Five Questions to Ask Before Investing in a Cloud Service

October 6, 2014   //   Cloud, , , ,

In the ever growing world of cloud services, it can be very difficult to figure out which cloud vendor is right for your organization. While some vendors might try to tell you otherwise, there are a number of different factors that need to be considered before investing in a cloud service. Read my blog on the top five questions you should ask before picking a cloud service to learn more.

At SWC, we have vast technical experience installing and managing a range of servers and applications and have the knowledge to help you determine which cloud service is best for your organization. The first step is to understand your requirements and then design the right approach. We work with a variety of today’s market leading cloud vendors who possess many different features and focus areas and can help you understand the cloud marketplace and find the right vendor or vendors for your organization.

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Here are five of the most common questions you should consider before investing in a cloud service:

  1. What do you need the cloud service to do? Many organizations are feeling the pressure to go into the cloud, even if they aren’t sure what the benefit might be. The cloud is a wonderful tool, but it is still a tool and it is important to think in terms of how the cloud can improve your organization instead of how your organization can get into the cloud quickly. If you are unsure how to get started, SWC can work with you to evaluate your environment and architect a clear, pragmatic and successful path to the cloud, making sure you get the best cloud experience possible.
  2. What is the full cost of the service? One of the major benefits of many cloud services is that you only pay for what you use, but this flexibility can also lead to several unexpected charges. For example, two of the most popular cloud services – Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services charge not just for the compute and storage space being used but also for the amount of data transferred across the Internet and the amount of storage transactions (I/O) being performed. The cloud could be very costly for your organization if you don’t know which features are included and which features you have to pay for.
  3. What level of support and SLAs are offered? Each cloud service offers different support and SLA options and with many vendors you have to pay extra for full support. One of the best benefits of a cloud service is that someone else has to worry about your hardware and uptime, so make sure that when there is a problem you have someone ready and waiting to resolve the outage and get you back online quickly.
  4. How easy is it to get your data into and out of the cloud? When setting up a cloud service, you may have a lot of data that needs to be imported to get you up and running. Many cloud services have tools where you can send them hard drives or do batch imports of data through special tools. Before picking a vendor, see if they have a tool that will fit your needs so that you don’t have to manually recreate all of your data to get it into the cloud.

Alternatively, cloud services are constantly changing and at some point you may find that there is a better service available or that you need to bring your data back onsite. In that situation, does the cloud vendor have a good method for getting your data back to you in a usable manner? Some vendors try to lock you into their service by making data exports difficult. Make sure to investigate what steps are required to get data out of the system before choosing a cloud vendor.

Do you need to consider any legal compliance considerations? Security in the cloud is a very common question and a topic we will address in subsequent blog posts. Many cloud services are certified compliant against common security standards (ISO, SOC, PCI, etc.), but if your organization requires these certifications it is important to verify that with the cloud vendor.

As you can see there are many different aspects to consider when moving to the cloud and SWC can help you find a cloud solution that is right for your business. To learn more, please contact us.

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