Choose The Right Cloud Provider
Before you can compare cloud providers you must know what objectives you have, and how the cloud will help you achieve them. Do this by considering how you plan to use the cloud, how many resources you need, and how many users you have and what are their needs and expectations. Once you know what you want, assess potential providers considering the criteria listed below.
You can research a provider’s reputation online, through forums and search engines. Testimonials are also good to check, though you must approach them with caution. You can get an idea of how stable a provider is, both in terms of reputation and finance, by looking at the clients it serves.
Making the transition to the cloud is not always smooth, and it’s definitely not smooth when you’re heavily dependent on server systems. It’s necessary to have a clear idea of what the transition involves, so as to have time to prepare for any difficulties that may appear. It’s important that the cloud provider tells you all you need to know about the transition from the beginning.
Since the uptime and downtime of a cloud service is crucial, you have to make sure that the service you get will be available whenever you or your clients will need it. You do this by verifying the provider’s service activity by contacting previous users of the service.
Even if the technical side of cloud computing is not your business – the provider handles it for you – it’s still important to know how good the data centers that will host your files are. If one of your provider’s data centers happens to be housed in your city, it would be a good idea to visit it and see whether it’s professional or not. Pay attention in particular to the cooling system and energy supply.
Since with cloud computing you only have a limited level of management and access, it’s crucial that you select a provider that can offer high quality, 24/7 customer support. Aim for a provider that allows you to get help for small as well as critical problems just as easily, and who can put at your disposal an expert whenever need be. It’s not difficult to ascertain the quality of a provider’s support service: just look up on the web what other clients have to say about it.
Consider not only virtual security but also physical security. Find out where the data centers are located and how well they are protected. Assess the security software to discover whether it matches your expectations. Also, find out who has the authority to access your data, besides you, and don’t forget to demand insurance for any data loss resulting after a natural disaster or theft.
The service level agreement or SLA should not be overlooked. Being the contract between you and the provider in which the standard of service is explained, it’s extremely important. If you’re not fully aware of the conditions in the SLA you may discover later that even though you’re receiving a poorer cloud service than requested, there’s nothing legal you can do about it. Regardless of whether you get a personalize SLA or not you must fully understand all its conditions.