The right cloud service provider could bring fresh perspective, efficiency and the potential for cost saving to your business. However, in the absence of a common framework for reviewing different cloud service providers how do you choose the right one?
Security is going to be crucial
Ask questions and request information about the way that the cloud service provider approaches security, including:
- Security policies that relate to access to both customer and provider systems
- How identity management and authentication is handled
- Details of the could service provider’s security infrastructure
- How customer data is backed up and how retention is managed
- What physical security is in place
The level of service you receive could make or break the relationship
It will be important to establish how different cloud service providers approach service and support. For example, every provider should offer a comprehensive Service Level Agreement. This should set out service standards that meet the criteria that you’re looking for, in particular with respect to legal requirements for the security of data hosted in the cloud service. Also key to note will be:
- How accounting and invoicing is handled and what access you’ll have to viewing the charges incurred
- Whether performance reporting is offered on a regular basis
- How quickly you can get support when you need it
The technical reach of the provider will be important to establish
No two cloud service providers are the same - the technical capabilities and processes used by one will not be the same as another. So, it’s crucial to get a clear picture of exactly what technical abilities exist and what systems are in use, including:
- How change is managed
- The process of deployment and the speed at which this can be achieved
- Systems in place for managing and upgrading software and applications
- The interfaces in use - standard APIs and data transforms will enable easier scaling
- Disaster recovering planning
- Cloud architecture that conforms to any compliance that applies to your business e.g. SOC 2, PCI DSS, HIPAA
Is the cloud service provider a good partner for you?
Before entering into a contractual relationship with any business it’s always a good idea to look at the quality of that business. What do other customers say, how can the provider demonstrate it has the knowledge and know how that you’re looking for, and how does it score in terms of its own financial health? You might also want to check out details such as management structure and risk management policies, for example, to get a better idea of what the business is about.