As your digital transformation projects gather pace, cloud adoption will also increase. However, you need to be sure you are partnering with the right partner. Here are ten questions your next cloud platform provider must be able to answer.
1. Global access and availability?
Although hosted ‘in the cloud’, you still need to know where your data is physically located. This will help you address:
- Sovereignty and data protection legalities
- Potential bandwidth and latency issues
- Backup and recovery provisioning and procedures
- The SLAs available to protect your operations
2. Cloud management?
How will you manage your hosted infrastructure? What tools are provided? Where can you get additional assistance? And what skills will you need in-house to make the most of your investment?
3. Application performance?
Cloud comes with varying levels of performance – for a price. Your provider must be able to help you assess which service tier is most appropriate for each of your applications to ensure an acceptable level of performance.
4. Security and compliance?
As well as knowing where your data is stored, you need to know how it is protected. Does your cloud provider’s offering meet applicable industry and legal standards and requirements? Will your systems fully comply with your obligations while hosted in their cloud?
5. Data protection and disaster recovery?
Although built for ultra-high levels of resilience, cloud providers do occasionally experience failures – so what happens when they do? What are the backup and recovery mechanisms they have in place to protect your data? And how much of the recovery process will you need to perform yourselves?
6. Connectivity and networking?
Your existing infrastructure will have grown and evolved to meet the organisation’s needs – but will it interface properly with the new networking models of the cloud? Your team may need to re-skill or up-skill to make things work properly (and securely) – can the provider assist with these requirements too?
7. Strategy and planning?
The cloud is a hugely useful resource – but it may not be right for every application. Without the right (still quite rare skills) in-house, you may need expert assistance in identifying which applications should be migrated – and which should stay on-premise. Will your potential cloud provider help you map out and execute a strategy that works for your organisation?
8. Onboarding and deployment?
Proper cloud deployment is more than a simple lift-and-shift operation – otherwise, you fail to realise the full benefits of the hosted platform. As you evaluate services, don’t forget to ask whether your mission-critical applications will run natively – or if they will need to be refactored first. Also, ask about whether the provider includes any migration services and resources – and how long the migration will take to complete.
Your in-house SLAs will still apply, regardless of where your applications are hosted. You must be sure that your cloud provider can deliver the support coverage you need to keep systems up and running. If they are not available as standard, how much extra will they cost?
The pay-as-you-use billing model is very useful – and also incredibly complex. You need to be clear about the pricing variables involved with each cloud service – and how they relate to your application usage. You should also ask about any variability in pricing – and whether there is a facility to view real-time and historical use.
Take your time
Cloud services are incredibly easy to adopt – but don’t let that simplicity prevent you from completing your due diligence. All ten of the factors outlined here could have profound implications for your deployments – so it pays to get them sorted out in advance.
To learn more about cloud adoption and what your business should be looking for from a cloud platform provider, please give the WTL team a call – we’re always happy to help.