With so much talk of the cloud, one might think that the steps for actually transitioning to the cloud would be laid out a bit cleaner. There are many options on the market, so every business has the ability to sift through and find the best fit possible. Truth be told, it may be a bit overwhelming to look through all the offerings but you can find the right provider for you with a balanced approach to the market.
When choosing a cloud provider for a business, it is important to consider the following:
The type of cloud service you are looking for
First and foremost, it is important to consider what exactly you are looking for. What brought you to the market? What is your pain point/driving factor that brings you to look at cloud providers? Perhaps you are looking for simple file storage because you are struggling with your current method, since it takes too long for your users to access their information. Or perhaps you are paying for a current provider but you have to pay for a fixed usage instead of what you actually use, and that just isn’t working out anymore.With an idea in mind of what type of cloud service you are looking for, you are ready to delve further into your hunt for a cloud provider.
Biggest providers in the market
Understanding the market and its biggest players will give you a better idea of what to keep an eye out for or even specific things you may be looking for in a cloud provider but had no idea were even possible. The biggest providers in the market today include: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, IBM and Google Cloud Platform.
You can get to know the providers’ services even better by taking courses and getting certifications. For example, you can complete AWS certification training via Cloud Academy online. Taking the time to learn more about this andother providers will increase your knowledge about cloud computing in general and support you in making a well-informed decision when choosing your provider.
Financial and organizational health
The financial health of the providers you are looking into should be transparent. Look for a track record of stability and see how each provider handles conversations about their organization, risk management policies and formal management structure. Have any questions or concerns? Voice them at the start, talk to other users/professionals you trust, and check into the reputation and level of cloud experience of the different providers. It is the status quo to be sure you are doing business with someone you trust; the same rule applies when choosing a cloud provider.
Naturally, every provider manages costs differently. This makes it difficult to compare different cloud providers at a basic cost level. Instead, consider the unique pricing models and discounting options. Some characteristics are similar, such as a discount for a long-term contract compared to a short-term contract or a discount for an upfront payment for committed usage. For example, AWS is often the middle-priced option amongst the biggest providers, but is commonly met or beat out by Azure for on-demand pricing. Consider what costs you can take on and what pricing model fits best for your unique case, so once you feel comfortable with the research you have done, you know what you are after once the negotiations begin.
Type of Security
Security is always a top priority for every business. The security infrastructure and policies in place for cloud providers should be constantly kept up to date and transparent for users to learn more about and be walked through as requested. If you have specific security requirements, such as your data being stored in your home country for example, it is important to have a conversation with different providers to ensure they can comply with your standards.
Let’s face it; sometimes technology can just be confusing. But the cloud provider that you form a business relationship with should certainly do its best for the technical capabilities and processes of its services to be user-friendly. Familiarize yourself with each offering and be sure you are able to easily upgrade and manage your software and applications. Standard APIs should also be available so you can build connections to the cloud and get the most of it the transition.
With a balanced mix of research, open discussions and clear expectations keeping these considerations in mind, you will find the right cloud service provider for you!