There is no longer any doubt – cloud hosting is the future of IT. 95% of surveyed IT professionals report using cloud services in their company, and most of these users are leveraging as many as 6 separate cloud systems across public, private, and hybridized cloud implementations.
The cloud is here to stay – and your business needs to take note. However, it can be difficult to choose a great cloud hosting company. The cloud computing industry is predicted to hit a $140 billion market cap in 2020 – and huge numbers of cloud hosting startups are springing up, poised to take advantage of this growth.
The problem is that not all of these cloud hosting companies are equal – some provide great service at a low cost, while others may fail to deliver on their promises of flexible computing, product support, and uptime.
To help you distinguish between the two, we’ve put together a list of the top 5 things you should look for in any cloud hosting company. If your prospective partner meets all of these conditions, you’re probably looking at a great hosting service – and you can move forward with confidence into the brave new world of cloud computing.
Usage-Based Billing – You Only Pay For What You Use
Usage-based billing is the primary advantage to using a cloud hosting service – you can avoid the cost of buying and maintaining your own infrastructure, purchasing unused licenses, and many other costs associated with private, on-premises IT infrastructure. Instead, you only pay for the computing power, cloud storage, and features that you use – reducing cost, and increasing flexibility.
If you’re looking at a potential cloud hosting partner, you should ensure that their fee structure reflects these advantages. You should only ever be paying based on what you use – additional fees and upfront implementation costs may be a sign that you’re not dealing with a great partner.
You should also be able to add services to your cloud package as needed – including additional storage, computing power, or software packages. This will allow you to have increased flexibility during times of corporate growth, and maximize your cloud hosting ROI.
Robust Security Measures
Security is paramount in cloud computing. While most cloud platforms are very secure, data breaches can be extremely expensive – according to IBM, the cost of an average data breach totals at $3.8 million. Because of the high costs of data loss, great security should be a high priority on your list – even if you have to spend a little more to get the protection you need.
Each and every cloud hosting company you’re considering should provide protections including:
- Data encryption
- Multi-factor user authentication
- Regular security audits
- Virus detection
- Regular data backups
- Routine maintenance and patching for security vulnerabilities
You should also be aware of how your prospective partner stores your data. Will they have access to it? If so, do they take precautions such as background checks to ensure their employees are all trustworthy? These kinds of questions are invaluable when determining the overall safety of your data – and the legitimacy of a potential cloud hosting partner.
24/7 Customer Support
If a cloud hosting company doesn’t offer 24/7 customer support, 365 days a year, walk away from the negotiation table. Yes, it’s that important.
Your data is the most valuable asset that your company possesses, and any legitimate partner should understand that, and offer comprehensive, proactive, readily-available customer support technicians who can help you in case you encounter issues with your cloud networking service.
You shouldn’t just look for 24/7 support, though. You should also ask about average case resolution and response times, the overall knowledge levels of the support staff (are they cloud technicians? Or are they just call-center employees?), and the methods by which you can contact support staff in case of an emergency.
Once you choose a cloud hosting company as your partner, you’re going to have a more difficult time switching cloud providers in the future. Because of this, you’re going to want to select a cloud hosting service that can offer plenty of scalability to your company.
Even if your company only has 40 employees, you should ensure that your cloud hosting partner can handle 400 – or 4,000 users, and can offer you increased storage capacity, more computing power, and the additional cloud-based applications and services that will be required as your business continues to grow over the years.
In addition, the process of scaling your services should be cost-effective, simple, and easy – with the best Vancouver cloud hosting company, it’s as simple as hitting a button on your administrator panel, or calling up your sales representative to request more capacity.
Clear Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
You should never enter into a partnership with a cloud hosting company that won’t give you an SLA. Service Level Agreements are binding documents that set forth guidelines for the quality of service you can expect, maximum allowable downtime, support staff availability, maintenance and patching services, and much more.
Essentially, this document provides you with an expected level of service from your cloud hosting provider – and sets forth the actions that can be taken by your company, in case your service provider fails to uphold their end of the contract.
Implemented correctly, an SLA is a useful document for both parties. If a customer fails in their payment obligations, the hosting company can take legal action to remedy the situation – and if the hosting company fails in their delivery of service or support, the customer can take legal action.
If a prospective cloud hosting company does not have a comprehensive, binding SLA for you to sign – or lacks an SLA altogether, you should walk away from the bargaining table immediately. They’re not a legitimate company, and should be avoided at all costs.
Follow These Guidelines – And Make Your Cloud Hosting Implementation, A Success
Whether you’re looking to migrate your data to the cloud from a physical, on-premises IT infrastructure, or simply seeking some tips on finding a new cloud services provider, the advice we’ve given above is certain to help you find an awesome cloud hosting company to partner with.
So don’t miss out on the benefits that cloud computing has to offer. Use this guide to find an exceptional cloud partner, and enjoy the lower IT costs, easy scalability, and the secure, safely backed-up data structures that modern cloud hosting companies can provide.