When choosing a hosting provider, a reseller, or even a SaaS vendor, there are many key insights that you must heed. Part of the ‘crawl’ stage in the three stages of cloud adoption, understanding the cloud environment: The responsibilities, the readiness, and the adoption planning must be taken to heart before making the move. Knowing the things for which providers must be held accountable will help you to make a more informed cloud decision.
Accountability in the Cloud
The four key pillars that data center managers and IT experts should expect from their hosting providers are unmatched reliability, security, flexibility and integrity. We thank Data Center Knowledge for sharing the expectations and realities in cloud computing.
In the midst of growing IT infrastructure demands and ever-changing compliance requirements, more companies are choosing to partner with outsourcing alternatives. It should be expected for a hosting provider to tout a clean record when it comes to data center outages. They should guarantee their services, such as 100 percent network uptime and 99 percent server/cloud uptime guarantees, and should architect the right solutions upfront to avoid future problems. Hosting providers should also offer extensive backups, working with each customer to ensure they’re functioning properly. If you’re not experiencing all of these components, you should look elsewhere.
Author’s Perspective: Note that reliability should be covered in your Cloud Service-Level Agreement, guaranteeing specific uptime. For instance, reliability generally measured in 9’s, with estimated monthly reliability shared below.
- Two Nines (99% Uptime): Service will be down for no more than 3 Days, 15 Hours, 39 Minutes per year. This is for sake of comparison, as no one would pride themselves on this and in consideration should be ignored.
- Three Nines (99.9% Uptime): Slightly Better, but still nothing worth priding company SLA. This means 43.8 minutes of downtime a month; 8.76 hours a year.
- Four Nines (99.99% Uptime): Starting to become more and more of a promise worth keeping; four nines means 4.32 minutes of downtime a month; 52.56 minutes a year.
- Five Nines (99.999% Uptime): If the company offers it, make sure they can back it up. If a company promises it, be sure they will pay you for downtime. This means you could expect 25.9 seconds of downtime a month; 5.26 minutes a year.
With headlines continuously reporting massive data breaches or hacks, companies should demand that their hosting provider embrace security as their hallmark, and protect their customer data as if it were their own. A quality hosting provider should, at a minimum, always address the following security components: offer 100 percent secure guarantees, provide extensive, proactive security protection, operate “clean networks,” and perform background checks before allowing customers to host.
Author’s Perspective: We’ve covered security in depth before. A must-have in the cloud, you also need to keep in consideration that saving your password as ‘password’ and not using two-step verification is not the fault of the cloud. Companies should offer the aforementioned things, but in addition require necessary password updates, suspicion-based monitoring, and use an authentication process that needs more than one factor.
Virtualization, cloud computing, storage, legacy systems and new applications all add complexity to an organization. Hosting providers should be able to understand and make sense of this complexity by delivering hosting solutions that closely meet your requirements, are deployed to your timeline and track to your budget.
A flexible hosting provider should be technology agnostic, boasting a wide range of technologies using dedicated servers, cloud and hybrid solutions, as well as offer flexible contracts, policies and procedures to fit your business needs.
Author’s Perspective: Technology Agnostic. A great term that you should expect from the vendor. If it works, it works well, and solves the problems in a way better than anything else; it’s good enough for our product and customers. Avoiding the fanciful offerings, you must know the strengths and weaknesses of the provider, its providers, and its providers’ providers. Define your goals and find what meets the needs.
When it comes to entrusting sensitive data outside your network, whichever hosting provider you select should have a proven track record of selling solutions that work as promised. Furthermore, they should only make realistic promises, always over deliver and use post-sales engineers during the sales process to ensure proposed solutions always go through implementation as planned. A quality hosting provider will offer “one neck in the noose” support, that solves complex problems at no extra cost, and who will place customers, vendors and partners above all else. A workplace environment that ensures a hosting experience customers expect and deserve doesn’t hurt either.
Author’s Perspective: A general way to learn the value of a provider is to see what others have had to say. Case Studies, Awards, and that absolutely must-have “neck-in-noose” service-level agreement that the vendor can stand behind. Just remember, the guarantee shouldn’t just be “On the box,” the employees, support staff, and channel partners have to live and breathe this guarantee.
Meeting the Needs of the Informed Cloud Buyer
As a provider of cloud services to informed businesses, Trustantial has been supporting purchasers with information and news surrounding the cloud needs of growing businesses. A provider of best-in-class cloud financial management software Intacct, we hope this will provide you the information you need to understand the cloud economy and surrounding issues. Call us today to see how you can make the informed cloud choice.