7 Red Flags When Considering a Cloud Services Provider

Choosing the right service provider is absolutely essential when migrating to the cloud. Here are seven service-provider red flags to watch out for.

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Image by Tim Green

1. The service provider’s data centre is a room adjoining the sales office, with cooling provided by a window air conditioner.

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a tad here, but ideally your service provider’s cloud infrastructure would be hosted in a Tier 4 Data Centre equipped with the highest certification levels, access security, redundant power supplies, diverse Internet backbone connectivity, and sophisticated fire suppression and climate control systems.

2. The provider’s idea of real-time network monitoring is 1x1x1, not 24x7x365.

Your enterprise-grade cloud should come with around-the-clock network availability and monitoring and access to advanced technical support.

3. When you ask the sales rep about data security in the cloud, he tells you, “Don’t worry: what happens in the cloud stays in the cloud.”

When it comes to security, you cannot take the sales rep’s word for it! Has the service provider secured the virtual infrastructure itself? Are the cloud and supporting infrastructure audited and certified to the strict standards of PCI-DSS and HIPAA?

4. Company sales policy requires money up-front – and “No refunds!”

You want a provider who will present you with a detailed service schedule, clearly defined levels of customer support and binding service-level agreements.

5. The provider’s lead product offering is “Bestefforts cloud for all your enterprise needs.”

You need a cloud services provider with a robust cloud infrastructure that comprises “best of breed” technology, managed and scaled for growing demand for computer and network resources.

6. The provider doesn’t offer a public cloud solution because of perceptions of “public transit.”

Sure, there are providers out there that offer mass-market public clouds – low, low pay-per-use pricing models – but that lack any form of SLA. There’s a difference between those “public” clouds and what I call “enterprise-grade, multi-tenant” clouds. The latter providers have stringent SLAs for performance and availability and can openly and honestly address customer concerns about the security, privacy and handling of the data stored on the cloud.

7. You run a trace route from your network to the provider’s cloud, and the resulting path looks like a travel itinerary for The Amazing Race.

This speaks not only to the need to ensure good, direct connectivity to your provider’s cloud, but also to issues of data privacy and protection. Does the jurisdiction where the cloud is hosted have laws in place that govern the handling of personal information? Can government agencies get access to or seize data hosted on the cloud without due process? Who actually owns the data stored on the provider’s cloud, and is that spelled out in the provider’s contract? The truth might surprise you.

Have you experienced any red-flag cloud provider moments? Please share your experiences, questions and comments below.


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