The Business Owner’s Guide to Choosing the Right Cloud Service Provider
Everyone seems to be talking about the cloud these days and how it’s leading the way in digital transformation. And although implementation is easy, you must also know that 84% of new technology implementations fail to meet expectations. This is typically a result of the disconnect between IT consultants and business leaders.
Recognizing the many benefits the cloud can bring to their businesses, decision makers often rush into getting their own cloud by partnering with the wrong service provider. This usually ends up being a costly endeavor fraught with problems like employee onboarding issues, unexpected downtime, and poor integrations with existing systems.
But not every cloud provider is equal, and some tailor their services to a very specific type of client. It’s up to you to select a company that’s more than just a technology vendor – but also a dependable business partner with a vested interest in aligning technology with your corporate goals. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the most important considerations when evaluating the suitability of a potential cloud provider:
Reputation and Industry Expertise
It wasn’t long ago that small cloud startups were popping up like mushrooms after a rainstorm, promising transformative results to a vast range of different businesses and industry verticals. Today, the market has moved away from this one-size-fits-all approach to focus on industry-specific expertise. This makes sense, as every industry faces its own set of operational challenges. For example, businesses operating in healthcare need to be HIPAA-compliant, while law firms need systems that allow them to quickly and easily retrieve case information through eDiscovery.
Before committing yourself to any cloud provider, you’ll want to make sure they have a proven track record of working with other businesses in your industry. Furthermore, they should be fully committed to understanding your business-specific needs and challenges. Avoid providers who place an emphasis on selling you more technology than you need rather than actual business advantages.
Systems Accessibility and Downtime
Downtime refers to periods of time when systems become unavailable, either due to scheduled maintenance or other factors like hardware failures or security breaches. While every server needs to be shut down on occasion for scheduled maintenance, repairs or upgrades, scheduled downtime should be minimal with any cloud-hosted system, thanks to the availability of redundant computing resources. However, some providers have a bad downtime history, which translates into a severe loss of profits. In fact, just an hour of downtime costs over $100,000 for 98% of businesses.
One of the main advantages of the cloud is that it allows employees to access the resources they need to do their jobs from anywhere using any device with an internet connection. If there are downtime problems on the service provider’s end, your business could come to a grinding halt. When choosing a cloud provider, you’ll want to ensure they have an excellent track record when it comes to service uptime, flexibility, and scalability. The last thing you want, for example, is a situation where busy periods are leading to unexpected downtime and bandwidth issues.
Data Security and Privacy
Perhaps the biggest fear that many business leaders have when it comes to migrating to the cloud is that they’ll lose control over their systems and data, which may mean compromising security and privacy. These concerns aren’t unfounded, but depend greatly on the cloud provider you choose to work with. A reliable vendor, for example, should have reached an economy of scale that affords them access to the best security protocols and controls in the industry – which are far beyond the limited budgets of the typical small business.
Although the cloud should substantially be more secure than the typical in-house infrastructure, you’ll still want to do your homework, especially if your industry is highly regulated. At the very least, you’ll want to ask any potential provider where their data centers are located and which technologies they use to secure your data. Other features that every cloud provider should offer are round-the-clock monitoring, multifactor authentication, automated alerts, and proactive security. They should also be willing to onboard your team to ensure they’re ready to follow security protocols.
Dyrand Systems isn’t just a vendor – we’re here to provide, maintain, and support IT systems that work for you so you can focus on running your business. Give us a call today for a free assessment.