Do you know the really important factors for choosing your private cloud provider?

Although private cloud providers have been present and competitive in Israel for several years, and their virtualized services have proven themselves to be money-savers, to date fewer than half the businesses and organizations in Israel have moved over to cloud services[1]. The trend does have momentum, but the numbers are low when compared against other Western countries. The cloud cover in Israel has not yet descended to the level of small and medium businesses; and among the small and medium businesses that are already cloud users, most are only partial users, having virtualized only some 30% of their servers.

Another figure, and not a very surprising one, is that the main factor in choosing a private cloud provider is still price. The reason is related not only to savings but also to the companies’ lack of knowledge and their lack of faith in the private cloud companies, which all promise a secured, available, stable cloud.

Most of the established organizations have made considerable investments, uncompromisingly bringing in the most highly regarded equipment for protecting their information, so they insist on receiving the same quality from their cloud provider as well.

So for someone deciding on a cloud presence, what requires attention?

These are some points that the decision-makers should make sure of:

  • SLA — If previously the organization purchased a system for itself that provided an SLA of 99.999%, then the organization cannot now purchase cloud services from a supplier that lacks the ability to guarantee the same availability level. In order to achieve such availability, the supplier must satisfy further requirements such as the cloud’s location and other factors that are vital prerequisites in the choice of a supplier.
  • Data security — In private cloud services, data security is both the most sensitive matter and the least disciplined. It’s easy to boast that a private cloud is secured, and even to comply with the basic regulations. However, in order to truly protect information, a cloud provider must comply with standards such as CSA StarISO 27001ISO27799, and ISO 27017, and pass independent inspections. Only in that way can you know that the supplier will not sell your information to your competitors for “pocket change.”
  • Framework agreements with the cloud provider — The supplier’s contractual terms must be taken into consideration. For a long-term agreement, and all the more when the technology to be used is accessible only through the supplier, being committed to a contract can turn out to be a problem. Imagine a situation where you are unhappy with a particular service but you can’t terminate it and you can’t transfer away from it because you signed an all-or-nothing contract.
  • Terms of compensation — As part and parcel of the contract, the cloud provider must be ready to accept and bear responsibility. In case the provider fails to meet the agreed standards, it is important to have the terms of compensation predefined. In that way the provider is more strongly committed and has an incentive to make improvements.
  • Financial background — Besides attention to the contract and the terms of compensation, attention to the cloud provider’s financial background is also very important. There have already been cases of large organizations waking up one morning to find that their cloud provider has decided to cease operations, leaving them with no data and no means of running their business. In order to avoid such situations, organizations must ascertain that their private cloud provider is financially robust.
  • Method of calculating fees— At the beginning, we mentioned that virtualized services are money-savers. Accordingly, we end with the thought that from the financial point of view, real efficiency on the cloud is measured by actual usage. If you have the opportunity of paying by the hour of usage, you can reduce your resources during off-peak hours and add significantly to your savings.