Small businesses have become increasingly dependent upon cloud services for infrastructure support, networking, software delivery, servers, and data storage. Externalizing these essential IT requirements to the Cloud has allowed many companies to realize significant efficiency gains in managing their IT environments while proving to be a critical factor in ensuring their long-term success.
As more and more businesses benefit from cloud computing capabilities, the market has grown saturated with cloud service providers (CSPs). In fact, the cloud supplier industry has become so vast that deciding on the right cloud solution can be a major source of confusion for many small business owners. As you start your research, you will invariably encounter a myriad of providers, from enterprise-level players like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft to niche vendors who offer highly customized, client-specific cloud solutions.
So how do you decide if a cloud provider is right for your business? Ultimately, only you can make this determination since the service procurement process depends upon the unique IT requirements of your company. We can, however, take a look at several key factors that go into establishing a quality CSP and why you should weigh these considerations heavily before making a final decision.
How to start transitioning to the Cloud
As mentioned, business owners often find themselves challenged to identify a suitable CSP, owing to the plethora of market choices -and no two are alike. The first step in the selection process is ensuring you understand your specific business IT requirements. While this might seem intuitive, listing out your needs before engaging potential service providers ensures that you are not wasting valuable time or, worse, falling into the persuasion of a CSP that ultimately fails to meet your objectives.
Once you completely understand what you want from your cloud service, you can begin shortlisting IT service companies that can start working on your behalf right away. At this stage, your technical service and data governance requirements should be clear, allowing you to enter into productive negotiations with a select pool of prospective cloud suppliers.
Keep in mind, as well, that any potential cloud environment you choose will determine your requisite configurations. Therefore, in large part, selecting the right CSP means you have to apprehend how much effort will be needed from your team to finish the entire migration process and to what extent the CSP can assist you in completing the implementation. Reputable service providers will work with your IT staff throughout each phase, assessing and preparing your business processes for migration to the Cloud.
Selecting a cloud service provider
Once you are clear on your requirements and have evaluated your unique business criteria, you can start focusing on procuring a CSP. As you assess potential cloud services, several key areas will help you compare suppliers and select a company that brings the most value to your organization. They are as follows:
- CSP quality standards and certifications
- Platform technical capabilities
- Vendor relationships and dependencies
- Data governance and security
- Service delivery and business terms (SLAs)
- Cloud architecture and maintenance plans
- CSP company health and profile
- Guaranteed legal protections
CSP track record for performance and dependability
This list accounts for both hard and soft factors that, together, should play a significant role in your evaluation. Some companies might display impressive certifications and high service standards but lack positive customer testimonials. Validating every possible factor that could determine the outcome of a potential partnership is, therefore, crucial.
Ideally, you want your CSP to be there over the long term. At the same time, finding yourself locked into proprietary technologies can create substantial obstacles when it comes time to develop an effective exit strategy. Outlining clear terms in your SLA is the best approach to easing potential pain points in the future while ensuring that any services you ultimately contract are delivered according to the agreed-upon expectations.
Evaluating cloud service provider cost factors
Pricing will ultimately determine whether or not you move forward with a given cloud supplier. Cost is a factor in any business decision, and the situation is no different during the CSP selection process. And while low-cost cloud service providers are appealing at the outset, you will quickly learn the services that they offer are less than optimal. On that same line, your requirements may not necessitate the most expensive cloud solution either.
Companies have diverse needs, so a CSP that can adapt to the specific services you require without lock-in periods is ideal. Be sure to inquire about special offers, free trial periods, and refund policies, just in case the arrangement doesn’t pan out. Prepare to position yourself to get out of the service quickly without assuming a significant financial loss.
Discuss different billing models with the supplier and determine their various cost benefits, if any. Will the CSP discount annual billings? Does the cloud provider offer pay-as-you-go options? With regard to benefits and pricing, quick scaling and adjustable bandwidth are similarly important factors.
Choose PCH Technologies as your cloud service provider
We understand the decision to switch to the Cloud is a difficult one. You don’t want to risk exposing your valuable business data held on a public cloud to malicious actors. Our robust security suite protects your information from cyberattacks while ensuring that your preferred cloud solution is suitable for your organization.
For more on how our premium IT services in South Florida can benefit your enterprise, contact one of our cloud service specialists at (844) 754-7500 or complete our online contact form now.
Our Florida Office
As of 2022, PCH Technologies has opened up a new location in Fort Lauderdale, FL in order to serve the South Florida Market. This expansion into the South Florida market aligns strategically with our plans to continue to grow a national presence as a managed service provider (MSP).
The growing South Florida region includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm, creating an opportunity for PCH to fulfill the expanding needs of the market.