Finding the Perfect Cloud Provider: A Step-by-Step Guide
For many people, moving to the Cloud it can be quite an overwhelming task. Particularly, as Australia is now awash with public cloud providers, which can make it difficult to decide on which service is perfect for you1. So we have collated a list of tips and information to look out for when looking for the perfect cloud provider!
1. The first step, before you even consider looking at various providers, is to understand your own requirements2. Whether you are an individual or the service is for your company or organisation, you need to have a good understanding of exactly what you need. Determine the size of the platform required, how much storage will be needed, will sharing options be required, if there are any particular features you require and the budget that you are willing to spend on such a service2.
2. One of the first major features you want to compare when looking at various cloud providers, is their security features. In this day and age, with hackers getting more and more advanced, it is very important to ensure that the security provider that you choose has an existing “…security program in place, is well documented and meets all mandates”3. It is essential that you check the cloud provider’s security program, as many will often claim that they employ strong encryption, “…giving you the impression that your information is always protected”4. However, clouds are very appealing targets, to hackers as they are full of important data. Therefore, “…whether or not those companies encrypt data at rest is irrelevant because the associated decryption keys would be stored by the same cloud provider and could also be stolen in a breach”4. So ensure that the company you go with has a confident security program in place.
3. The next feature you should be looking at is storage. If you rely on cloud storage for work, looking into possible business options may be a better path to travel down. Although they are often more expensive, these cloud services often come with more advanced tools that will allow you to “…manage multiple cloud offerings from a single administrative console, monitor use across an entire organisation and enforce specific settings…”4 For example, some cloud providers may have a collaboration feature, which allows folders and data to be shared with specific people. Such services also allow administrators to track any changes to files, allowing them to create detailed reports of file modifications and information on the people and devices that enforced them4. They also have the ability to suspend user accounts (i.e. when an employee leaves) or transfer specific access to others when responsibilities change4. You also need to ensure that there will be enough storage space available for you to store your data, or that the provider has flexibility and scalability options, that allow you to continually increase or decrease the storage size to what you need2.
4. Another tip is to compare each providers fee structures. You don’t want to be paying an unnecessarily high price, if you don’t have to2. Therefore, it is essential that you understand the way the company’s fees work. Often many cloud providers offer flexible pricing structures that allow you to only pay for what you are using (therefore, if you need to increase or decrease you can, and you’ll only pay for that)2.
5. Another important element to look into is the company itself. How financially stable is the company? If the cloud provider you are looking into is new or still trying to establish themselves as a “successful business and gain a customer base, there is a high degree of risk that this will be a losing venture”3
So basically, make sure you have done your research! Understand what the company is about and listen to what current and previous customers have to say. That way you can be sure you are making the correct decision for you!
- L Tung, Spoilt for Choice in a Hot Cloud Computing Market, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 2014, viewed 17 February 2017, <http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/cloud/spoilt-for-choice-in-a-hot-cloud-computing-market-20141126-11uyj4.html>
- C Martin, How to choose the right cloud: Five quick tips, ComputerWeekly.com, 2010, viewed 17 February 2017, <http://www.computerweekly.com/feature/How-to-choose-the-right-cloud-Five-quick-tips>
- C Brooks, 8 Tips on Picking the Right Cloud Storage Provider, Business News Daily, United States of America, 2014, viewed 17 February 2017, <http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/6375-tips-on-picking-cloud-storage.html>
- P Mah, How to pick the right cloud storage service, CIO, 2016, viewed 17 February 2017, <http://www.cio.com/article/3138485/cloud-storage/how-to-pick-the-right-cloud-storage-service.html>