Careful strategizing, vetting necessary to find optimal cloud services

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Jul 17, 2013 1:07:00 PM

Careful strategizing, vetting necessary to find optimal cloud services

By this point, cloud computing is no longer a questionable IT investment. The value inherent to cloud services is now well-established, and businesses are quickly coming to understand that failure to embrace the new technology can prove devastating as they hope to thrive in increasingly competitive industries.

What is less clear-cut, however, is how firms should go about the cloud services selection process. There are now numerous options available as different cloud vendors compete to satisfy businesses' ever-growing cloud demand. These vendors offer distinct services which can vary significantly, making it critical for firms to select the right partner when striving to achieve their unique objectives.

Writing for BizTechAfrica, Grant Vine, technical director at Cybervine IT solutions, recently emphasized that in order to find the ideal cloud partner, businesses need to carefully consider both their own needs and the quality of their various vendor options.

What you need
One of the biggest mistakes which businesses make when it comes to deploying the cloud is becoming too caught up in the hype and subsequently moving too quickly. This can lead to companies selecting cloud vendors that are less than satisfactory, and undermine the overall utility offered by the technology.

That is why Vine asserted that it is imperative for firms to exercise caution when moving to adopt cloud services. Before even considering competing vendors, he claimed, businesses need to look closely at their own operations, needs and goals.

"A complete evaluation of internally utilized products and services is required to gauge exactly what is appropriate to be run on a public cloud infrastructure," Vine wrote. "Re-evaluation of some services could result in a complete migration to cloud delivered solutions."

Without such careful consideration, Vine stated, businesses run the risk of investing in technological solutions which they will ultimately abandon. And while such missteps are not nearly as costly with the cloud as they are when it comes to legacy, on-premises solutions, there is still a major risk of inefficiencies which can hamper a firm's ability to excel in its sector.

Vetting needed
Once a firm has a clear notion of its own operations and how they can be improved with the use of cloud services, it is critical for the organization to closely consider the various competing cloud offerings.

Cost is an obvious issue in this regard. Vine noted that some vendors charge their clients for uploading or retrieving data from the cloud, while others do not. This does not mean that those firms which charge are automatically more expensive than their counterparts, but it is a factor which must be taken into account.

Because the technology and its affiliated costs change so frequently, Vine cautioned businesses against locking into long contracts with vendors. While many firms offer discounts for such long-term commitments, this discount may be offset by natural price reductions as new services and technologies come to the forefront.

Another issue that businesses must consider when choosing vendors, according to Vine, is cloud security. Different vendors have different policies in place both to prevent data breaches from occurring and to respond when such incidents do transpire. For example, Vine noted that some cloud vendors have policies  which shut down a business's access to cloud servers in the event that its system is compromised. While this will help to protect the vendor's other clients, it may significantly damaged the targeted business's productivity.

An organization that is security conscious needs to consider whether a given cloud services provider is able to meet its data protection needs.

Topics: Cloud Services