What to look for in a cloud provider

Cloud computing offers too many business benefits to ignore. From cost-savings and increased flexibility to easier disaster recovery and enhanced security, those organizations that have moved to the cloud and are working with a reliable provider are able to do more with their technology. Already, 94 percent of enterprises are using cloud services and half spend over $1.2 million on the cloud annually.

Still, there are concerns, such as worry over data loss, regulatory and legal compliance issues, and a loss of control. Another issue is impact. With CIOs devoting more of the IT budget to cloud spend, it’s critical that resources are used strategically. Gregor Petri, Vice President Analyst at Gartner, says, “It will be essential for CIOs to develop a formal strategy that helps to put individual cloud decisions in the content of the enterprise’s strategic goals.”

To address these issues and ensure a smooth shift to cloud computing, look for a cloud provider that can serve your unique cloud IT needs.

Shifting to the cloud during the pandemic

In 2020, many businesses were forced to accelerate digital transformation to survive. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught the business world, it’s the critical importance of resilience – companies have had to adopt technology that allows them to be more mobile and flexible in order to survive.

The cloud makes a decentralized workplace possible. It also allows businesses to keep growing without relying on a physical IT infrastructure.

While the pandemic has put many businesses in crisis mode, it’s also an opportunity to dedicate resources to the type of holistic cloud transition that will serve enterprise business needs in the future. Use this transitional period to your advantage and shift to cloud computing where it serves your business strategy. Because so many businesses are moving to cloud models right now, you don’t want to be one of the few that’s left behind.

How to choose the right cloud provider

When looking for a cloud provider, keep in mind, they aren’t all the same. From well-known names such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure to dozens of smaller cloud service providers, how do you know what’s right for your business?

The reality is, each provider has its own strengths. Some offer more control and customization options, while other providers’ strengths are ease of use, security, or analytical insights. There are also different types of cloud deployment: a public cloud model offers seamless scalability; a private cloud is best for businesses with tight regulatory requirements, and the hybrid cloud combines both, offering excellent big data analytics capabilities and security.

When choosing a cloud provider, consider the following:

Data center setup

Ideally, a provider will have data centers in different locations. This will ensure continuity of service should one data center experience a natural disaster or other disruption. You’ll also want to ask about their uptime guarantee.

Cloud security

Your provider should have robust network security with firewalls, multifactor user authentication, encryption, and antivirus detection, as well as comprehensive physical security for the data center.

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

This is a document that outlines service standards and the terms and conditions of the service agreement. If you have strict compliance requirements, you can request an exclusive SLA that lives up to your needs.

Help and support

Find out what your cloud provider will do to help with data migration and setup. Also, ask how much support your cloud hosting provider includes – will your staff be able to access support at all hours and how responsive will they be?

The cloud is the future

Putting the time and research into finding the best cloud provider for your needs can help you get the most out of cloud computing. There’s no question the cloud is the future. What your organization does today will dictate what your technology can do tomorrow.