Trust my cloud: would I lie to you?

Customers have to ask the right questions to make sure their cloud vendor is trustworthy, claims NewVoiceMedia CEO.

When selecting a cloud vendor, should you worry about whether you can trust them? This might sound like a flippant question; surely it is the most important issue when looking to outsource the lifeblood of your business, your IT, to a cloud vendor? Yet everyday I’m astonished at the amount of CIOs and IT directors who pay scant attention to the issue of trust when deciding which cloud vendors are the best for their business.

The Virtual Cloudscurement process needs to go deeper than just matching applications with IT objectives. Any business looking to move into the cloud has to look beneath the surface and start interrogating the people, processes and technology behind the website and marketing messages the vendor is pumping out.

To help with the process here are my top tips for getting to grips with trust in the cloud.

  • Question those SLAs: 99.99 per cent, 99.999 per cent, 99.9999 per cent, you keep adding ‘nines’ to the SLA, slap it up on your website, say that you’ll meet it, then sit back and watch the order forms come in. No one ever asks for proof! Businesses have to ask for evidence of uptime and availability that match the SLAs showcased and how the cloud vendor can prove it will have the uptime it says it will – transparency when it comes to SLAs is critical to trusting a cloud vendor.
  • Investigate disaster recovery: Sometimes things do go wrong, it’s a fact of life and applies as much to the cloud as it does to any other form of technology. The crucial thing here is that cloud vendors have the right disaster recovery procedures and technology in place. What’s more, they need to demonstrate they test their plans.  Try asking the vendor for the internal report from the last time they tested their business continuity planning.
  • Take a look at the team: People are as important as processes and technology. It’s essential the right people are going to be leading your cloud experience. Make sure you are comfortable with the level of expertise and experience within a potential vendor team.  It sounds obvious, but it will be much better if you select a team you get on with and share similar values to.  Meet all the people you will be working with and do your best to glean how they will react when problems occur.
  • Understand the real processes: Cloud computing should offer complete flexibility in terms of scaling user numbers up or down and should dramatically shorten the time it takes to go live with new functionality. While all vendors will say they do this, take the time to identify and understand exactly how this happens and ask for proof of their track record on roadmap delivery.

Remember there’s no formalised quality control when it comes to cloud, so it’s up to every business to undertake their own due diligence and make sure that they can trust the vendor they are about to partner with.

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