5 tips for choosing an enterprise cloud services provider

5 tips for choosing an enterprise cloud services provider

While the trend toward cloud services shows no sign of abating, cloud platform adoption on an enterprise scale remains challenging. In a recent Crowd Research Partners survey on the use of cloud services, 45 percent of organizations had general security concerns, 41 percent were worried about data loss, 32 percent were reluctant to lose control, and 29 percent cited legal and regulatory compliance issues.

Given these concerns, spinning up a world-class enterprise cloud service is not always something you should leave to an internal IT department. If you don’t have expertise in cloud-based services and platforms, finding a cloud aggregator or cloud service provider with a good record and talent for innovating is key. As you look to bring on a cloud service partner, here are five criteria to keep in mind.

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1. Find a partner you trust

A 2012 Lieberman Software survey found that 86 percent of IT professionals chose to keep their most sensitive data on premises rather than in the cloud, and 88 percent believed that some of their cloud-hosted data could be lost, corrupted, or accessed by unauthorized individuals. That perception has to change.

To ensure your data is in safe hands, look for a partner with a strong framework around security and data sovereignty. It’s vital to find a cloud provider with deep domain expertise and a proven ability to execute. Look for a differentiated portfolio, one that shows a depth and breadth of capabilities. An organization with a long-term vision and a clear, tightly integrated roadmap and release plan can assuage security concerns.

2. Go with a tightly integrated and dispersed platform

Your provider should have a solid track record when it comes to release stability, because you want the latest releases working in your environment quickly, without any disruption to the business. Ideally, there should be a balance between location and compute workload. Good global coverage can spread compute loads closer to where users are actually located. Avoid centralized, single-location offerings.

3. Consider economies of scale

One of the major advantages of using cloud service aggregators and brokers is that they can take advantage of economies of scale. It would be far more expensive for you to deliver the same services internally. According to OilPro, the cost of network access for a typical data center with 1,000 servers is $95/Mbps/month, whereas for cloud data centers, it’s around $13/Mbps/month. That’s a staggering 7-to-1 ratio.

4. Look for standardized services

A cloud provider's capabilities should be standardized across the board to provide clarity and make it easier to understand what’s on offer. The cost to deliver standardized cloud-based industrialized services is 40 percent lower than with ad hoc models. With standardization, there's a higher level of reuse, and bundles can help to simplify feature complexity while retaining the flexibility you need to get the right outcome. 

5. Retain flexibility

The cloud services market is still evolving and has many competitors, so don’t get locked into a single-partner framework. One advantage of cloud-based services is that they offer an easier and faster transition from one platform to the next. You can also adopt platforms that integrate into alliance partner services. It may not be convenient, but an open policy and balanced ecosystem of partners will give you the agility you need to continually differentiate and grow your business.

MarketsandMarkets projects that the bring-your-own-device and enterprise mobility market will jump from $72 billion in 2013 to $266 billion by 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 25 percent. When you have such a disruptive growth rate, you can expect the market to shift, meaning you need some flexibility to capitalize on that.

The right partner can help you take advantage of economies of scale, deliver a robust, dispersed platform that’s reliable and innovative, and offer options so you can pick the package that works for your specific business needs. Above all, safeguard your flexibility going forward so you can adopt emerging technologies, innovate, and differentiate your business.