A Checklist for Choosing a Cloud Service Provider

Cloud hosting is becoming more attractive to the IT community that at one time was resistant to moving away from on-premise infrastructure.

Now, large enterprises and small businesses are kicking the tires on cloud hosting options and they are recognizing the benefits that cloud hosting can offer. Now, we do realize that choosing a cloud service provider can be complex. You want a hosting provider that can scale with your business, meet your uptime SLA’s and deliver a secure platform. If you are evaluating cloud providers, we have something that might help. A checklist! Our checklist helps you in evaluating the 5 most important things you need to know before choosing a cloud provider.

1. Understand Your Cloud Hosting Providers Uptime and SLAs

If your cloud provider can’t do better than you can as it relates to uptime, you probably chose the wrong cloud hosting service. If your business is like most businesses, it runs online. If you are like us, you simply can’t afford to have your website and core applications go down. Be sure to look at a cloud provider’s uptime history, their SLA’s and how often they have outages. Some providers will offer remediation guarantees. The good news here is that the cloud hosting market is extremely competitive and the leaders in the cloud hosting world are offering some solid uptime guarantees.

2. Leverage Cloud Expertise

Making the move to the cloud requires a solid understanding of best practices, design and architecture and operations management. Working with an experienced partner like Kiefer, clients can avoid potential pitfalls of moving to the cloud. Having expertise readily available is an important consideration for organizations that intend to take a critical part of their business to the cloud. Your cloud hosting provider may also be able to offer up resources, content and support materials to make your move to the cloud easier.

3. Settle on a Realistic Deployment Model

Many organizations that we work with recognize the value of the cloud, but they also can clearly see that moving everything to the cloud may not make sense. Our experience has made a “hybrid” infrastructure a compelling one. If you are a large enterprise, you are unlikely to move your entire data center to a public cloud. However, it may make sense that you use a public cloud for only specific workloads and run the others in your data center or private cloud or in a collocation.

4. Know That Your Hosting Provider Can Support You

You need to find a provider that demonstrates that they can serve customers in your line of business. A strong testimonial from customers that have the same infrastructure demands as you do should be a good indicator. When choosing a cloud hosting provider, seek to understand the provider’s approach to service delivery.

5. Cost

We have intentionally put cost as the final item on the checklist. Don’t get me wrong, cost is a major consideration but when evaluating a cloud hosting service, but we want to make it clear… Don’t START with cost. When you focus purely on cost, you may choose a hosting provider that isn’t the best provider for your organization. They may not be the best fit for your organization based on the other 4 priorities that we listed in our checklist. In addition, it’s important to know that there are often hidden expenses that can impact your costs. You may have to make investments in optimizing your cloud architecture, you may have costs associated with the migration, or you may have to adapt your deployment model to meet the needs of your organization. Be sure to evaluate costs only after you’ve determined which cloud hosting providers can deliver the service you expect and require.

A graphical Kiefer checklist for considerations when choosing a cloud services provider

This checklist can be helpful to organizations that are considering a cloud hosting service. Our team is here to support you. If you have questions, please contact us!


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