7 aspects to consider when choosing a cloud provider

Key elements for choosing a cloud provider

Choosing a cloud provider isn’t an easy task, since there are many options available and analyzing all of them would be unfeasible. To effectively meet your expectations and ensure a successful migration to the cloud, you need a clear strategy. Each cloud service has its own advantages and strengths, so you only need to make sure the cloud service provider you choose aligns with your goals.

The following key aspects can help you navigate the IaaS provider selection process. Let’s go through the key elements you should take into consideration while preparing your checklist for selecting a cloud provider!

Support

Will you get direct and quick support? Will you need to go through a call center or chat for getting support? Which in-house IT skills do your have? Will you need 24×7 support? The level of support differs considerably among cloud providers. While some IaaS providers give free direct access to specialized support and act proactively in case of an incident, others offer a more reactive support via a call center or just via email. Thus adding your technical support needs to the checklist is key to avoid surprises.

Counting on an external specialized cloud support team will allow you to leverage in-house IT resources for tasks that add more value to your organization. As well as 24×7 monitoring of all the services provided will bring you peace of mind.

Direct specialized technical support in Stackscale's cloud

Deployment and migration

Does the provider conduct migration tests? Will you need to do a hot migration? What services are included by default? As for the technical support, deployment and migration requirements depend significantly on the IT skills you have internally. Nevertheless, counting on an IaaS provider that adapts to your specific needs and supports you through the deployment and migration process can be advantageous in many cases.

Performance

Which data and applications are you migrating to the cloud? Do all applications need constant high performance? You need to define which level of performance your applications will require. Mission-critical applications, for instance, will demand a higher level of performance and a minimum latency. Determining the performance your applications need is essential to avoid overprovisioning. This analysis will also help you find the balance between performance and budget.

Moreover, while comparing your needs with different cloud providers, keep in mind the different cloud deployment models. Since you won’t get the same performance and control over a shared cloud platform than in a dedicated cloud where all the computing resources are of exclusive use by your organization.

Availability

Which uptime do you expect from your provider? Do all your applications require high-availability? Make sure that locating your data in an off-premise data center won’t affect availability or create latency and bandwidth issues that can affect your environment’s performance. Leading cloud service providers guarantee 99.9% availability, guaranteed by SLA. So, availability shouldn’t be a problem when opting for a quality cloud service. 

Security and regulatory compliance

Do you need to hold your data within a particular geographic area? Must you comply with specific industry regulations or standards? Do you operate within a highly regulated industry? Which security measures are included by default? Migrating to the cloud means moving to a shared-responsibility model; your cloud provider will be responsible for the security of the cloud and you will be responsible for the security in the cloud. Understanding this model is vital for ensuring the maximum security on your cloud environment.

Data protection and data sovereignty must also be a priority. Both your company and your cloud service provider should comply with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) or any other specific legal framework. Besides, data should be encrypted both at rest and in-transit. For highly regulated industries, Private Cloud environments are the most suitable choice for ensuring compliance and data protection.

In terms of physical security, IaaS providers that host their physical infrastructure in big, reference data centers guarantee the strictest levels of security

Backup and Disaster Recovery

How is your Disaster Recovery (DR) plan? Do you need to geo-replicate your data? Does the provider have a second distant data center for DR? Disaster Recovery is a critical feature of any IT environment. So, when assessing different cloud providers, take into consideration certain features such as the distance between the primary data center and the data center where you keep your backups, or if the provider includes data geo-replication by default.

Budget

What performance do you expect in your cloud environment? How much are you willing to pay for the performance you expect? Will the new environment require integrating new talent to your IT team? Flexibility and cost visibility are some of the main advantages of migrating to a cloud environment. However, security and performance should never be compromised; compare features and costs in order to find the right balance for your business.

Balance between costs and features in cloud services

While in Private Cloud environments, costs are generally predictable, in Public Cloud, they can easily become uncontrolled. So, check if the cloud provider offers a simple billing and if costs are predictable, in order to avoid surprises. Besides, carefully assess which services are included in the pricing and which services or features are available at an extra cost.

It might seem like a long list of things to consider for choosing a cloud provider, but the benefits of the cloud are worth it. While evaluating all these aspects for making an informed decision, we recommend you to compare cloud providers with your list of needs instead of comparing providers among them. This way you will make sure the chosen Iaas provider really meets your needs.

Finally, by choosing a cloud solution adapted to your organization needs, you will make the most of the cloud advantages and you will avoid issues in the long term. If you are considering different cloud providers, our cloud experts can advice you and send you a custom-made quote, free of charge.

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