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The Biggest Challenge of Multi-Cloud Management: Four Questions to Ask Providers

The cloud is already ubiquitous in helping businesses be able to securely store and retrieve data. Options in cloud providers are extensive and potentially overwhelming. Many companies have to use multiple providers just to receive some of the services they want. This can lead to multi-cloud management, which might sound a little like digital juggling.

It’s not far off the mark as an analogy. If you ever have to add different hosting technologies, it only introduces more complexity in how it’s managed together.

To be successful, you need a specific multi-cloud strategy. By asking four detailed questions, your IT department can decide which cloud services are best suited for your business needs.

Question #1: Do the Cloud Providers Fit Your Business’s Concept?

Integration is everything when adding a cloud service to your business. Do you know if the provider is going to fit your business’s overall concept and systems?

One way to find out if a cloud service can integrate well is to see whether it can successfully replace an outdated technology. Maybe you’ve relied on your own server to store data for years and realize it just isn’t feasible any longer with increased security risks. Adding a cloud service here can easily fill a gap based on the demand to provide better security for customer data.

Question #2: Do the Cloud Providers Fit Your Requirements?

Every business is going to have different requirements for the cloud service they need. In some cases, you’ll only want a cloud service for a particular period of time. You need to ask your provider how long you can use their service and what they might charge if you decide to leave early. Asking upfront about their service level agreements can save you a lot of headaches later.

In the same way, ask what the security level is for each provider. This includes asking about compliance level, monitoring, backup, and recovery systems to ensure they match your business requirements.

If you have a long list of providers, a helpful exercise is to compare the features they offer in order of importance. Think through each feature offered, and how it pertains to your business plan. Select a provider that offers the best fit for your most desired features.

Question #3: Does the Provider Force You to Stick with one Service?

Some cloud providers could put a “gotcha” in their contracts if they find out you’re using multiple services from different companies. You’ll find a few that place provisions in their contracts about using only their service and no other.

They call this a “vendor lock-in”, something to scope out in your service level agreement. When a vendor lock-in happens, you can’t combine some data with another provider, leading to possible security vulnerabilities or compliance fines. The more you depend on one provider, the more troubling performance can potentially become so being aware vendor lock-in before it happens can help you make an informed decision for your long-term strategy.

Question #4: Can You Access the Cloud Service Centrally?

Take some time to learn about access rights to your cloud service and how many people in your company can use it. What makes the cloud so attractive is having a central place where you can store data and accessing it 24/7. You may find some contracts limiting who can access data, and this could put a damper on your multi-cloud management plan.

By asking these four questions, you’ll better understand which services limit you before you commit so you won’t have to fight a contract dispute. Doing all this in advance is essential so you don’t lose a critical cloud service when your business depends on it.

Bron : Arvato

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