You don’t need us to tell you why choosing the right cloud hosting provider. Unfortunately, that’s often easier said than done. There’s no shortage of shady, underhanded, or downright incompetent vendors in the cloud space.
Avoiding them is easy, though. Just train yourself to recognize the good ones. If a prospective vendor displays the following five characteristics, there’s a very good chance they’re worth shortlisting.
Word travels fast online, and even the shadiest company can’t escape lousy press forever. If a vendor isn’t wholly green and unproven, there will be people talking about them. Pay attention to what they say.
Check reviews, look at the news, and search for customer success stories—excellence has a way of shining through.
Comprehensive, Clear Policies
A good cloud provider will have strong data governance and security frameworks in place, complete with documented processes and policies for the following:
- Incident response
- Threat detection and remediation
- Access control
- Permissions management
- Software lifecycle management
- Backup & restoration
Moreover, they should be willing to show you these policies on request.
The more reliable and redundant a cloud host’s data center, the less you need to worry about downtime and data loss. Alongside documentation, you’ll want to pay careful attention to the level of redundancy present in their facility. Familiarize yourself with the concept of N-modular redundancy so you have a barometer on which to base your assessments.
We’ve reached the point where 24/7 support is now more or less table stakes. All the best vendors, cloud and otherwise, ensure that their clients receive the help they need when they need it. Instead of looking at availability, consider whether the level of support is adequate.
How much technical assistance will your users realistically need? How often do you suspect you might need to call and address a problem outside of regular business hours? How mission-critical is this service to your organization?
As an addendum to the above, you should also assess the host’s pricing policy and service-level agreement. Are the terms and conditions favorable to your business? Is there any confusing, unclear, or suspicious wording?
It should probably go without saying that if you answered yes to either of those questions, that’s a vendor you should avoid—no matter how promising they seem otherwise.
The Right Expertise
We’ve left the most important characteristic for last. The best cloud provider for your needs is one that understands those needs in the first place. While it’s certainly possible to work successfully with a host that lacks experience in your industry, we’d not recommend it—particularly if you’re in a regulated sector like healthcare or financial services.