With strong security, reliable speed, infinite expansion capabilities and incredible power, cloud computing offers an effective business solution that provides reliable, powerful and intuitive administration.
However, all cloud hosting providers are not created equal. Business should evaluate many factors before choosing a cloud or colocation service provider, including services offered, maximum data support, storage capabilities, security, user friendliness and many more.
Depending on your business, there could be literally dozens of cloud hosting requirements you’ll need from a cloud hosting provider. However, there are several common features that a cloud hosting provider must have if they are to offer your business a successful and meaningful solution.
Types of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is defined as the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted online to store, manage and process data. Cloud computing is a broad umbrella term that encompasses many services, all of which fall under three major types of cloud hosting providers:
- Software as a Service, or SaaS, is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage and process data. SaaS providers deliver software solutions via their own servers to clients.
- Platform as a Service, or PaaS, is a distinct method of platform-based cloud computing that allows clients to develop and manage their own software and applications without building and maintaining the type of infrastructure required to develop and launch software.
- Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS, delivers data management infrastructure to clients. Businesses that use IaaS maintain many of their own programs, apps and processes, but implement them within the provider’s infrastructure, which is managed, maintained, repaired and upgraded by the provider.
The cloud hosting requirements for your business will depend on your organization’s needs and current structure. However, regardless of type, a cloud computing provider must offer the same security, support, ease of administration, storage capabilities and reliability. Jumpstart your cloud services selection process with a free Cloud Requirements Checklist Template.
Security and Customer Support
Security is arguably the most vital concern businesses face when choosing a cloud hosting provider. Because the cloud will presumably hold your business’s most sensitive and important data, your provider must offer powerful security. Ensure your provider utilizes firewalls, backup storage, antivirus software and encryption, as well as customizable permissions and security settings. Ensure your provider offers an accessible administrator control panel to ease communication with the provider’s tech support.
Depending on your industry, your business may also be subject to privacy and security regulations, certifications and restrictions, so choose a cloud hosting provider that offers the level of security you need.
Additionally, since cloud services are administered, managed and maintained by a third party, make sure the provider has excellent technical support and customer service. Ensure the provider is reachable, responds quickly and effectively and solves problems in a timely manner. This is a reflection of the service as a whole – if they respond to your concerns and issues, it is a good indicator that the provider maintains the system well.
Ease of Administration
Ensure that the cloud hosting provider offers an intuitive service that is easy to learn, understand and implement. If a powerful, secure platform isn’t easy to use, it will cost your business time, money and effort, negating many of the advantages of cloud-based platforms.
Backup, Storage and Retrieval
Cloud hosting providers must offer suitable data backup in case of emergency, corruption and other forms of data loss. Choose a cloud hosting provider with an extensive backup system. Data storage and ease of retrieval are vital components of a cloud hosting system. Without effective data storage, disposition, retrieval and access, cloud hosting isn’t a viable option.
A scalable cloud hosting platform will ensure that your business has the exact system capabilities it needs at all times. Look for a cloud hosting provider that offers flexibility in terms of storage, functionality, system expansion, system retraction and price based on business need. A good cloud hosting provider will allow clients to expand or minimize services as needed, resulting in an efficient and convenient scaling process.
The most important concern businesses face when selecting a cloud hosting provider is one of reliability. The system must be consistently capable, functional and operational. The most advanced, intuitive cloud hosting program will be essentially useless if it is not consistently usable and accessible.
There are several methods businesses can use to gauge reliability. Detailed industry reviews are invaluable, and reaching out within your network for recommendations may provide valuable insight. Of course, one of the best methods to determine reliability is to speak directly with a representative of the cloud hosting provider, so take advantage of any opportunity to meet with the provider.
Ensure your chosen provider offers affordable service options that meet your organization’s needs at a fair price. In other words, make sure the provider’s services and support are worth the price.
Cloud hosting providers should offer strong transitioning support as well, doing everything possible to ensure that your transition to a cloud-based platform is smooth and painless.
While these are non-negotiable elements of any effective cloud hosting provider, there are many other factors your business may want to consider when selecting a cloud hosting platform. Ultimately, cloud hosting providers must provide a secure, flexible and easy-to-use solution that meets or exceeds your organization’s needs.