As cloud services become commodities and differentiators lessen, it can become easier to be seduced by the “bottom-line-is-boss” mentality. However, differentiators still exist and strategic value should be weighed along with cost to ensure your unique corporate needs are realized.
Key Differentiators in Choosing Cloud Services Providers Uptime. Every minute of downtime is lost revenue and productivity. It stands to reason then that when companies need access to their information, they expect it to be available. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. To achieve peak uptime, look for cloud services providers (CSPs) that offer redundant environments to ensure accessibility over extended periods of time. In the case of disaster recover (DR), redundancy continues to be a key factor, as does geographic diversity. Aside from lost revenue, a company’s reputation is also at stake when faced with downtime. A service level agreement (SLA) that specifies response and recovery time as well as customer recovery point objectives is essential to maintaining uptime and meeting needs.
Customer Service. In many environments, customer service seems to have fallen to the wayside. Do not settle for lack-luster service and non-existent accountability when selecting a CSP. Entrust your data to a company that has your best interests in mind — a true partner who is there when you need them. The law firm Arnall Golden Gregory (AGG) learned the value of a true partner when it searched for a CSP. Confronted with the decision between two companies with comparable services, AGG found the differentiator in level of customer service and engagement.
Accessibility. Companies need to access their information – whether its archival data or living documents – quickly and efficiently. Latency has no place in the fast-paced business world we live in today. CSPs can provide an appropriate and efficient level of accessibility through tiered storage. In this model, data is housed on a selected level depending on the necessary access speed. Tiers can range from a capacity level — ideal for a large repository of files that do not require quick access – to high-performance storage that is ideal for frequently changing and accessed data that needs to be retrieved quickly.
Scalability. The ability to grow demand as capacity dictates is key to managing costs and maximizing efficiency. Companies that purchase storage capacity on an as-needed basis – whether for long-term storage or short-term usage spikes, such as webinars or events – are better able to control costs. This elasticity also improves efficiency by eliminating excess capacity situations and reduces subpar performance and inaccessibility of an overcapacity environment.
Disaster Recovery. Natural disasters happen and providers must be prepared to minimize downtime for their customers. Investigate how the CSPs you are considering handle disruptions in service. What processes are in place and what resources are available to get the service up and running with your information intact?
A Final Thought
As yo organization treads the waters of partnering with a CSP, you need to look beyond the bottom line to understand and appreciate the strategic differentiators that provide value to your organization. These value-based drivers help you secure the solution that adds the most competitive advantage to your organization. And, if you find yourself being seduced by the dollar, ask yourself if that avocado-green-colored car is really for you.