Guest post by Tom Roberts, Solutions Architect

When it comes to ‘The Cloud,’ selecting the right cloud provider can be challenging for most organizations. ‘The Cloud’ covers a whole suite of different ways of delivering technology services, from standalone software applications (hosted email, database) to very new and exciting ones (storage as a service, platform as a service). The bot­tom line is ‘The Cloud’ can be a very advanta­geous option, so selecting the right cloud provider is a critical first step in realizing its benefits, e.g., decreased IT cost, increased flexibility and reduced focus on IT issues, which lets you concentrate more on your business.

Important questions to ask before selecting a cloud provider:

  1. Is the cloud infrastructure backed by at least a 99.9% up-time SLA, and is there financial compensation for not meeting it?
  2. Is there a defined change control process for scheduled maintenance, upgrades and security patches?
  3. Are there additional charges for services like backup, OS License, security patch deployment and system management/monitoring?
  4. What type of security and monitoring practices are in place at the data center, i.e., firewalls, IDS, vulnerability scanning, etc.?
  5. Do you allow for easy scalability and addition of resources, including CPU, memory, storage and bandwidth?
  6. Do you offer disaster recovery services?

What do you think about these suggestions for selecting a cloud provider? Is this Hype (these questions aren’t important), or is this Ripe (these are key questions you should ask a perspective cloud provider)?

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