When looking for a suitable cloud provider, companies have to pay attention to a number of things. In addition to general requirements such as availability and security, every organisation has individual needs to which the cloud services must match. The following article provides tips on what digitalisation managers and IT service managers should look out for in the selection process.
The ability to protect sensitive data is of great importance when evaluating providers. Accordingly, managers should check whether candidates offer the same level of security that the company itself maintains in terms of physical and logical security, encryption, change management, business continuity and disaster recovery. They should also make sure that the provider handles data securely, documents backups and operates availability and destruction procedures. Unfortunately, when it comes to data protection it is no longer sufficient to choose a European provider to be on the safe side. The reason is, that cloud computing is complex. Data transfer to a country outside the EU must be excluded by agreement in any case. Those who need additional security should check whether there is an access control system that the company can configure and manage itself. In addition, companies can encrypt their data in the cloud.
Availability and reliability
The system availability should be secured by a service level agreement. For the operation of the call centre, it should be at least 99.9 per cent, more would be better. Failure safety must also be guaranteed if individual data centres or several locations in a region fail. In addition to the systems, the availability of the cloud connection must also be determined and the network must be able to support IP telephony in high quality, including video applications.
Avoidance of vendor lock-in
Many companies fear, not without good reason, that they will become dependent on their cloud provider because they will not be able to transfer their applications and/or data to another provider later. They can avoid this by clarifying in advance whether the application and infrastructure are independent of each other, which standards are used and what costs might be incurred. When using software-as-a-service, switching providers is easier with standard software than with specialised software that may only be offered by one or two vendors. An example of this are applications around artificial intelligence. Since developing their own applications is costly, companies should weigh up whether the disadvantage of dependency outweighs the time advantage. Some companies also mirror their clouds with two different providers or in their own data centre. Whether this is necessary and sensible must also be discussed.
Industry software and compliance
If companies want to operate or use industry-specific applications in the cloud, the provider of choice should demonstrate appropriate certifications, meet the infrastructure requirements and also be familiar with the legal documentation requirements. In addition, it should be checked whether the software can be well integrated with other applications of the company, such as CRM and workforce management systems. Providers usually prove their experience with reference customers, but it does not hurt to personally ask colleagues who have similar requirements.
Service design and accessibility
Companies often change cloud providers because the service ends up being worse than they had hoped. 24/7/365 availability is standard, but there are differences. Good service starts with a provider understanding its customers and their goals. Other indicators are the turnaround times for standard service tickets and the resources available to resolve complex issues. A personal contact person increases the likelihood that the company will receive the support it needs.
Depending on the dimension of the project, the selection of the cloud provider can take six to nine months and be very resource-intensive. We are happy to support you – both in finding the right provider and in migrating to the cloud or switching from one platform to another. Talk to us!