Cloud 101: What to Look for in a Cloud Provider

By Brian Norman, Director of Technical Solutions and Infrastructure Services

Mar 18, 2020 9:33:26 AM

About 4 minutes

The cloud market is crowded and difficult to navigate. Large cloud providers continuously vie for market dominance. Synergy Research Group found that in the first half of 2019, cloud vendor revenue exceeded $150 billion. Amazon, Microsoft, and Google captured the lion’s share of the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) markets.

But which of these cloud providers is right for your company? Other providers are available that can mediate between your company and the cloud giants and offer personalized service.

When choosing a cloud provider, companies need to find one that can align the cloud skills, services, and models it provides with its customers’ business goals. The service level agreement (SLA) should guarantee the performance, security, and cost requirements your business needs.

The Right Cloud Skills Set

Before selecting a cloud provider, your company should outline its business goals and decide which cloud services and models will help you meet them. The ideal cloud provider will work closely with you to help develop a cloud strategy that works for your business.

Not every cloud provider has strengths in the same areas. Your company will want to go with a provider that specializes in the skills and offerings that make sense for your business strategy.

According to the 2019 State of the Cloud Report, the “fastest-growing” PaaS offerings are machine learning, containers-as-a-service, and the internet of things (IoT). Machine learning was the top choice, with 48% of respondents indicating they are either trying it out or including it as part of their future initiatives. If your business is thinking of branching out into one of these areas, look for a cloud provider that has a successful track record in the specialization.

Staying Safe in the Cloud

Long gone are the days when the cloud was considered unsafe. Now many companies rely on the cloud for data protection and security. However, your company needs to ensure that your provider will be accountable for data security and compliance.

An ideal cloud provider will offer both virtual and physical security measures to protect company resources that are stored or hosted in the cloud.

The SLA should outline what security measures the provider will be responsible for. If your company is in a highly regulated industry, you should look for a cloud provider that has experience with companies in this industry and has certifications guaranteeing that it meets industry compliance.

Optimizing Performance in the Cloud

To keep the process of digital transformation going, companies need to partner with cloud providers that can deliver optimum performance and seamless availability. Today’s cognitive analytics applications demand high-performance speeds and ultra-low latency rates from the platforms they run on. The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Index 2019 found that 37.9% of companies felt latency rates were an important factor in cloud adoption because of the importance of using real-time data.

A cloud provider should also offer high levels of availability. The current always-on culture requires at least 99.999% availability. Check a potential cloud provider’s SLA for the guaranteed level of availability, as well as the amount of scheduled downtime you can expect.

A Partner Made in the Cloud

Finding the right cloud provider means building a relationship based on trust and compatibility. When your company chooses a cloud vendor that meets its requirements, this relationship could last a long time.

ProActive offers a variety of cloud services and models that enable our customers to cut costs while gaining scalability, security, and data protection. We partner with leaders in cloud computing, such as Ensono, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure.

We can also help your company move data and applications to the cloud with our migration services and design a custom cloud solution to transform your data center.

Could ProActive be the right cloud provider for your business? Read testimonials from satisfied ProActive clients.

Tags: cloud provider, Cloud computing, PaaS, cloud vendor, IaaS