In today's modern digital world, the relationship between a business and their cloud provider is something like a marriage — or at least, it should be. You have two parties coming together who are working towards the same goal. Each person has something the other doesn't, and when combined they form something incredibly powerful.
If you're working with a good cloud provider, that is. If you're working with a bad one, you are left with the worst kind of marriage — one that does little more than harm both parties and is destined for a divorce sooner rather than later. Much like a marriage, the relationship between a business and cloud provider is built on trust. That trust isn't a guarantee, however. It must be earned.
In that regard, there are five key markers of a bad cloud provider that all decision makers need to be aware of moving forward. These signs fall into a number of different categories, including but not limited to ones like:
Flexibility and Malleability
Support Ends the Moment a Sale is Made
The number one marker of a bad cloud provider is weak support. Some cloud providers are there for their customers every step of the way, only to suddenly disappear once a sale has been made or the migration has completed. They may offer extended support contracts for additional fees, but make no mistake: if your cloud vendor does not provide you ongoing expertise at every layer of your stack, your business will pay for it later - especially if it’s on a growth trajectory.
What if a business's new cloud solution is difficult to set up and deploy? The whole point of leveraging a cloud is to make application deployment and scalability easier. What if your application performance is not what you expect? If your developers aren’t operations people, chances are they will point to the infrastructure once they’ve validated their code. What if new employees are brought on and need to be trained on APIs and orchestration methodologies?
These are just a few of the many implications businesses will have to face without strong support coming from their cloud provider. To keep your costs low and operational efficiency high, you need a cloud a provider who can provide you with expertise throughout the relationship.
Another sign of a bad cloud provider is frequent outages. When a business makes a transition into the cloud, it's putting a certain amount of faith in its cloud provider to keep things up and running as reliably as possible. If applications go down for even ten minutes, that's ten minutes of lost revenue and dissatisfied users that may never come back.
Any seasoned cloud provider will not only detail exactly how it plans to avoid these downtime periods, but will also offer some type of uptime guarantee. While it is unreasonable to expect an individual virtual server to be up 100% of the time, the application itself should converge to 100% availability by leveraging high-availability architecture. If downtime is frequent (or worse, expected), this is a sign that an organization should look elsewhere for its cloud services.
It's Hard to Get Someone on the Phone
An additional tell-tale sign of a bad cloud provider is lack of access to experts who know the platform inside and out - in other words, true customer service. Because the cloud allows even small businesses to provide services to the global market, it needs to be coupled with experts that are available to the end user at all hours of the day. Anything less than 24 hour a day, 7 day a week support isn't going to cut if you have business-critical applications running in the cloud.
Yet oddly enough, many cloud providers still make it difficult to get the support a business needs, particularly in times of crisis or security threats. If something goes wrong and customer service representatives can't be immediately reached, regardless of the time of day or night, that provider isn't acting with its partner's best interests in mind.
Specific Industries Are Not Taken into Consideration
One of the most important things to understand about data security is that not all industries are created equally. The healthcare industry has different rules and regulations regarding data safety in cloud environments compared to the financial sector, which itself is a bit different from government and others. A blanket approach to data security just won't work, which is why finding a cloud provider that has expertise in vertical-specific security practices is so important.
Remember that if you’re in healthcare, protecting PHI data isn't optional — it is required by law. The penalties can be very severe, which is why finding a cloud provider that can navigate the compliance landscape is so critical.
The Myth of the "One Size Fits All" Solution
Finally, another key sign of a bad cloud provider is one that treats the needs of every business the same. Nobody will utilize the cloud in exactly the same way, even two businesses within the same industry sector could require wildly different architectures. A quality cloud provider should understand this and should optimize your cloud for cost, performance, and security relative to your applications and customers. Beware of “cookie-cutter” packages that are unlikely to be optimal for your specific use-case. Ideally, your provider is giving you bespoke architecture after carefully considering your customer base, industry, and technology stack.
Any cloud provider that treats all of its clients as fundamentally the same is going to end up underserving the majority of its customers - because it’s a sign they’ve optimized for the wrong party (namely themselves). Performance and security are often at odds with each other. So is performance and cost. Where is the happy medium for your business? You need to select a cloud provider that is going to provide you with an architecture that is optimized for your business, not theirs.
Lightcrest: Drive Your Cloud with Kahu
Lightcrest provides ongoing expertise to its customers on top of Kahu, the cloud platform it developed after years of supporting customers on a variety of technologies that were either too costly or too rigid to meet the fluid demands of the modern enterprise. Kahu was built with flexibility and low cost at the crux of its value proposition.
With the Kahu CapEx Model, instead of paying a public cloud rent forever, customers converge their cloud costs to zero by owning their own Kahu cloud - without the need for their own datacenter or in-house operations team. With this unique approach to cloud services, Kahu can be 50% more cost-effective than a traditional public cloud, with all of the security and performance benefits that only a private cloud can provide.
In today’s competitive cloud market, there is absolutely no reason why a cloud provider should be prohibitively expensive or weak on support. The cloud is supposed to be the great equalizer, allowing small businesses to compete globally with the largest enterprises in the world. Contact Lightcrest today to learn how you can drive cost out of your cloud.