Have You Outgrown Your Cloud Service Provider?

Sometimes it seems like the cloud is unlimited — infinite data, unrestricted storage, a wealth of information and resources that never ends. But your cloud only extends as far as your cloud service provider (CSP) can take you, and hitting that limit can result in some sleepless nights. In a webinar on May 27, I discussed the process of selecting and evaluating a CSP for your unique business needs. Today, I’ll recap some of the eight key CSP attributes we explored in the webinar.

First, you need a CSP who will be a partner, not just a faceless voice at the end of a generic 800 number. Always keep support in mind as you evaluate the attributes below, as it is the underlying feature of any CSP that makes the difference from good to great. On to four of the eight key CSP attributes:

1. Breadth of Offerings: Yes, definitely consider what you needfrom your CSP. But what about what you want? Will you be interested in cloud desktops in the future? Is Managed IaaS going to factor into your business efficiency plan some day? The key to not outgrowing your CSP is selecting a provider who will grow with you and continue to be a partner for the new areas of the cloud you wish to explore.

2. Performance/Scalability: It’s easy to think of the cloud as an intangible, nebulous thing somewhere in the ether. While such a description doesn’t seem too far off, the underlying physical architecture is key. Everything from best-in-class components to physical room for growth must be considered. Are you operating on an international level? Are you growing rapidly? If international presence and room for considerable growth are important to you, you’ll need to find a CSP to accommodate those needs.

3. Security/Compliance: These two attributes are on the tip of everyone’s tongue of late. It seems another big brand makes headlines for a security breach every week. How does your current or proposed provider handle security attacks? Do they have a regular plan for patching and monitoring, and are they transparent about it? Compliance is often an attribute our clients simply can’t bend on — can your CSP accommodate the highest level of PCI compliance, or the creation of a HIPAA compliant environment? The safety of your data or patient health information (PHI) is of the utmost importance, and your CSP better be willing to offer insight into how they will protect it.

4. Availability: This one is pretty obvious; one main reason for migrating to the cloud is a desire for 100% uptime. While not every provider can guarantee such availability results, your CSP should be able to demonstrate component, data center infrastructure and geographic redundancies. “Disaster recovery strategy” should be a common term for your support team, even if you never have the opportunity to test them — having a plan in place is the first step to ensuring the availability you’re seeking.

If you want to hear more about the key attributes of a cloud service provider, I encourage you watch my full webinar on demand here. You can also download 20 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Cloud Service Provider, a white paper from HOSTING.

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