There’s a misconception that all cloud services providers are the same. This could not be further from the truth, as like any industry there are good providers and there are bad providers.
For businesses less acquainted with cloud technology, it can be difficult to differentiate the two – especially as there are many bad providers who talk a good game, yet fall short when delivering on service further down the line.
So how can you tell the good from the bad? When meeting with a prospective cloud services provider, there are a number of key questions you should ask. Those who fail to answer ‘yes’ to these questions are probably best avoided. These questions are:
1. Can you provide proven case studies and testimonials? Not just in my immediate area of business, but multiple examples of successful customer service across your entire portfolio?
2. Do you own the end-to-end service delivery infrastructure? Including the switchgear & routers at your major points of presence, application platforms, round the clock support system and data centre facilities?
3. Are you able to provide evidence of a pioneering track record – covering data, voice and network – and lay claim to any notable industry firsts?
4. Do you provide a bespoke network design and planning service as standard?
5. What is your standard network core? Is it MPLS based as opposed to VPLS? Is it multi-meshed to ensure self-healing? Do you own your design IP? Is it a composite of multiple Tier 1 carriers?
6. Is your support operation manned 24/7/365 by expert engineers? Is it owned by you, UK based and ITIL accredited? Is it a single point for all service areas including network, data and voice?
7. Once connected to your network ring to construct our WAN, can you then layer a complete suite of Cloud services at a pace to suit us?
8. Can you provide the following as an integrated service?
- Calls and lines
- SIP Trunks
- Cloud services
- Unified communications
- Data centre hosting
- Data storage, backup and replication
9. Do you comply to the following standards?
- IgSoC (Information Governance Statement of Compliance)
- ITIL Framework (Information Technology Infrastructure Library)
- ISO 27001
- ISO 9001
10. Are your application platforms replicated and geographically dispersed to ensure resilience?
11. Have you invested in live, staging and test platforms for all your key application platforms to ensure software upgrades are implemented without risking my business operation?
12. Can you ensure that I’ll be speaking with the same management team from day-to-day, year-on-year? How experienced is your management team?
13. Can you offer assurances that you never walk away from a problem, no matter how severe?
14. Can I visit your premises, inspect your data centre facilities and meet the managers and staff responsible for managing my data and services?
15. Can you provide us with status reports for key metrics and let me have access to an analytics portal?
While by no means exhaustive, this list of questions provides a good starting point when scoping prospective cloud service providers. If a provider can answer these questions with confidence, and prove their ongoing commitments to service, security and people, you’re halfway there.