Widespread, yes. Homogenous, no. One of the biggest myths in IT is that that there’s just one cloud. There are actually a multitude of cloud solutions available, each being developed and managed by a different supplier. And most companies use various PaaS, SaaS and IaaS services, creating what is known as a multi-cloud environment. Using several service providers can increase flexibility and reduce risks but having so many options to choose from can also be confusing, even—and sometimes especially—for IT managers.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a cloud services vendor, so in this article we’ll focus on IaaS (infrastructure as a service). What are the top considerations when selecting an IaaS service provider?
A quality IaaS vendor isn’t just service provider, it’s a key partner for ensuring your business’ viability. A good partner understands that when your company succeeds, so do they. Look for vendors who are interested in understanding your business’ issues and objectives and in building a long-term relationship with your team. If they seem more focused on making a sale than on getting to know your needs, look elsewhere. With so many competent IaaS providers on the market, you never need to compromise on this essential factor.
If your business is going to rely on virtual hardware, you want to know that this infrastructure is properly protected. When comparing IaaS solutions, make sure you ask about threat detection, protection against unauthorized access and auditability. It’s also important to ensure that you can link your private cloud to your IaaS infrastructure as a means of enhancing your overall security and performance. At the end of the day, it’s not about getting the “best” SLA, but rather getting the right service terms and conditions for your business.
Data security and locality
Data is an invaluable asset for any business. Ask prospective IaaS service providers how they prevent data loss or interruptions in availability in the event of an equipment failure. While you’re at it, inquire whether the web host guarantees against data breaches.
You also want to find out what happens once your contract with the IaaS vendor ends. Is data erased using a specialized tool that generates erasure reports? What are the fees, if any, for removing data from the cloud?
If you wouldn’t hire an inexperienced lawyer, dentist, babysitter or renovations contractor, why would you put your business’ future in the hands of a fledging IaaS service provider? Experience matters. Look for a vendor with a proven track record in enterprise data centre management, secure web hosting and critical application implementation. You also want to choose a vendor that offers integrated support directly, not through a sub-contractor, as this invariably translates into better security and faster response times.
A seasoned IaaS service provider will also be able to draw on their experience to develop an effective cloud strategy for your business. Instead of pushing you toward the latest trend, they’ll position you to meet your immediate goals and ensure you can add services—public, private or hybrid—as your needs and objectives evolve over time.
Trust (yes, it’s worth repeating!)
For many businesses, a digital transformation is both essential and daunting. It can be hard to trust an external partner for such a major undertaking. But given the need for enhanced flexibility and security, most companies have taken the plunge and turned to multiple IaaS providers to cover all their needs. And if you do your homework and properly assess potential vendors, chances are you can find a solid partner that is genuinely interested in seeing your business succeed.
Once you do find your partner of choice, remember that you’ll still be responsible for key aspects such as firewall configuration, secure applications and application management.
R2i is proud to have created custom cloud solutions for a wide range of companies. To speak with our specialists about what strategy could work for your business, contact us any time. We’d be happy to help.