Establishing Metrics to Assess Your Cloud Vendors

Once accessible to only the biggest companies with the deepest pockets, today’s cloud services are available to any size company with even the most modest budget. A 2016 IDC study reveals that 58 percent of organizations surveyed use public or private clouds, a 24 percent jump from a mere 14 months ago.

When entrusting your most critical data to the cloud, however, you need to use a service provider you can depend on. A standardized set of objective metrics enables you to see how successfully your provider can meet your business needs. There are many aspects to take into account when selecting a cloud vendor, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top three metrics you’ll want to consider first.

1. Security

The average cost of a data breach is roughly $4 million, according to IBM, and the damage it can do to your company’s reputation is incalculable. Your service provider should have a strong, multilevel cloud security strategy that protects your data from threats both within and outside your organization.

For example, private cloud vendor Orange Business Services relies on BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management to safely distribute cloud resources to its customers and minimize the risk of exposed data. The platform’s Role-Based Access Control allows Orange to restrict user access points to specific roles and activities.

An article on InfoWorld explains, “Compliance policies often stipulate how long organizations must retain audit records and other documents. Losing such data may have serious regulatory consequences.”

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management’s compliance automation feature reduces the risk of exposure during maintenance, patching and configuration tasks.

Ask your vendor to provide metrics on its security features to ensure they meet your business requirements.

2. Cost

While a data breach could cost your business millions, a solid cloud environment can save you a bundle of money. Gina Longoria, Senior Analyst for Servers at Moor Insights & Strategy, writing for Forbes, suggests that you should review the impact of cloud services on your capital and operating expenses as well as indirect costs like potential downtime. These calculations provide you with a thorough evaluation of your vendor’s total cost of ownership.

While you may think deploying on-site server hardware and software will keep costs down, Longoria notes that using the IT resources and expertise of a managed cloud provider can far exceed the savings of having an on-site data center that you manage yourself.

Most costs associated with cloud services are quantifiable, so you should run the numbers to make sure they align with your budget.

3. Availability & Performance

The most moderately priced and secure cloud platform in the world won’t help you meet your business goals if it isn’t available when you need it. Availability and performance are essential to providing a reliable cloud experience. BMC TrueSight Operations Management platform, for instance, uses analytics-based performance monitoring to mitigate issues through automated workflows and catch problems before they occur.

Dienst ICT Uitvoering (DICTU), a division of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, uses TrueSight Operations Management to oversee 12,000 workstations distributed over 200 locations. Its proactive analytics help DICTU’s IT department identify performance and behavioral trends across the cloud environment. The company credits the monitoring platform with accelerating the diagnosis and resolution of problems that could adversely impact its workflow and productivity.

Delivering a reliable and available cloud environment is a complex process with a lot of components. The service provider you select should be able to provide metrics that demonstrate it has the infrastructure and downtime mitigation processes in place to consistently support your business workflows.

While it is often assumed that cloud vendors are providing a secure and cost-effective service, you need to have data to back up these beliefs. Use these three metrics to ensure your cloud vendors are meeting your company’s needs.