6 key questions you should ask yourself and the cloud service provider you are engaged with

Cloud...

Maybe the most spoken word today in tech companies, banks, contact centers and people around the world.

It is a term that unites the whole globe around when the company will join the cloud era, either as a cloud service provider, or as a consumer.

Needless to say, there are millions of articles on the cloud, searching in google will probably get you confused, so where should you start?

How can you know if the cloud fits your organization? Which aspects you should focus on? What are the questions you need to ask yourself and the cloud service provider you are engage with?

I’ll try to make some order here, based on real world experience, discussions with customers, sales people, architects, cloud services organizations and more.

Questions 1:

Ask yourself: What is the business goal to move to the cloud?

What should you know about cloud service providers.jpg I heard several times in conference calls “our CTO wants us to also pursue the cloud option”. However, when I asked what is the business goal here, answers were vague, and therefore you need to be very clear prior to getting to such a discussion around the business goal. Do you want to move to the cloud since you’d like to move to OPEX finance model vs. CAPEX, as lots of other companies? Or maybe it is a completely different reason? (Look for my next blog for the list of benefits for organization that moves to the cloud)

Your end goal must be specified first...

Questions 2:

Ask yourself: Do I want to move to private or public cloud?

Private or public cloud: which one to choose.jpgThis is a real decision that you should take based on the solutions you need to deploy, their capabilities, and your organizational needs for compliance regulations.

As for compliance, there are many regulations and we can cover it on a different blog, however note that most cloud options today, at least the ones that you would want to engage with, stand in the most strict regulations and processes that are cloud related, such as SOC2, ISO27001 and more.

There are Enterprise solutions that are deployed on private cloud, providing software as a service for any scale, and there are also such which are deployed as a pure cloud offering, based on public cloud micro services.

The reasons you might take one vs. the other might be if you already have the specific Enterprise solution deployed on premise and want to easily migrate to the cloud with the same solution, then using the private cloud (can be hosted either in Collo’s or as IaaS on public cloud).

However, if you start from scratch or like to make a change, then it might fit to take the pure cloud solutions with the benefits resides within it as well.

Question 3:

Ask yourself: How can I make sure that my data and privacy will be protected?

Can you trust your cloud service providers.jpgThis is probably the most significant question that your organization will focus (besides pricing) while understanding the security standards, risk management, change control processes etc. in any organization that will want to host the specific solution in the cloud.

For making sure your mind is set, you should have a detailed list of questions that will be presented either in the RFP / RFI stage, F2F discussions, or conference calls.

If the security standards will not be such that you can live with, it means that either the cloud service provider needs to make the extra mile for meeting it, or look elsewhere...

Question 4:

What are my guarantees for the availability of the solution?

How to choose a cloud service provider?First, you should make sure that in the contract there will be a very detailed SLA for the solution (for example, 99.9% availability)

Second, you should understand how the cloud vendor infrastructure is built to support resiliency and high availability, and if this really provides assurance in cases or physical servers crashes, storage issues, network, power outages and so on.

Third, assume the worse and ask if there is a disaster recovery data center for making sure the solution will be available even after a complete failure of the cloud data center, including details on the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO).

Question 5:

Can I count on the vendor that will supply the solution and the cloud service?

Which cloud service provider is the best for your businessHere we need to differentiate between several terms:

  1. Public cloud vendors that provides the infrastructure and platform yet do not have cloud services organization to support your solution.
  2. Cloud service providers that specialized in hosting the specific solutions and provide a full cloud services organization around it.

If you want to move into the cloud and the solution that you need is already available in the cloud offering of the vendor, than this needs to be taken into consideration mainly due to the fact the best one to support and maintain the solution is the company that created it, and this is always true, especially when you think on upgrades, new capabilities, monitoring, security best practices and more.

Question 6:

Will it be better than the current on premise situation?

How to choose the right cloud service for your business The short answer, probably yes.

The longer answer will be specified in my next blog on the benefits companies gain when moving to the cloud.

I do hope you got insights from this blog and invite you to learn more on our cloud offering: http://www.nice.com/engage/hosted-cloud-solutions

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