Choosing the Right Managed Cloud Service Providers: Key Considerations and Tips

Cloud service providers

Choosing the Right Managed Cloud Service Providers: 8 Key Tips

Choosing the right cloud service provider is paramount to the long-term success of your business. With an ever-expanding market of cloud service providers offering a plethora of services, from industry giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Google to specialized niche players, the task of selecting the perfect service partner can be daunting. 

At Merit Technologies, we understand your concerns, and we’re here to guide you through the process. We’ll distill the key factors into a definitive list of eight consideration areas to help you make an informed decision that aligns with your unique needs.

When Should You Select Cloud Service Providers?

Before diving into the selection process, it’s crucial to understand your specific business needs. While it may sound obvious, clarifying your requirements and minimum expectations upfront puts everyone on the same page. 

This way, you can create a checklist of your needs, ensuring that you evaluate managed service providers based on your unique criteria rather than comparing them with each other. This approach helps you move swiftly from a long list to a short one.

Understanding your technical, service, security, data governance and service management requirements arms you with the knowledge to effectively assess potential cloud service providers. 

Moreover, when migrating applications and workloads to the cloud, the specific environments you select and the services offered by your chosen provider significantly influence the configurations, workload and help you receive during the migration process.

Ideally, you should choose your cloud service providers after identifying migration candidates and parallel analyzing and preparing these workloads for migration. 

Select Smart With These 8 Key Considerations

When selecting a cloud provider, the requirements and evaluation criteria may vary based on your organization’s unique needs. However, there are common areas of focus during any service provider assessment. We’ve grouped these into eight sections to help you make an informed choice that aligns with your organization’s expectations from the cloud.

1. Certifications and Standards

  • Providers adhering to recognized compliance standards and quality frameworks demonstrate industry best practices and standards. These can be valuable in shortlisting potential suppliers.
  • For instance, if security is a priority, seek suppliers with certifications like ISO 27001 or government cybersecurity accreditations.

2. Technologies and Service Roadmap

  • Ensure the provider’s platform and technologies align with your current environment and cloud objectives.
  • Investigate the provider’s service development roadmap to ensure it makes sense with your long-term needs and commitment to specific technologies or vendors.

3. Data Governance and Security

  •  Evaluate the location of your data, local laws and regulations it’s subject to, especially when sensitive data is involved.
  • Scrutinize the provider’s data management policies, encryption practices and data loss and breach notification processes. Are they up to date with the latest cyber security threats?

4. Service Dependencies and Partnerships

  • Assess the provider’s relationships with key vendors, technical capabilities and support for multivendor environments.
  • Understand the presence of subcontractors and dependencies in delivering the cloud service and their implications on SLAs and accountability.

5. Contracts, Commercials and SLAs

  • Carefully review contracts and SLAs to ensure they align with your requirements and policies.
  • Scrutinize service delivery, data policies, business terms, legal protections and service level agreements. Will they fulfill your organization’s needs? 

6. Reliability and Performance

  • Measure the provider’s reliability against their SLAs for the last six to12 months.
  • Evaluate their response to downtime, monitoring and reporting tools, and disaster recovery provisions.

7. Migration Support, Vendor Lock-in and Exit Planning

  • Avoid vendor lock-in by ensuring minimal use of proprietary technology and services that restrict migration.
  • Plan for a clear exit strategy before entering a contract, and understand data access and preservation policies.

8. Business Health and Company Profile

  • Assess the financial health and stability of potential providers.
  • Consider any past legal issues, mergers, acquisitions and the competitive position of the provider.

The Takeaway

When choosing managed cloud service providers, it’s essential to consider both hard and soft factors. Ensure your chosen provider aligns with industry certifications and standards while also assessing their reputation through case studies and testimonials. 

Think long-term to avoid vendor lock-in and have a clear exit strategy in place. Carefully review contracts, SLAs and performance to ensure your needs are met. 

By taking a holistic approach to these considerations, you’ll be well-equipped to select a cloud service provider that meets your organization’s unique requirements and expectations.At Merit Technologies, we’re here to help you make the right choice for your cloud services. Feel free to contact us or talk with an expert for guidance in this critical decision-making process. And, if you’re interested in any other IT consulting and strategy services, we can handle that, too.

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