What Is The Key Criterion For Selecting A Cloud Service Provider?
Cloud computing has matured enough for a lot of people that jumping on it is no longer scary. The technology has also advanced enough that even data conversion and migration are no longer considered as daunting, just a little annoying. Because of this new influx of prospective clients, many cloud service providers are popping out every day. But the problem is that not all of them are the first-hand owners of a cloud infrastructure. Most of them are actually just “re-branders” or “white-label brands”. This means that they are only partnered with a bigger provider which owns the infrastructure and these smaller providers connecting to it are merely distributors, simple middlemen with customized services.
Normally this is not a problem, but since they are all connected to a bigger infrastructure provider, when it goes down, all “middlemen” go down with it. Because of this, the main selection criteria that one should look at when comparing cloud providers are not security, privacy, or data integrity—all of these are a given with cloud computing service providers, and chances are most of them have the same policies regarding these issues.
The key criterion that one should look at are Service Level Agreements (SLAs). These are the write-ups that outline what services are being provided and how much of it a customer gets. Probably all cloud service providers have SLAs, but most of these SLAs were written to protect the vendors as opposed to being customer-centric. That has to change, and customers have to demand more with regard to service and the assurance of it because not all users of cloud computing are actually getting the savings that are being promised by the technology itself. Vendors are already taking notice that more and more clients are checking out and comparing SLAs rather than just simple service customization and the related costs.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).