaller platforms to choose from, and each has specific features you need to explore to make an informed decision. Finding the right solution to meet your organization’s specific needs is essential to your long-term success.
Faction is here to help you make the most of cloud technology. We provide everything from cloud migration assistance at the beginning of the process to cloud management services once you’re up and running on your new cloud platform. Today, we’re helping you determine how you can find the best hosted cloud services for your business. Read on to learn more about what to look for during your search, and contact Faction today to explore our expert cloud services!
What Are Your Business Needs?
The first question you need to ask yourself before you start investigating your options is: what does your business need from a cloud platform? From the size of your business and the amount of data you need to store to your budget and your plans for the future, there is a lot you need to keep in mind during your search.
You should have a very clear idea of how you plan to move forward with your business in the future and how hosted cloud services can get you there. To help you get started, we’ve outlined several features you should consider in your future cloud platform.
Cloud Platform Features
As we mentioned, each cloud platform has its own advantages, disadvantages, and special features. While proprietary features that help each provider stand out from the rest will come into play later in your decision-making process, you should first consider the basics. We’ve outlined a few shared aspects between providers to help you decide whether or not a certain platform meets your requirements.
Before your migration, consider how your new cloud platform is set up and what kind of infrastructure it utilizes. How will it work with your current environment? If you can find a cloud services provider that shares tools or an environment that you currently use, then you can take advantage of a cloud platform without having to relearn an entire system. For example, if you currently utilize vSphere environments on premises, then VMware on AWS will likely be far easier for your team to use than another cloud platform.
Whether you have a team that is well-versed in cloud services or you’re still trying to understand what “the cloud” is, you’re likely going to need support from your cloud services provider at some point. So, the question is, how quickly can you get the help you need and how effective is that support?
It’s important to consider what kind of support your cloud platform would be able to provide early on in the process, because cloud migration in of itself is often a challenging process. Some providers may help you with cloud migration, and some may even help you in the planning process. Knowing you’ll have that kind of back-up can be an important factor when making your decision.
A concern for any organization is the cost of hosted cloud services. Most platforms follow a pay-as-you-go structure, but the way that structure works differs from provider to provider. Some charge by storage space and some charge by time — seconds, minutes, hours, etc. You will likely have to do some research and a little math to determine which platform is most cost-effective for your organization.
Compliance with data laws and protections is becoming increasingly important for all businesses. If you are storing any kind of client data, then you will have local and federal regulations to consider. Where you store your organization’s data can affect what laws you’re subject to, and how you store your data is going to be a big factor in your compliance.
Whether you’re working within GDPR standards, HIPAA, or more, the cloud architecture you utilize needs to meet the standards of your company. Not only do you need to ask if those standards are possible within a certain cloud platform, but also what you would need to do post-migration to achieve compliance.
In a similar vein, security should be a high priority for all businesses planning a cloud migration. For each possible platform, ask what kind of security and encryption they offer. What are their protocols for a breach or loss of data? What are your security responsibilities? You should ensure that the security standards of a potential platform align with your organization’s terms of acceptable risk level as well as your legal and/or regulatory obligations.
No matter how sophisticated a cloud platform is, downtime is inevitable. How much downtime a specific platform experiences, however, can be an indicator of quality. You can investigate a provider’s history of downtime by checking their performance for the last few months. Some will openly publish this information, while others will provide it upon request.
You should also pay close attention to how a provider handles downtime. What monitoring and reporting tools do they utilize? Can those tools integrate into your systems? What disaster recovery provisions and processes do they have? Any provider you choose to partner with should be clear about how they will communicate with you during periods of disruption, and any agreement should state the roles and responsibilities of every involved party.
A lack of flexibility is characteristic of many cloud service providers. Many organizations find themselves struggling with vendor lock-in — a scenario in which they can’t easily transition to a competitor after working with a specific product or service. The risk, cost, and time involved to make a change can be prohibitive, so you should understand what to expect and have an exit strategy in place from the beginning.
Last but not least, you need to consider how much time and effort you will need to devote to managing your infrastructure post-migration. Each platform integrates with different tools and services, and if there is one service that is central to your business operations, then learn before hand if it can integrate with your future cloud platform.
You should also consider your options if you find a good provider, but you don’t have the inherent ability to manage it yourself. This is one scenario in which Faction can help — we offer cloud management services with proactive customer notifications, a 24/7 operations center, and more.
Partner With Faction for Better Cloud Services
From cloud migration support to hosted private cloud or multi-cloud solutions, Faction is here to help your business do more through cloud services. We hope our blog offers you a starting point to making the best decisions for your organization. To learn more about your cloud platform options, keep an eye on our blog. Upcoming posts include an article on the different types of cloud service providers and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. To learn more about how Faction can help your business, explore our site or contact a member of our team today!