According to ZDNet.com, there are a few checklist items to look for when shopping for an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) provider, as they wrote about in Finding the Ideal IaaS Provider. I supplied some commentary on our perspective as a secure IaaS hosting provider.
Knowledge of your industry
The article states that it’s to your advantage if your IaaS provider can offer regulatory, security and other governance compliance requirements that your apps and data need to follow. For example, if you’re a healthcare SaaS company looking for a HIPAA compliant cloud IaaS, don’t go with the vendor that won’t sign a business associate agreement or has never heard of the law. For more about compliant IaaS hosting, include resources on HIPAA, PCI DSS, SOC 2, SOX and Safe Harbor, read our Compliant Hosting pages, or visit our resource library.
Technical competence and consultive capability
What kind of expertise can your IaaS provider bring to the table? Meet and get to know the IT team you’ll be working with in the data centers, and find out if they have the certifications and knowledge required to provide excellent service. Communication is key to effective IT management and planning, particularly if something goes wrong, so test the responsiveness and quality of their support before signing the contracts.
An ecosystem of software and hardware business partners
ZDnet.com states that “great IaaS operations never stand alone. They have a network of business partners that stand with them, beginning with the vendors of their hardware and software.” With partners that specialize in each particular software, you can be sure you’re getting the best expertise when it comes to product support. For example, we have at least nine security vendors we work with to provide an entire suite of defense in depth protection for your applications and data, as you can see from our list of technical security tools.
Direct control of the data center(s)
The article recommends partnering with IaaS providers that own their own data centers. Another aspect to look for is location – where are these data centers located and do you know which data center your data lives in? Choosing a safe, disaster-free location can help avoid downtime and potential data destruction, while using a data center located in the United States can ensure compliance under U.S.-based, industry-specific data governance laws. Read Low Tornado Risks for Michigan Data Centers – Ideal for Disaster Recovery and Five Questions to Ask Your HIPAA Hosting Provider to learn more.
Great customer service
ZDnet.com recommends checking customer references as a central part of the vendor interview process to find out if an IaaS vendor’s customer service is up to par. The article also suggests asking other questions that could give you insight into their customer-base, including what is the average length of their customer relationships and whether the vendor has ever lost a customer. Online Tech’s commitment to customer service can be seen in daily huddles implemented to enhance three key areas; Transparency, Rapid Communications, and Results-Oriented Culture. Read about our methods in 15 Minutes a Day – Our Investment in a Customer and Results-Oriented Culture.
Finding the Ideal IaaS Provider