Things to Consider Before Choosing a Cloud Provider
A number of global players have emerged in the cloud service provider market as more and more IT-based companies resort to externalize their data. Market giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, as well as several small companies and start-ups, are offering such services, either through bespoke plans and niche schemes or via mass-marketable, accessible services.
In 1960, Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, a psychologist and computer scientist working in ARPANET, seeded the first concept of cloud computing and digital data storage. Since then, the introduction of a powerful computer processing system and competent software has made the concept a reality. More than 52% of businesses worldwide use such systems to store their data.
However, in such scenarios, the success of a company decides on how their cloud service providers handle the data. A shared responsibility model is essential as the service provider should take care of the online process itself while the business owner takes care of the data accumulation and processing.
So, how does one choose the correct cloud service provider? What to look for while picking a service from the plethora of options that are out there? Let’s take a look at some of the key factors one should consider while selecting a cloud service provider.
- Security – Probably the most important aspect one should consider is data security. The World Wide Web is a utopia for people who indulge in malicious activities. Data breach, hijacking, phishing, etc. pose a serious risk for companies who use the cloud for storage.
Studies show, contrary to popular belief, almost 70% of such incidents happen with small and medium scale enterprises that resort to cloud services. It happens because of insufficient training and understanding of the security requirement for such processes. Hackers easily exploit these gaps with phishing or brute force tactics, making the business, their customers, and the servers vulnerable.
Security measures should be checked before availing such services. Most large scale cloud service providers list their security features and partner integration on their websites. Also, businesses should communicate about their exact requirements, unique cases, or any industry or state norms with these service providers before choosing any particular one.
- Standards – Ideally, a cloud service provider should comply with all the recognized standards and frameworks to adhere to the industry’s practice. Looking at the compliance, certification, and standards can be helpful while choosing a particular service provider.
There are numerous standards and certifications in place for cloud-based computational service providers. Certificates like ISO 27001, IEEE, CSA, etc. speak for compliance with the internet’s good practice guidelines, security, and operational norms.
- Technologies – The technology and architecture of the cloud service provider should integrate smoothly with a business’ framework and workflow. For example, companies that operate within Microsoft’s framework should go for Azure, as it will be easier to integrate as well as manage the data stream on common platform architecture.
3rd party service providers should also have extensive compatibility and knowledge of the target platform. Most large scale vendors offer a similar architecture paired with different types of storage to cater to the customer’s unique requirements. Businesses can easily select a service that best suits their usage.
- Regulations – Local jurisdiction plays a crucial role in determining data handling and storage procedures. A company should select a cloud service provider according to the policies of data residency, privacy rules, and regulatory norms governing sensitive and personal information.
The location of the servers carrying the data plays an important role in the selection process. Local jurisdiction regarding data storage and information handling may bar a cloud service provider from handling certain types of data. Service providers should be transparent about their data center locations and should inform the business about any special rules or regulations that they will have to follow.
Finding the perfect cloud service provider
Fulfilling a company’s unique set of needs is necessary for finding a comprehensive service. Recognizing these hard and soft factors to choose a possible provider plays an important role in choosing the perfect cloud service provider. It is one of the stepping stones to ensure long-term success.