The cloud is fast becoming a major means of information storage for numerous types of businesses; it can save you money, offer greater security, flexibility in scaling your needs up and down at different points and there is no need to make any long-term commitments. When it comes to choosing the right provider for you, there are several important considerations you must take into account to choose the provider that will best meet your company’s needs.
EVALUATING YOUR NEEDS AND THE OFFERINGS OF A PROVIDER
Cloud hosting providers provide a range of services for an eclectic mix of industries and individual businesses,all of which have unique needs when it comes to workloads. Some are fairly static and consistent, while others may fluctuate greatly depending on the time of the day, the month or the year. Some involve processing data that highly regulated by the government or relevant industry, or that is proprietary. There are workloads that are very interactive with internal and external sources, while others are less so.
In having a full understanding of your needs, you will be in a better position to evaluate which companies will best serve them. You need to look at factors such as interoperability, which allows a workload to be accessed in multiple environments, both public and private. You want a provider that can provide flexibility in choosing the settings you need in each individual workload. One of the benefits of using a provider of cloud hosting servers is enhanced security, but the degree and means of protection can vary between providers; carefully consider the degree of security you need.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SERVICE LEVEL AGREEMENTS
How many times have we just signed something without going through the fine print, or agreed to terms and services with one click of a mouse? For the most part, this will not come back to bite us; but when it comes to your information technology needs, this is not the time to just browse over the service level agreement and sign on the dotted line. SLAs between providers can vary greatly and failure to read through the whole thing can spell big problems down the line, sometimes leaving you with little recourse to change anything. For example, many are surprised to find that an SLA agreement allows for periods of outage that fall under the terms of ‘’annual average’’ availability. There is no one best SLA; the name of the game is finding one that has the terms that are most important for your business needs. Have a legal professional review the document; ask for clarification on anything that is not 100 percent clear.
ONE HOST OR SEVERAL?
The cloud is not one big conglomerate of information from all different sources;in reality, a particular company creates and maintains its own cloud, and determines how it will run and what it will offer. Because of the number of providers offering different types of services, many companies might be tempted to assign different aspects of their workload with different providers. On the face of it, this may seem like a good plan, but it can soon become difficult to manage. Juggling multiple environments, each with their own pricing structure, service parameters and SLAs will create more work for your IT staff and decrease the efficiency of your operation.