5 Smart Ways to Assess Cloud Service Provider

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Every business owner and service provider is spending on service cloud and infrastructure. Day by day the investment in cloud set up is increasing by the organizations. Like every day, the number of cloud service users are increasing so as the service providers are moving upwards too.

Due to the increased number of service providers even sometimes it becomes difficult to choose the best cloud service, provider. Here today we are going to discuss the cloud service providers and the factors that can help you in selecting the best provider among all available ones.

Selecting the Right Provider

As more and more IT companies are using cloud services it has become critical to pick the right provider to get long-term success. The available market of providers is vast and they are offering an even larger number of services. These providers include big giants like Amazon, Google and Microsoft along with smaller niche players that may offer bespoke services.

With the help of defined selection and procurement process, you can appropriately select the best provider for your need. To get the idea take the help of our blog, where we have listed the key-factors to choose the best cloud service, provider.

Key Considerations to Pick the Best Cloud Service Provider

When you realize the need to select the best cloud service provider then the way to analyze the requirement and evaluate the selection criteria may depend on the type of your organization. However, there can be some common considerable factors that can help you in selecting and picking the right service provider for your organization.

 Here we have grouped those into 5 sections with the help of which you can compare the service providers or suppliers and select the one that can help you in delivering expected and required service to your organization. Here is the list of those common factors:

Let us discuss the above points in detail:

1). Standards and Certifications

Compliance with recognized standards and quality frameworks can be a good way to assess the adherence with best standards and practices of the industry. Sometimes only standards cannot help you in selecting the best provider, but it can help you in short listing the potential service provider. Here e.g. if security is the major concern for you then you can choose the provider with ISO 27001 certification (that is a part of government’s essential scheme).

5 Smart Ways to Assess Cloud Service Provider

his screenshot shows the available multiple certifications and standards that are available for cloud service providers. The organizations shown in the image provides certification and standards for cloud providers.

Also, make sure that how your provider is adhering to these standards? You can check the structured processes, good knowledge and effective data management of the organization prior to consider it.

2). Service Roadmap and Technologies

You can ask for the service-roadmap of the provider. Through a service map, you can know how the provider plan serves the client continuously in an innovative and growing manner. Ensure that the provided service roadmap will fit your organizational requirement needs.

 The factors that should be taken into account to evaluate the service map are the way to support interoperability and their commitments to specific vendor and technology. For SaaS provider service, feature and integration roadmap is highly desirable.

Depending on your organizational overall need you may like to evaluate the overall portfolio of service providers. If you are going to select any few service providers then their offered service must be as per your requirement.

As far as technology is concerned then the provider’s platform and technology must be compatible with your current organizational technical standards. Check whether the standards and architecture of services of your provider are as per your workloads and management preferences.

While picking the provider to assess how much customization and re-coding is required to maintain the compatibility of your workloads and the provider’s cloud platform. There are many providers who also offer assistance service post-migration phase for the assessment and planning phase. Train your service staff as well to fill the skill-gap.

5 Smart Ways to Assess Cloud Service Provider

Here for the complete process though you may use your internal staff for a few tasks, while still young a hire the external or third party service provider for assistance. However, you may also get some limited support from your cloud service provider as well.

3). Data Governance, Data Security and Business Policies

Data governance is all about data privacy rules given by government personal data. Your data must be classifieds that may differ as per their class. Data storage governance must be as per the geographical location governance rules.

You can even choose the provider who gives you the freedom to choose the jurisdiction of your choice to process, store and manage data. Your cloud service provider may give you full information about data centres, where your data will be stored? You should also take this information out by your own about the data storage location of your providers.

If you find it relevant then asses the provider’s ability to encrypt your data while transferring it on the cloud. There should be no access to any unapproved administrator, especially for any highly sensitive data. Here rather than using object encryption one should use wither file/folder or client/agent level encryption.

As far as information security is concerned then asses your provider’s level of system and data security, its security governance processes and maturity of the security operations.

Make sure that the user’s activity and access must be auditable through all possible routes and ensure that all security roles and responsibilities are divided as mentioned in the business policy document. You can ask for internal audit reports, security and incident reports along with their remedial actions and raised issues.

4). Performance and Reliability

You should also assess the provider’s performance under several unfavourable circumstances. This may include the provision of disaster recovery and the ability to preserve organizational data in such a situation. This check includes criticalness of data source, data, backup, scheduling, restore, integrity checks and others.

The process to escalate the roles and responsibilities must be documented clearly in the service agreement. Sometimes your team may be responsible for some of these processes so this is a vital aspect.

You can also purchase additional risk insurance if recovery cost is not covered in the provider’s agreement.

To measure or judge the reliability of your provider you can follow several methods. Firstly you can check the provider’s performance against their SLAs for the last 6-12 months. Some providers provide this only when they will be asked.

Well no service is perfect downtime is an integral part of cloud service, so do not expect the perfect service just see how the provider deals while downtime. Make sure that the monitoring and reporting tools are sufficient and can be easily integrated with your overall reporting and management system.

The provider must be able to handle any of the planned and unplanned downtimes and for this, there must be documented, established and proven processes. The time when any service issue arises then avoid to be convinced by remedies and liability limitation like offers by the providers.

5). Vendor Lock-in, Exit Planning and Migration Support

Vendor lock-in is a situation in which any customer who is using any service or product cannot easily transition to a competitor. Vendor lock-in results due to incompatible proprietary technologies with those of competitors. Sometimes it may also happen due to contract constraints, inefficient processes and other such issues.

The providers who follow their unique proprietary components may be not suitable for you. Due to such components of your provider, it may be difficult for you to port your services to other providers or managing your in-house operations themselves. This can be a major concern for those applications that have to be run on any other service provider’s platform and have to be re-architecture.

You can avoid vendor-lock-in the situation by making sure that your provider has minimal usage of proprietary technology or by minimizing the use of that service that limits your ability to move to another provider.

5 Smart Ways to Assess Cloud Service Provider

Above screenshot shows some examples of vendor lock-in situations. You should ideally choose those value-added services that have comparable and competitive alternatives in the market.

In short, you can find some or other benefits by working with some provider but do not get entangles, even asses the benefits and associated risks before signing the contract with your provider.

To have a clear Exit strategy you should take the strategic planning and implementation step at the start of your agreement.

As switching your cloud service provider may not be that much easy and simple. So, it is recommended that before signing the contract find about the exit policy and make them clear. Additionally, make sure after the exit for how long your data will be with your provider and after how much and in what condition they will hand-over it to you?

Final Thought

You should include soft and hard factors while assessing the services of your provider. Recognize and validate the certification of them and check their testimonials and feedback as well. These factors like the ability to adhere to standards and proper security and value service may help you in choosing your provider smartly. The cloud providers must follow all of these standards. You can easily pick the appropriate provider that follow all standards and provide you with service with excellence.

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