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Tips for Selecting the Right Cloud Partner

Tips for Selecting the Right Cloud Partner
October 24
08:02 2018

Due to the increase of industry and market hype, many organizations are influenced to move to the cloud within the shortest time possible. Before signing a contract with a cloud service provider, it’s important to understand the kind of services they offer, costs, and the security they provide and weigh the expected outcomes which will prevent overspending and cultural and organizational misalignment. Finding the right cloud partner as part of an efficient cloud sourcing strategy requires balancing the technical requirements and organization’s needs, and this article highlights six holistic criteria to focus on depending on the needs of your organization.

Introduction

Any business interested in cloud infrastructure services has different buying criteria; some contain strict compliance and privacy requirements while others rely on the experience of the provider; others require temporary capacity while others require solid compute capability. Even though its hard to find a single cloud provider which can excellently handle your cloud needs, it’s definitely not impossible. Creating an efficient cloud sourcing strategy requires the classification of individual workloads and applications based on their requirements and dependencies. The secret towards finding the right partner is developing a set of criteria which can successfully address the needs of your organization and before signing a contract with a cloud or hosting provider, the following six areas should be put into consideration.

Areas to consider before signing a contract with a hosting provider

1. Support and Services

When an organization decides to engage a third party for services, there are some factors that become of concern such as vendor management, security, cost, and technology. However, most companies disregard the extent to which the provider delivers customer service, SLAs, and managed services which could lead to a company’s misconception about where the responsibilities of a hosting provider end and where the responsibilities of a customer begin. It is therefore important for providers to understand how responsibilities are divided in order to provide a matrix of responsibilities for the operational tasks. Most public cloud providers have excellent services that are tied to the performance and the availability of their platforms. That being the case, they provide self-service portal, email, and charge 10-15% premium for customer service resources. Organizations make decisions on the degree of support needed for their cloud environments and identify the resources required to manage issues to do with support and services.

2. Architectural Alignment

At the onset of cloud sourcing strategy, many enterprises start investigating hyper-scale providers and traditional hosting and examine how delivery models run parallel, deviate and intersect. Its worth mentioning that all providers have one thing in common as they use open source technologies and solutions for the cloud and hosting services elements such as server infrastructure and data centers. Mainstream IT products such as Docker, VMware, Cisco, and Microsoft are widely used by hosting providers and hyper-scale and the difference between the service delivery models are experienced depending on the operation and delivery of web infrastructure. It is important for every enterprise to understand that when using the hyper-scale provider, users/enterprises is required for everyday operations. On the other hand, hosting providers manage the infrastructure elements on daily basis and if planning for a hybrid cloud strategy, its crucial to understand where internal IT and service provider reside in order to make an informed decision on whether to choose between hyper-scale provider and traditional hosting.

3. The Degree of Security and Compliance

When weighing between the use of a cloud provider or hosting provider, it’s important to consider putting the best security features in place. Its worth mentioning that leveraging a third party requires a clear understanding of expectations and responsibilities on both sides and define roles and responsibilities to avoid misunderstanding along the way as a result of attack and threats. Both hosting data centers and hyper-scale are susceptible to malicious attacks and therefore, security policies and procedures are important to evaluate. Whether choosing a cloud, hosting, or hybrid cloud architecture, it’s important to evaluate the following critical areas;

  • Physical characteristics such as restricting the area to only those that require it
  • Network
  • Intrusion, detection and prevention
  • The server
  • Network and event logging monitoring
  • Private network segmentation
  • Hardening OS and hypervisors
  • Vulnerability monitoring and audits
  • Password and key management
  • Compliance
  • CSTAR
  • ISO27001
  • SSAE 16
4. Support for Data Sovereignty and Residency Requirements

Data protection goes hand in hand with security and compliance issues and plays an important role in cloud and hosting projects. With the increased growth of big data, bring your own device (BYOD), and cloud projects, sensitive data has been dragged to third-party clouds and data centers making Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) uneasy on how and where the data is kept and secured. The CISO either applies best practices with their service provider or attempts to prevent any project if data leaves their internal datacenter, both of which are meant to protect the data. That makes it crucial to address geographical data export restrictions, data encryption and tokenization, and how the stored data is as well as how its located.

5. Financial Management

Most enterprises tend to consider cloud and hosting provider for their workloads and application based on the fact that it will cost less. The objective of every business is to maximize profit and cutting IT cost is the first objective. The cost of purchasing and liquidating software, hardware, and licensing is enough to stock up from major stakeholders such as CFO. That being the case, it’s always advisable to solicit bids and compare external pricing against internal forecast to have a clear understanding on how much to invest and how much returns to expect.

6. Cultural/Strategic Alignment

Cultural fit with the service provider is as important as customer support itself. It is evident that the use of either cloud or hosting provider is new to many enterprises and needs extensive internal buy-in. Even though first-time cloud buyers don’t know anything about the degree of partnership, every provider engages clients differently to ensure that they are aware of everything. For instance, most cloud and hosting providers select a team of professionals who share their knowledge to provide exceptional customer solution. Other providers such as hyper-scale provide help desk forums and extensive wikis to ensure that users get self-provision. Either way, the objective is to choose the provider that matches the interest of your company’s operational experience.

Conclusion

Becoming a cloud infrastructure expert is time-consuming and requires dedication. Every enterprise should be open enough to practice fresh ideas, new services, support and delivery models that accommodate the technical and business requirements. Choosing the right type of provider plays an important role as well in helping you to achieve high performing environments that are cost friendly with exceptional services. As a rule of thumb, it’s important to consider providers offering multiple platforms such as cloud, hosting and managed services.

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About Author

FindMyHost Editor

FindMyHost Editor

The 'Web Hosting Blog' at FindMyHost.com was established to provide the web hosting industry with the very latest in news, technology, interviews, event information and more. About FindMyHost.com: Launched in January 2001 to protect Web Host Consumers and Web Developers from making the wrong choice when choosing a Web host. FindMyHost.com showcases a selection of web hosting companies who have undergone our Approved Host program testing and provides reviews from customers.

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