How to Choose a Cloud Service Provider? | 8 Mistakes to Avoid

June 19th, 2023
How to Choose a Cloud Service Provider? | 8 Mistakes to Avoid

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, businesses constantly strive to adapt and optimize their operations. One critical decision they face is choosing the right cloud service provider. Organizations can access scalable and flexible computing resources on demand with the right cloud provider to efficiently manage and scale their IT infrastructure without significant upfront investments. In this article, we’ll look deeper into how and explain the common mistakes to avoid when choosing a cloud service provider for your business.

Increase in demand for cloud computing

Recent statistics reveal that a staggering 89% of businesses have embraced multiple cloud platforms to manage their storage and workloads. That’s why it’s not even a surprise that the demand for cloud servers and enterprise storage solutions is experiencing an impressive growth rate of 10.9%. However, choosing a cloud service provider isn’t a walk in the park. The process can often be fraught with mistakes. With the many options available out there, some businesses may rush into a decision that can cost them a fortune.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, let’s brush up on the basics first. What’s actually a cloud service provider, and why should businesses invest in it?

What is a cloud service provider?

A cloud service provider (CSP) is a company that offers a range of cloud-based solutions and services for businesses and individuals. Cloud providers allow organizations to access computing power, storage, software applications, and other related services without an on-site infrastructure through virtualized or bare-metal server environments.

Instead of buying a server and having to store and maintain it on-site, cloud service providers allow you to rent cloud resources instead via monthly or hourly billing. This way, businesses can scale their operations, enhance collaboration, and leverage advanced technologies without dealing with significant upfront investments or complex maintenance.

Think of it like a massive library. Instead of books, a cloud service provider stores and manages important digital data and programs. For example if your site sells procreate paper texture overlays then it stores those graphics and images on its servers. Businesses can store and access their stuff whenever they need it without worrying about running out of space or taking care of it themselves.

Like going to a library to borrow different books, businesses can access various services from the cloud service provider, such as storage space, computing power, and special tools, to help them run their operations smoothly.

Some of the largest cloud service providers are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Open source cloud infrastructure providers, such as Cherry Servers offers flexible solutions for developers through services like VPS or dedicated cloud server hosting.

What to consider when choosing a cloud provider?

Now that we understand what a cloud service provider is all about, the next questions to ask would be: “How do we know that a cloud service provider is great and worth using, and what to consider when choosing a cloud provider?.”

Different types of cloud hosting services include shared hosting, such as a virtual private server (VPS), dedicated cloud server hosting, and cloud hosting. Learn the exact differences and pros and cons of each in our comprehensive guide on different hosting solutions.

A great cloud service provider possesses several key qualities that set them apart.

Reliability and uptime

A top-notch cloud service provider ensures their services' high availability and reliability. Reliability is essential because businesses rely heavily on cloud services to operate efficiently.

Downtime or service disruptions can have severe consequences, leading to lost productivity, revenue, and customer trust. A reliable cloud service provider minimizes the risk of such disruptions and instills confidence in their customers by consistently delivering reliable services.

Fulfill the needs and preferences of the user

Fulfilling the needs and preferences of the user is an essential characteristic of a great cloud service provider. It involves understanding each customer's unique requirements and tailoring their services to meet those specific needs and preferences. This tailored approach is crucial in enhancing the customer success process as it ensures that each client achieves their desired outcomes.

A great cloud service provider would provide public, private, or hybrid cloud options, allowing users to choose the deployment model that best suits their requirements, compliance needs, and security preferences.

Broad cloud service offering

Most businesses are likely to invest in a cloud service provider that offers more features and delivers a wide array of options across different domains. This can include infrastructure services like computing power (virtual machines, containers), storage (block, object, file), networking capabilities, as well as a custom cloud architecture.

A great cloud service provider can even offer platform services that provide pre-configured environments for developing, deploying, and managing applications, such as database programs like PostgreSQL and MongoDB, or application servers, or serverless computing platforms.

Server performance and speed

Performance is key for a cloud service provider. A good cloud service provider delivers high-speed connectivity, low latency, and robust processing capabilities to ensure smooth and responsive access to applications and data, enhancing user experience and productivity.

Proven track record and customer satisfaction

Online reviews are now everyone’s go-to before deciding to invest in something, be it outsourcing to SaaS marketing agencies or choosing cloud service providers. A trustworthy and worth-investing cloud service provider always has a proven track record and positive user reviews that they might incorporate as testimonials into their content strategy.

A reputable cloud service provider often invests in professional-looking video marketing content, creates business profiles on social media platforms, and even has a page on third-party review sites to ensure effective reputation management.

Mistakes to avoid while choosing a cloud service provider

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all cloud service provider. The great ones always meet your expectations, fulfill your needs, and meet your budgets. One that seems to work perfectly for your competitors may not be suitable for you. Finding one that you can use to its full potential isn’t the easiest thing to do. Here are some common pitfalls that businesses face when choosing a cloud service provider. By recognizing these pitfalls and conducting thorough due diligence, you can make more informed decisions and set yourself up for success in the cloud-based landscape.

1. Ignoring cloud security and compliance

One of the most crucial factors when selecting a cloud service provider is ensuring robust security and compliance measures. Ignoring this aspect can leave your data vulnerable to breaches and regulatory violations.

Remember that a reputable cloud service provider adheres to industry standards, regulations, and data protection laws. They prioritize data privacy, compliance, and governance, ensuring customers that their data is handled carefully and in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements.

Always look for a cloud service provider that offers industry-standard security protocols, encryption, access controls, and regular audits to protect your data from unauthorized access.

2. Not considering scalability and flexibility

It can be tempting to choose a cloud service provider for the needs of your business at the moment. But, there’s one thing to bear in mind here: the demand always changes. That means your business may grow and have more needs and even different preferences.

In this case, you need to find another cloud provider and migrate all the data to the new one (this is where the vendor lock-in comes from, we’ll get to this in the next section).

That’s why you also need to consider the scalability of the cloud service provider you’re going to choose. Make sure the provider offers flexible and scalable solutions that allow your business to rapidly expand or contract your usage as demands change, ensuring optimal performance and cost-efficiency.

3. Neglecting vendor lock-in risks

Businesses may fall victim to vendor lock-in, where they become heavily dependent on a specific provider's services, making switching or migrating to another platform difficult. This lock-in can limit flexibility, hinder innovation, and tie the organization's hands, preventing it from exploring better alternatives or adapting to changing market dynamics.

Neglecting this risk can limit your ability to switch providers or use new technologies. Prioritize CSPs that offer interoperability, open standards, and data portability to mitigate vendor lock-in risks and maintain control over your infrastructure.

4. Focusing solely on cost

Affordable or even free cloud service providers are a breath of fresh air for small businesses with very limited budgets. While cost is crucial in decision-making, focusing solely on it can be a mistake.

Opting for a cheap cloud service provider without considering other aspects, such as reliability, performance, and support, might lead to inadequate service levels and subpar user experiences. Balance cost considerations with the overall value and quality offered by the cloud service provider.

Note: At Cherry Servers, we offer open source cloud infrastructure solutions for developers who want complete control, with easily accessible and free technical support available 24/7.

5. Overlooking service-level agreements (SLAs)

Service-level agreements (SLAs) are often overlooked. Many businesses don’t even have time to review the terms of service of a cloud service provider. However, neglecting SLAs can result in misunderstandings and unmet expectations in the future.

So, invest more time and effort to carefully analyze SLAs to ensure they align with your business needs, covering uptime guarantees, response times, and support availability.

6. Neglecting data backup and disaster recovery

Data loss or disruptions is one of the worst nightmares for every business. A loss of data can mean a serious loss of revenue and a disruption to your whole operations.

This means that not considering a cloud service's data backup and disaster recovery capabilities can leave your organization vulnerable to extended downtimes and loss of critical information.

Choose a provider that offers robust backup strategies, for example AWS backup, replication across multiple data centers, and well-defined disaster recovery plans.

7. Insufficient due diligence

With all that online reviews, some businesses still fail to conduct thorough due diligence on a cloud service provider. Always consider factors such as the provider's history, industry expertise, and customer satisfaction.

Engage with industry peers and seek recommendations to gather more information about the provider's reputation within the market. You can request references and talk to existing clients to gain insights into their experience with the provider.

8. Failure to consider geographic locations and latency

Some businesses may simply be unaware of the impact that geographic locations and latency can have on their cloud services. In fact, your data centers' physical location and proximity to your end-users can impact performance and latency. Failure to consider geographic locations can result in slower response times and diminished user experience.

Make sure you evaluate the cloud service provider’s data center locations and connectivity options to ensure they align with your target audience and operational requirements.

Wrapping Up

Understanding what makes a cloud service provider great is one thing. Choosing the right one another. Don't let the clouds of uncertainty rain down on your organization's digital success. When choosing a cloud service provider, steer clear of the common mistakes we’ve discussed above. Now that you understand the common pitfalls, you can soar to new heights with a cloud service provider that fuels your organization's growth and innovation.

Mantas is a hands-on growth marketer with expertise in Linux, Ansible, Python, Git, Docker, dbt, PostgreSQL, Power BI, analytics engineering, and technical writing. With more than seven years of experience in a fast-paced Cloud Computing market, Mantas is responsible for creating and implementing data-driven growth marketing strategies concerning PPC, SEO, email, and affiliate marketing initiatives in the company. In addition to business expertise, Mantas also has hands-on experience working with cloud-native and analytics engineering technologies. He is also an expert in authoring topics like Ubuntu, Ansible, Docker, GPU computing, and other DevOps-related technologies. Mantas received his B.Sc. in Psychology from Vilnius University and resides in Siauliai, Lithuania.

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