What makes a good Cloud Services Provider?
Not all Cloud providers are created equal. There has been a recent boom in Cloud adoption; indeed in their UK Cloud Adoption & Trends For 2016 survey, the Cloud Industry Forum reported that of their respondents, 84% use the Cloud in some degree – up from 78% in 2014 and just 48% in 2010.
18 January 2017
So if you want to take advantages of everything the Cloud has to offer and are thinking about making the move, here are the key points you need to consider.
Security is naturally a top priority for businesses considering transitioning to the Cloud. In the aforementioned Cloud Industry Forum survey, 70% of respondents expressed concerns about data security and 61% about data privacy when moving to the Cloud. With web-bourne threats on the rise, such as hacking and ransomware, a cutting-edge suite of security software is imperative. At GCI, we’ve taken our security efforts to the next level by investing in best-of-breed unified security management platform AlienVault, which offers real-time threat intelligence updated every 30 minutes with the latest information from the AlienVault Labs. Their teams of experts analyse thousands of pieces of data to identify and protect from emerging threats and vulnerabilities. This is, of course, in addition to the 24/7 support and monitoring already in place for our customers.
Additionally, an essential check for you to carry out is whether your chosen provider is ISO 27001 for Information Security Management Systems accredited. This standard recognises that the IT security goes beyond passwords, antivirus and firewalls, and that the security should be strategic as well as operational, incorporating people and processes as well as technology. The time and effort to taken to gain this accreditation suggests that the company understands and invests in its security.
Quality and expertise
While security is critical, it needs to be backed up by the best IT infrastructure and experience possible. Some IT companies see a Cloud position as an easier way to make money, and so use cheaper underlying equipment. At GCI, we don’t see why a Cloud platform should be underpinned by lesser technology than in on-premise deployments, and have invested millions in best-of-breed tech from world-renowned vendors such as HP, Dell EMC and Cisco, resulting in a robust and reliable Cloud service. This is coupled with the 24/7 support and monitoring previously mentioned, as the need for exceptional IT now goes well beyond the traditional 9-5. Think having someone on standby at 3am isn’t important? Think again - you might not realise exactly how important round-the-clock support is until you actually need it.
Good operational procedures
Another essential consideration when selecting a Cloud provider is their operational procedures. For example, an accreditation such as ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems suggests that the provider cares about efficiency, productivity and customer satisfaction. In turn, this provider is likely to have a high level of uptime to deliver the best possible service to their customers. GCI, for instance, had on average 99.98% uptime for the 12 months to September 2016. We also strive to go above and beyond the minimum requirements needed to operate a Cloud platform, and try to continuously offer our customers even more value for money. The addition of Watchpoints, for example, enhances the resilience of our Cloud platform by detecting issues for resolution before they impact on business, and are executed by our hosting team on our platform as part of the service.
With IT moving from a simple day-to-day operation to a more strategic role thanks to Managed Services, it is not uncommon these for business leaders to now be making the decisions rather than an IT Manager. To this end, it’s also important to find a provider who understands the challenges that your business faces, and takes the time to understand your exacting requirements. This includes a company that has worked with businesses of your size – if you’re an Enterprise you don’t want a provider who works just with SMBs, as they may not be able to accommodate your workload – as well as your industry.
Finally, it’s important to ensure that your Cloud provider has both the intention and means to invest in their platform; with technology moving at lightning speed, lack of investment could lead to poor performance and reliability of the platform. If you are entrusting your virtual infrastructure to a third party, you need to feel safe in the knowledge that they are able to provide a service long-term; indeed, it’s critical that the provider doesn’t fold and leave you without your systems! Financial performance, including net current asset position and latest profit and loss accounts will show the strength or weakness of a provider. Checking out their financial records before you sign on the dotted line could be a very wise decision.
With over 20 years of IT expertise and an ethos of service excellence, ISO 9001 and 27001 accreditations and longstanding partnerships with some of the world’s leading IT vendors, at GCI we are confident that customers who choose our Cloud platform will find a secure and robust, coupled with 24/7 support and monitoring as standard for every customer.
Want to know more? Visit our Cloud Services page to see how your business can benefit from Cloud adoption, or why not email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements?