Cloud services are in vogue these days. They are preferred by businesses over on-premise software. They offer benefits of low operating cost, scalability, agility, streamlined operations, and more efficient work. But to reap these benefits, finding the right cloud service provider is crucial.
With so many cloud service providers to choose from, selecting the right one for your business that can help you attain long-term success can be difficult. Choosing the wrong service provider can prove to be costly for businesses and difficult to reverse. You will have your business information on stake.
A provider who is trustworthy and ensures the safety of your sensitive data and crucial workloads is preferable. Before saying yes to a cloud service provider, you have to consider what options different providers offer and whether they support your unique business goals. We have prepared a checklist to determine the apt cloud provider to meet your business requirements.
Cost is the most significant factor for most of the businesses. You not only have to look at the pricing charts but also the associated costs including hidden costs related to bandwidth, upgrades, etc. Some providers would claim to have the lowest rates but there would be upfront payments and long-term contracts. Examine how every provider’s pricing structure works. Find out whether the charges will be monthly, semi-annually, or annually. Some have an upfront flat fee for the whole year until you renew it. Some providers offer a certain amount of storage free of cost, then they ask to pay for more storage.
Once you have inquired about various providers, decide which pricing plan works the best for you. It is, however, important to note that pricing should not be the only factor in deciding the service provider, as sometimes for lower rates you will have to compromise in the quality and there might be hidden upfront costs.
It is important that you consider the security factor for deciding the service provider. Find out the provider’s levels of data and system security, security governance processes, and how mature the security operations are. Also, consider which security features are free and which security features are available through paid services from providers. Some may even require third-party services for security. AWS and Google Cloud clearly list the security features along with the paid products and partner integration on the security section of their sites. Ask about the network and server-level security measures providers will take to protect your data including anti-virus software, firewalls, data encryption, security audits, etc.
You have to choose a provider that complies with recognized standards and whose quality adheres to industry’s best practices. You need to select the one that enables you to meet compliance standards that are relevant to your industry. There are many standards and certifications in the market. Compliances like GDPR, HIPPA, SOC2, PCCI, etc. are important to follow. Cloud service providers follow these compliances for you. If security is your key focus, providers with certification like ISO 27001 can be apt for you. Also, ensure that they stay up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations.
Ensure that the provider is customer-driven and provides seamless support be it through emails, chat, or calls. Whenever you have any issues in the cloud application, the provider should be able to offer you quick support. Find out how quickly they respond to issues because a delay in issue resolution can make your cloud storage go down for some days, causing hindrances in your business operations.24/7 technical support is important. Ask the providers about their average response and resolution times. Upfront asks about what level and form of support you will get before choosing a cloud service provider.
A service-level agreement (SLA) is crucial as businesses give significance to availability, capacity, response time, support, etc. It is important to establish a legally binding contractual relationship with the cloud service provider. This legal agreement will be helpful when something goes wrong. When you are choosing a cloud service provider, consider system availability and downtime on SLA. Most of them would generally provide 99.99% system availability but there are some who lack transparent mechanisms to measure the system availability.
Service level agreements should also specify how customers’ issues will be identified and resolved, who will resolve them and in what time period they will be resolved. They should include what kind of data will be stored, how it will be stored, what measures will be taken to protect it, and other important items pertaining to understanding how the service provider operates.
It is, therefore you, who have to ensure that there are sufficient measures to meet your security and regulatory requirements. Also, consider the scenarios under which the service provider can read your data. Ensure this isn’t done except for support purpose.
Backups and getting your data back:
You should choose a cloud service provider that backs up your files regularly. Its frequency should fit your business’ pace of operations. There should be various options including daily, weekly, or monthly for the backup as soon as the changes are made in your data in real-time. Some providers allow custom frequencies or scheduling backups for a specified time. When your relationship with your service provider is getting over or the provider is moving out of the business you should know how and when you’ll get your data back before switching on to the other provider. Get an idea about how long will it take for you to retrieve your data, what form will it be in, and whether you will get all the copies of your data. Also, ask your provider whether you will have to pay extra fees for the same.
Cloud computing is playing a huge role in increasing efficiency and providing flexibility to businesses worldwide, allowing them to scale and react faster to issues that arise. Choosing a cloud service provider is a very important decision. There are many considerations to take into account. If you have your checklist prepared with all the needed information, you’ll be able to make an intelligent and informed decision. The above points will be helpful in determining which provider will be apt for your ongoing business, security, operational, and compliance goals, serving your business needs effectively. MintTM offers various cloud-based applications to its clients across the globe. We can fulfill all your custom needs and serve you with the best cloud software and solutions to fulfill your business requirements. Contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org to know more!