Checklist for choosing the Cloud Managed Services Providers
In its recently published report – Predicts 2017: Cloud Computing Enters Its Second Decade – Gartner stated that cloud computing is increasingly becoming a vehicle for next-generation digital business, as well as for agile, scalable and elastic solutions.
With more and more IT systems getting externalized across large enterprises and even small businesses, selecting the right cloud managed service providers (CSP) has become critical to innovating in long term.
Cloud service providers offer some component of cloud computing (DaaS, IaaS, SaaS or PaaS) to other businesses or developers. Let’s face it: the cloud has to be managed, just like any other computing platform. And, you cannot also overlook the myriad of benefits cloud offers to all businesses, big or small, such as trimmed costs, streamlined workflows, elimination of in-house IT and hardware resources, data monitoring, online collaboration, etc. Hence, choosing the right cloud services provider is vital to the success of your business.
However, a number of small- and medium-sized companies may struggle to distinguish between a cloud computing provider and managed services provider. Broadly speaking, a managed services provider is also a cloud services provider, but a cloud services provider is NOT a managed services provider.
A cloud managed services providers can deliver all the solutions that a CSP offers – DaaS, IaaS, PaaS or SaaS, and also a higher level for IT support – network connectivity, malicious software, data security, disaster recovery, IT strategy and growth management. A cloud services provider (or CSP) offers a number of individuals hosted solutions: Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and file sharing.
Back to the point, picking a right cloud provider is no easy feat. The available market is huge – from giants like Amazon and Google to smaller niche players that offer bespoke services.
So how do you distill the right cloud provider from so many? Here’s a list of top considerations to help guide you in choosing the right cloud provider for your business:
Pricing structure offered by the cloud managed services providers
Pricing is often the jumping pad for comparisons of vendors. However, the roadblock with this approach is that it ebbs the significance of all the other key considerations that businesses should look at. It’s a no-brainer that cloud computing is a better economic model than the traditional data center model.
Unfortunately, comparing the costs offered by vendors isn't a cakewalk. In many cases, it's simply not an apples-to-apples comparison. Also, the decision based only on the pricing models of vendors can wreak havoc on business outcomes. Often, there are significant hidden costs related to cloud migration, cloud architecture, and deployment that are simply not projected by the vendors in their pricing charts.
Also, refrain from paying large upfront costs. We recommend you to leverage a pricing scheme that will empower you to pay-as-you-go with the facility of adding services, as required. Some vendors can charge you hourly or monthly, while others have a semi-annual or annual pricing scheme. Consider economies of scale.
Identify relevant governance and risk management policies
We recommend you to browse through the CIF Code of Practice framework that will guide you to identify relevant security and data governance policies and processes. This will help you in the vendor assessment. It’s important to assess the CSP’s level of data and system security and security governance processes. Take a look at the provider’s internal security audit reports, incident reports and remedial measures taken by the provider for the concerns raised. The CSP must have a formal management structure and an established risk management framework.
Comprehensive data security policies & virus solutions in place
The market has made this task easy for you by assessing a cloud provider’s security through the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), British Standards Institution and the Security Trust and Assurance Registry (STAR) certification program. A provider’s security environment is assessed by the third party in these programs. On clearing the assessment, providers attain their certifications and then listed in the CSA STAR registry. These certifications are a hallmark of trust for the existing and potential customers to understand the robust security standards of a provider.
Also, you need to find out how does your potential cloud vendor safeguards its data center against security threats and data thefts/losses. You can also check if you provider possesses a Standards for Attestation Engagements 16 (SSAE 16) certification that indicates if a vendor’s systems and data are compliant with the industry-established security standards of privacy and security.
Ensure business continuity and disaster recovery
Today’s businesses need a smart disaster recovery (DR) solution that can keep their businesses afloat in case of an unplanned IT failure such as a hurricane, flood, tornado or another natural catastrophe. Choosing the right cloud service provider that offers a powerful cloud backup and recovery is therefore very important. A solid DR solution equips the enterprises with the much-needed tools to mitigate the risk and ensure business continuity in case of a calamity.
A DR solution replicates and stores the data and applications in the cloud that then serves as a backup option. To be able to maximize the outcomes in this aspect, you need to choose a CSP that can demonstrate a high degree of disaster recovery and business continuity expertise. Their enterprise managed wifi services solutions would vary depending on their ease of use, the storage capacity of their systems, asset migration from one cloud to another and much more.
Checkup for the financial health of provider
Before choosing your CSP, you should check its past record of stability and financial status. It must have adequate capital to run successfully over a long period of time. Choosing a CSP without a sound business can be detrimental for your business in future.
You need to assess that in case your CSP lands in a problem, would it be able to refund your losses and not let it impact your business concerns or security in any case. Also, check for if your CSP has been or is currently into legal soup, and how has it battled through that phase.
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One of the top three consumer brand companies of the world with a portfolio of hundreds of trusted brands with 700 country-specific brand and company websites was not finding it easy to manage in the connected world. Each brand website is the storefront for smart shoppers with smart devices who expect offers, personalization, information and accessibility at their homes and on the go. But for our client, these websites were created, hosted and managed by local providers. The result? No standardization in the creation and hosting of websites, which meant higher cost, more complexity, and prolonged time-to-market. Leverage more on cloud service providers, private cloud service providers, cloud managed services, managed cloud services, cloud managed services providers, cloud managed wifi, enterprise managed wifi services and cloud management services.