Update: This article was last updated on 26th October 2020 to reflect the accuracy and up-to-date information on the page.
In this day and age, the majority of companies, whether IT, construction, health, accounts, or finance, are making a move to the cloud. The businesses have realized the capabilities of cloud computing and the benefits that it offers. However, migrating the entire business process to the cloud needs thorough research and consideration.
Among all the aspects, choosing a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) is probably the most complicated part of the entire process of transition to the cloud. From performance stability to customization, various factors depend on your choice of the service provider. Therefore, it is important that you invest plenty of thoughts in the process of choosing a cloud service provider.
Here are some of the factors that you should consider when choosing a cloud provider:
1. Infrastructure Design
a) Data Center Setup
Data centers should be set up at differently located sites. In the normal conditions, it enables you to make use of services from the closest data center, which enables a least-latency network.
In case of any disturbance with the data centers due to different reasons such as a hurricane, the separately-located data center will enable continuity of the services. So, it is essential to understand how strong and reliable the data center network of the cloud service provider is.
Modern-day operations don’t allow the luxury of waiting. When you are working with multiple users, who could be your staff and clients, you don’t want to face performance issues.
That is where High-Performance Computing (HPC) servers come into need. It empowers powerful and real-time performance even with heavy applications and multiple users working simultaneously on the same server.
So, make sure that the cloud provider you choose, deploys HPC servers in the cloud architecture to ensure optimum performance.
c) Multi-Layer Security
When it comes to security, you cannot afford to compromise. A reliable cloud service provider must be able to manage the security at all three layers: host, network, and physical setup.
You should check whether advanced security features such as multi-factor authentication, Intrusion Detection, and Prevention Systems (IDS & IPS), data encryption, access control system, and enterprise-grade firewalls are part of the cloud service provider’s security procedures.
Almost every service provider offers data backup facility. However, up to what extent or how quick is the backing up process plays a critical role in helping you choose the cloud service provider. There is no point in settling for a backup facility that is not at least backing up the data every day.
Most of the leading service providers, such as ACE Cloud Hosting, offer backup for 45 days. They should even have the custom option to extend this duration on your request. Moreover, the security of the backup process and how to restore it when needed are other questions that you should ask them.
BCDR is Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery. It indicates the service provider’s ability to reinstate the hosting service after disruption due to any sort of disruptive event such as a natural disaster. The CSP should be able to identify the types of risks that can hamper the business process and define procedures to mitigate them.
Replication of data at various points and redundancy of infrastructure at various levels are some other factors that reflect the BCDR standards of the providers.
It is an essential feature of any cloud hosting service, and you should not expect any special charges for it.
Uptime guarantee shows the duration of service a cloud provider guarantees to deliver. Some disruption in the services, which could be caused due to upgrades and maintenance, is acceptable. Uptime is counted in percentage on the annual durations, usually.
|Availability Measure||Downtime Per Year||Downtime Per Week|
|90% (one nine)||36.5 days||16.8 hours|
|99% (two nines)||3.65 days||1.68 hours|
|99.9% (three nines)||8.76 hours||10.1 minutes|
|99.99% (four nines)||52.6 minutes||1.01 minutes|
|99.995% (four and a half nines)||26.28 minutes||30.24 seconds|
|99.999% (five nines)||5.25 minutes||6.05 seconds|
|99.9999% (six nines)||31.5 seconds||604.8 ms|
The leading cloud service providers guarantee 99.999% uptime, which would mean downtime of fewer than 6 minutes in the year. You should choose a CSP that offers high uptime to ensure that you get access to your business process at all times.
Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a documented list of service standards, terms, and conditions. This document also defines how the hosting provider will compensate for any failure to serve up to the defined standards. For the custom cloud solutions, you can even request the service provider to define an exclusive SLA.
It is recommended that you evaluate the SLA thoroughly before making a decision to go with the cloud hosting provider.
Involvement of IT issues makes support availability a necessary consideration in deciding a hosting provider. Some of the hosting providers offer support limited to a certain number of instances and during the working hours.
However, if you expect yourself, your staff, or clients to work on weekends or holidays, then opt for a hosting provider that offers unlimited 24×7 support that includes weekends and holidays.
The support delivery medium offered is also important. Where do you want them to be available – phone call, chat, or email?
Eventually, everything comes down to pricing. Although a CSP offering services at a low cost seems tempting, it may not offer you the optimum level of services. However, it does not mean that the most expensive cloud provider is the best. The best you can do about the price war is – compare all of them, don’t hesitate in bargaining, and even ask for special discounts and offers.
Moreover, the pricing plans offered by the CSP should be flexible to incorporate all the services you need in the desired price range. Also, check for the refund policy or free trial offers in case you do not like the services. It helps to opt-out of the services easily without any commitment.
8. Private Server
A private server is a term used for a server that offers you dedicated resources without the interruption from other users. Some businesses require a private server as their business process involves highly confidential data or require high-performance processing.
Your hosting requirements are unique in different ways – the apps that you need, the number of users you want to work with, or the resources that your app requires. To achieve optimum performance with these unique needs, go with the hosting provider that can offer a private server or, in other words, choose the service provider that delivers custom cloud solutions.
9. Help in Transition to Cloud
You may be working on the desktop version or looking to switch from one hosting provider to another. In any case, the help that your new cloud hosting provider offers is of critical value. Migration of data and setup of the applications on the cloud are some of the services that your hosting provider should be able to offer without any additional charges.
Without the help of a cloud provider, you will be stranded and will have to deploy a team of your own for migration and setup, causing inconvenience.
The Story So Far!
Choosing the right cloud provider is not a choice- it is an absolute necessity. The cloud provider is expected to offer a high standard of services at an affordable rate. The services include round-the-clock support with quick response and resolution.
The data center partner of the CSP should be equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure offering you the highest level of security and hardware redundancy. The servers hosting your business process should offer HPC.
BCDR plans are vital to ensure data protection, even in times of a disruptive event. The CSP should offer a high uptime value so that you are assured of their services. SLA is a significant document in this regard that makes you aware of all the terms and conditions and the level of service that the CSP can offer. If your business deals with confidential data, go with a CSP that offers private server hosting.
Although all these aspects will give you a fair idea of the competence of a CSP, choosing the right one also depends on the nature and size of your business, and of course, budget considerations. So, choose wisely.
Connect with our solutions consultant at 855-321-6576 if you are looking to make a move to the cloud.
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