7 questions to ask a cloud service provider

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Decisive Technologies - BriteSky- Jan 18, 2016

Ottawa’s BriteSky highlights the industry’s fine print

The world of enterprise IT services is changing fast.

Organizations of all sizes across industry verticals are looking to the cloud for services, cost efficiencies and stability. If your organization is like most that are having “cloud conversations,” you must do your homework to ensure you’re getting what you need and what you’re paying for. 

Knowing what to ask and what to expect from your cloud service provider is key to a successful experience for your organization. Here are seven questions to consider:

What services and options does the provider offer?

It’s important that your provider can give you a solution that meets the needs of your business. Ask about a cloud readiness assessment for your applications. Find a provider that has experience and technical expertise across a wide range of technologies.

How do I know the provider follows industry standards

and procedures? 

Ask questions: Does the provider have certifications like SOC2? Are the staff security cleared? What policies does the provider follow and do they use robust enterprise-grade architectures? Look for companies that have been validated by a third party to give you added assurance. 

How easily can I move my data in and out?

Moving to the cloud is the easy part, generally speaking. Exiting or moving to another cloud can be a different matter. In this case, we’re not talking about the provider’s technical capabilities, but the devilish details buried in the fine print of a service contract.

If you decide to sever a relationship, how easy does the provider make it to get your data off of their servers? Look for hidden costs in the contract.

Who owns the data?

Many organizations have contract terms that give them ownership over your data and the right to keep a copy. That’s because your data is often a source of revenue, sold as marketing analytics feedstock to third parties.

What is the provider’s on-premise expertise beyond the cloud?

Depending on your business, it may not make sense to put all your data in the cloud, due to data sovereignty privacy concerns, and other business continuity issues.

Maybe what you really need is a hybrid solution that keeps some of your data on-premise. But this can only be determined through a comprehensive cloud readiness assessment.

If a hybrid solution is the best fit for you, what expertise does the provider have to deliver on and support the on-premise side of the equation? 

Is price the most important factor?

When comparing one service package with another, you need to make an honest apples-to-apples comparison, which can be difficult to do. 

People often get stuck on the cost of storage, but many providers inflate the bill with other added costs. 

Some providers take their cue from traditional cellular voice and data plans. They “estimate” how much data storage you are going to need for a year, bill you for that amount whether or not you use it all, and then apply overage charges if your needs surpass expectations. Look for providers that only charge you for what you use.

And remember, it’s not just about storage. You may also need a comprehensive and affordable backup and disaster recovery plan that will ensure your business has as little downtime as possible.

Does this fit my requirements?

As with any trusted vendor relationship, a provider should be doing more listening than talking, to understand your business and recommend only what you really need.

How adaptable is the cloud service to your business?  Does the service meet your unique business objectives? Can you grow and take advantage of additional services offered by the cloud provider?

And think about RTO – recovery time objective. This is how long you can afford to be down before harm is done to your business. How quickly can a service provider restore your data in a disaster recovery scenario? Depending on how a cloud service is architected, the answer can vary from a few hours to several days.

Have a chat with BriteSky about what your business needs.

To learn more, please visit www.britesky.ca or call 613-836-3700.

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