How to Choose the Right Cloud Service Provider

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How to Choose the Right Cloud Service Provider

The implementation of the cloud was accelerated once the pandemic struck the world. Due to COVID-19, businesses had to accommodate workers and transition to either hybrid work models or entirely rely on home office. This also accentuated the need for digitalization, which allowed for better scalability, performance, and speed, some of the most notable benefits of cloud services. In fact, estimates suggest that total spending on these services will exceed $480 billion by the end of 2022.

With such massive growth in spending (that is only expected to rise), one needs to understand better the scope of these services and how to choose the correct provider. Let’s break it down.

What is a Cloud Service Provider

Cloud service providers are third-party companies that provide IT services over the internet. As the name suggests, they offer anything from data storage to infrastructure for your project needs. The first glimpse of what would become known as cloud computing came about in the form of Amazon Web Services offering IT infrastructure as a service back in 2006. Since then, cloud services have seen a massive spike, with the emergence of Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, Alibaba Cloud, and a number of smaller niche providers.

Types of Cloud Computing

To understand what services suit you, you first must know what services are out there. Therefore, we can first make the most basic of divisions that are concerned with different cloud services, most commonly divided into the following:

  • IaaS: basic service consisting of computing, storage, and resources.
  • PaaS: a more advanced form of cloud computing services intended to support development, testing, updates, etc.
  • SaaS: delivering software through the internet without the hassle of installing and maintaining IT infrastructure. It is just using applications through the internet as a service provider offers.
  • Serverless Computing: a provision of backend services without worrying about the infrastructure. Paying only for the computation, this option grants companies significant cost reduction.

Top Cloud Providers

AWS is the industry leader when it comes to the cloud environment. They excel in the scope of their services and receive high marks in their customer support department. Some of the key features they offer include:

  • Free migration tools
  • Automatic scaling
  • Several databases
  • AI and ML

The full scope of services we at Vicert offer is enhanced because we are partnered with Amazon AWS. As we offer cloud services, we have already helped clients complete cloud data migration for their FDA-approved diagnostics product. The ultimate goal was to become as serverless as possible.

Microsoft Azure closely follows AWS. While they joined the cloud game later than their main competitor, they quickly caught up by moving most of their premises to the cloud. While this cloud is easier to use and manage, it is still expected you will need help from their support at some point. Unfortunately, their cloud support isn’t always as effective as required. Their pricing is confusing (a trait shared with AWS), but they offer the following key features:

  • Serverless computing
  • Data backup and storage
  • Disaster recovery
  • Analytics

Google Cloud Platform
While they have the perk of having developed Kubernetes, a standard that other cloud providers now use, they are still in the distant third place behind the two listed above. Nevertheless, they are trying to bridge the gap between themselves and other cloud providers by expanding their services and increasing the number of data centers around the world. They are also trying to attract customers through flexible contracts and lower prices than their competitors. Some of their key features include:

  • AI and ML
  • Migration tools
  • Virtual private cloud
  • Serverless computing
  • API management
  • Google Kubernetes EngineCloud Services, How to Choose the Right Cloud Service Provider

Naturally, there is much more to be explored beyond the big three. But the question is: what are you looking for?

What to Consider when Choosing a Cloud Provider

It is crucial to keep in mind the varying levels of execution that might be necessary for your project. We must add other factors such as reliability, security, and cost to find the right solution for your project. Therefore, the factors to consider are, but are not limited to the below:

  • Cost: Consider whether there are minimal costs to your product or service and whether there are discounts that can be taken advantage of. Top cloud providers offer different options, but most function on upfront payment or a pay-as-you-go basis. To avoid lock-ins and price increases over time, it is essential to have an expert with you.
  • HIPAA rules: given that a good portion of data related to healthcare is sensitive, it is important to know that the provider adheres to HIPAA regulations and is willing to sign a business agreement. Department of Health and Human Services offers a guide on tackling the sensitive data in healthcare that can be leveraged.
  • Cloud Security: you must consider the security your vendor offers. Keep an eye out for backup, integrity, transparency protocols, roles, and responsibilities of all parties involved. There are also multiple security and data management levels, so pay close attention to who has access to data, where it is stored and processed, and the recovery protocols. To that end, AWS disaster recovery offers multiple options ranging from low cost and low complexity to usage of multiple Regions.
  • Expertise and Familiarity: with each industry, compliances differ. Vendors must adhere to the healthcare industry’s rules and regulations highlighted above. Still, it is just as vital that they have expert knowledge in configurations, encryption, and application security. Consequently, it is important that the vendor can offer a cloud service experience during all phases of your project.
  • Customer Service: while not the first thing that comes to your mind when considering your vendor, the evidence or, instead, the customer replies to Microsoft’s lack of proper customer service suggests that this is an important factor. If there is a lack of transparency or the vendor doesn’t readily address any issues or questions a customer might have – it presents a problem. After all, you are your vendor’s customer.
  • Vendor’s security: cloud computing companies are on the other end of the same coin. Much like you are worried about your potential security breaches, you should assume that your provider has those same worries. As a result, they should have their security protocols and ways to manage potential risks to their operations.Vendor Security, Cloud Services, How to Choose the Right Service Provider

Ready for Cloud Migration

Having reviewed the above, you are ready to embark on your cloud services journey. From the technical aspects of understanding the cloud and its components to choosing the correct vendor, there are many factors to consider. Luckily, here at Vicert, we have assembled a list to assist in making the right decision for your project. And more importantly, we have the necessary knowledge to execute it. If you were looking for cloud service providers – look no further.