5 Tips for Choosing the Right Cloud Service Provider
Whilst enterprise Cloud adoption is an area that has not yet reached its full potential, this year has been forecast by many official channels to be the year of real accelerated Cloud uptake. In order to remain competitive, the strategic use of technology within a business is becoming more important than ever and a Cloud infrastructure can revolutionise the way businesses operate. The decision, therefore, to choose the right Cloud vendor is critical. Unfortunately, from the array of Cloud Service Providers out there, not all of them are created equal.
Focus on the benefits
If you are new to the Cloud, start with the basics of what you need and what business outcomes you want to achieve and start from there.
Have you ever been to a restaurant on an empty stomach and ordered far too many sides?
A fairly common scenario and a waste of money, all because your emotional decision was stronger than your logical one. The same applies when investing in a Cloud platform. Vendors are all too keen to sell you all their features and added benefits that quite frankly may be completely irrelevant to your business. Yet all too often, people come ill-prepared and allow themselves to be wowed by them – do not let this be you!
On the flip-side, always keep in mind that the cheapest option is not always the best option. Stick with what you need, focus on the benefits and analyse how their solution can help your business moving forward.
Can they offer you everything your business needs?
One point of contact is better than many. What additional support services can your Cloud Service Provider offer? One of the key principals of going Cloud is to simplify the way your IT is run within your business. You should, therefore, endeavour to choose a Cloud vendor that can provide you with all the additional technical support you need, including day-to-day, on-site IT support, Internet lines and telephone systems.
Location, Location, Location
Even in this day and age of technological advancements, many business owners are still not particularly technologically savvy. Whilst the Cloud should be perceived as a business solution rather than a technical solution, if you are not at all technical, you should seek support in order to consider the following key areas:
Know where your data is being stored
Many Cloud Service Providers in the UK use datacentres abroad – is that something you and your business would want? Is your data being held in a Tier 3 datacentre? How often is your data backed up? Make sure you know exactly where the datacentres are located and even schedule a time to visit them.
Who owns the hardware?
Does the Cloud vendor actually own the infrastructure and hardware upon which it's hosting your companies' IT? If not, be wary. Many Cloud vendors use other third party managed service companies to provide the infrastructure and hardware needed in order to roll out their service. In order to avoid disputes, it is better to have one point of contact through a single Cloud vendor who is in direct control of all the hardware and infrastructure, especially if you encounter problems.
Expect total transparency
There are frequent claims and counter claims from Cloud Technology companies that make the navigation to the truth very tricky for buyers. Look for total transparency and accept nothing less. Here are a few things to look for to mitigate your risk:
Do not get tied down by long-term contracts
Always have a contingency plan in place in case things do not quite turn out the way they should. Do not make the mistake of signing into a 1 year contract with a new Cloud Provider with whom you have never partnered before. If the company wants your business, this should not be a problem.
Always insist on speaking to a current or a past client and ideally a client that operates in the same sector as you.
How good is your relationship with the provider?
Human interaction remains important in the world of tech and a good relationship is key.
Remember, the right vendor should be more than just a vendor; they are your technology partner. They are at the forefront of your business running smoothly and effectively and they should have your interests completely at heart. If they truly believe that the Cloud service they provide has transformational capabilities, they will want to make sure that you're using the technology to the best of its capacity in order to help you achieve your strategic goals.