How to select your cloud service provider
The growth of cloud-based IT services was already well established long before the current Covid crisis accelerated the whole process. With companies large and small moving to extensive remote working, selecting the right cloud IT service provider has become critical to your long-term success. None of us can now do without a secure, reliable and flexible IT infrastructure.
However, the current market is huge just in the UK without considering a whole host of international suppliers. So, with a myriad of providers offering an even larger number of services how do you choose? There are several well known household names such Microsoft, Amazon and Google in the mix together with smaller niche companies offering customised and bespoke services. This is where Anywhere Technologies sits in the market.
Our overarching principle is that one size does not fit all. We have listed below the areas which we consider to be the most important in the selection process. There will be other factors but these are the core to selecting the right cloud service provider for your organisation.
What are you looking for from a cloud service provider?
An obvious starting point, but one that should not be rushed, is the specification of what cloud services you need. Specifying your IT requirements and minimum expectations of the cloud services will make assessing the various providers who are pitching for your business much more effective. Avoid comparing one against another, instead see how closely each comes to matching your own list.
Moving services to the cloud and migrating your IT will in itself be a significant project and requires a consultative approach from your vendor. Anywhere Technologies start with consultation, as experience has shown that the more work is done in investigating the pros and cons of the many routes available as well as specific customer needs, the better the end results.
Rushing the selection process is never a good idea and selecting options yourself is in reality a complex task that we feel must be done hand-in hand with the cloud provider. Knowing why a Cloud solution has been selected and ensuring there is no risk of omission due to the lack of full technical understanding, is at the core of a successful IT project.
Common elements for consideration
When selecting a cloud provider, your requirements and evaluation criteria will be unique to your organisation. Below we’ve listed some common areas we suggest you focus on during any service provider assessment.
Certifications & Standards
There are multiple standards and certifications available and we are registered to ISO 27001 through a UKAS Accredited body, demonstrating our continued commitment to maintaining the highest levels of data and information security.
There are other less formal measures to consider when you meet a possible vendor such as structured project processes, effective data management tools, good technical knowledge and service status visibility. Also understand how the provider plans to resource and support continuous improvement and maintain these standards.
We believe that as a cloud service provider we had to develop our own platform in order to guarantee the performance and service levels our customers have come to expect. That’s why we invested in a bespoke technology platform and UK sovereign data centre infrastructure. This allows us to set standards in controlling reliability, security and speed of access. We custom design each solution for each customer as we recognise that offering the same package to all shapes and sizes of business does not properly address individual requirements.
We provide the customisation in collaboration with your team. We don’t expect you to select a standard package and then modify it to your needs.
We offer support at every stage, including comprehensive migration services and assistance in the assessment and planning phases of your cloud project. This close teamwork-based support approach is essential unless you have a very large internal technical team as many large vendors will expect you to provide these elements yourself.
Technology itself is ever changing so knowing where your cloud requirements are heading and how they align with those of your supplier is also a key consideration. Where are they heading? Do their plans and developmental strategies align with yours? This is likely to be a long-term relationship so considering the future roadmap is as important as ensuring that your current needs are covered.
The location your data resides in, and the subsequent local laws it is subject to, may be a key part of the selection process. If you have a mainly UK-based business it makes sense to have your infrastructure and data management based in the UK. It may be a legal requirement for your industry. Cloud service providers should be transparent about their data centre locations and ours are UK sovereign based data centres.
Fortunately major data centre incidents are rare and the recent fire at the OVH data centre in Strasbourg puts into sharp focus the need to protect data with considered backup and recovery planning. You must understand any provider’s data loss and breach notification processes and ensure they are aligned with your organisation’s legal obligations. This is an area we feel strongly about and we feel it is our role to provide your data security as an end product, not simply to offer you the means to provide that security yourselves.
Teamwork & Partnerships
In our heavily interconnected world, excellent working partnerships with the key vendors is essential. Our team is accredited by the leading UK and International vendors and so have an in-depth knowledge of the tools you will be deploying and how they can be optimised for your organisation’s requirement. We have top accreditation levels, technical capabilities and staff certifications plus we continuously train our team on all new product releases.
Service level agreements
We believe in an open and clear relationship with our customers and we will work with you to define the Service Level Agreement you require. In many organisations there is a need for a 100% uptime guarantee particularly in sectors such as healthcare.
One of the key advantages of moving to a cloud based system is the ability to upscale and if necessary downscale your systems to meet your organisation’s needs, budget and changing circumstances. Our application architecture allows you to scale different workload elements independently meaning you can use your cloud resources more efficiently.
Everyone we think, now recognises that disasters do happen and so a significant part of our time is spent ensuring that when the unforeseen does occur, it does not lead to a business-critical outcome. It is our responsibility to ensure that the systems in place are effective, robust and secure and will protect your business and your data when the need arises. This includes both physical events as well as system security.
Anywhere Technologies aim to give you the best cloud experience of any UK cloud provider.
We understand that our customers are working hard to deliver a better experience for their customers. Many of them depend on the technology we provide to help save lives or deliver other essential services. We understand the need to provide access to critical data and aim to make it always available and always secure.
We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your next cloud based IT project, so please drop us a line for an initial discussion.