The Five Keys to Choosing a Cloud Provider
March 14th, 2012

 By Moises Navarro Marin

I have always advocated that the cloud model brings good news. The benefits to those who consume cloud services are substantial. It has the agility, flexibility, even the power to access capabilities and resources that were previously prohibitive or unreachable…
When it comes to weighting the kind of analysis to be carried out by a user in order to choose a provider of cloud services, I believe that we also have good news: there is no reason why we should change the process of selection and decision-making that we have followed so far. Security issues as well as management of services are still as important as before.
Taking in account that we don't consume the same as before, or at least not in the same way, We have to ask ourselves the same questions over and over, and make sure that we have a response and that we are able to understand it in order to decide. What we must not do is assume that because it's cloud computing anything goes ( "ah, if it wasn’t a cloud service, I wouldn’t admit a misplacement of my data, but since it is a could service… I will have to live with it … “).

"Before" refers to when we only had three options. The option to build it myself (I buy my own technology and I assemble it); the option to ask a third party to build something for me (development; integration of systems); or the option to ask a third party to do something for me (outsourcing of processes).
"Now" means that we have included a fourth option: administering a capacity (infrastructure, software, process…) in mode of self-service and pay-per-use (cloud computing). In this process, the lender will do things for me, but what I’ll get through that service (in most cases) is a tool that I'll use one way or another, and whose use I own … Therefore, what do we do when we consume other goods this way (when I buy a car; when I purchase a household appliance; … )? We tend to read the instructions, or specifications for use.

Thus, what would be the first requirement toward a provider of cloud services? That it should be very clear and transparent in regards to the contractual model, the responsibilities and commitments of one and another, as well as the terms of service.

Here, we include extremely important aspects to assessing the suitability of a service and your provider. For example, a clear description of Service Level Agreements (covering; the level offered, how you measure, who measures and what happens when you fail … ).

Another important aspect of cloud computing is to Indicate clearly the location of the data. Please, do not assume that cloud computing means you do not know where your data is. We must be able to know where all the data is. In return, this will be a key point in order to achieve transparency.

And this transparency should cover many other aspects, all of them relevant and meaningful: what is the working model with third and subcontractors? Which information can I access in case of need (information on security mechanisms that protect me; information on system usage and incident … )? How can I take care of: Issues on security? Continuity of processes? Legal coverage or mechanisms that help to meet certain legal requirements; etc?

Trust and Sustainability

As you can see, the lender must reflect many issue in the contract (because, let's not forget in cloud computing there are also contracts, and they must be read and assessed), and the lender must be clear, and that's going to help me feel safe…I may not be in complete agreement with the contract, but the description of the services should be clear, what it will provide, which things I must do and which things I’m going to be responsible for.
And that clarity and transparency will help you have greater confidence in the service and in the provider. I think that the second requirement toward a service provider cloud is that i will inspire a confidence to the chord that i deposit in the. We must balance what we expect from the service, what we  paid for it, and what is critical for you… but as is often the case that usually there is always data and processes that, to a greater or lesser extent, are having an impact on our business, an obvious requirement toward the provider is to "inspire me confidence".

Confidence in the quality of the service, in which the provider must meet expectations, in which they are to abide by the terms of the agreement, that in which the provider will not unilaterally change from day to night the terms and conditions, in that the provider will not close the company and I find myself without service and with my data outside of my control ...

This is not science fiction: there have been cases.

The saying goes that "a sweet always satisfies de sourest of people". When it comes to consuming cloud services, where we are trying to figure out "our stuff" and those things that are important to us, a dose of affection is always appreciated, and almost expected.

Feeling heard and understood has significant value for many users; knowing that if something happens, someone will be there to assist them.  It is always desirable to be attended on your native language (yes, many people appreciated that). And if it’s a fast and operative service, much the better.

Therefore, it is appropriate to assess well the kind of after sales support that I am going to receive.

All these previous questions lead us toward a state of mind in which we feel comfortable with the cloud services that a particular provider may provide. I feel secure by turning this over to this provider my data, my processes, my digital reality.

And there is a need to maintain this demand in mind, knowing that there is a relationship formalized through a contract that is clear, knowing that my partner is not going to do things that I do not want to with my data, knowing that my friend is solvent and sustainable, and also providing different techniques which will further strengthen this peace of mind that I am looking for. For example, that I am not going to be persuaded to change to another provider, or that my data will not be saved without my consent.

It should be noted that the European Commission is working to ensure that Europe is not just "cloud friendly" but also "cloud active", and between their different lines of work, exists the task to promote tranquility among users of cloud services, with initiatives such as the "right to be forgotten".

Finally, what more could we ask a cloud services provider? Well, at this point, I managed to trust the provider and enjoy what they have to offer. What would be the next step? I believe that what I expect of a cloud services provider is that it surprised me with ideas, features, and emotions according to our digital lifestyle.

We live in a digital age (talk about 'digital natives'), where Internet is part of our lives, where technology and intelligent devices also have crept into our vital reality … Our cloud services provider must be integrated in that reality and its dynamism, and must create, provide and explore new ideas. In return, this will give me more confidence to choose the appropriate provider.

Someone may think: "These 5 things to keep in mind in order to choose a cloud provider are the same as I had in mind for other services". True! And why wouldn’t it be that way? The cloud model allows us to makes new things or do things differently, but does not pose a headache to the user.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that with cloud nothing is the same, and that what we knew and thought before does not apply in this situation.
April 20th, 2013 5:37 am
These pieces really set a stnaadrd in the industry.
April 20th, 2013 7:24 am
Thank you explaining cloud comutping. I've used Outlook Exchange for awhile now, but I have recently started looking into applications based in the cloud, like Evernote. When it comes time for me to purchase an EMR/EHR, I will definitely need to look hard at those that are cloud based.
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