By Julian Hamood, president at Trusted Tech Team.

Choosing a cloud service provider is an exciting step for many organizations; however, it is also the most challenging part of the cloud process. A basic search for the best cloud providers will result in pages of recommended CSPs and MSPs, from established cloud giants like Microsoft and AWS to those with smaller budgets. As you research top vendors and consider them, it becomes difficult to narrow down and decide on the most suitable one. In addition, it’s vital to assess the reliability and capability of a vendor you plan to entrust with your business data and applications. An absent-minded mistake can lead to the opportunity for threat actors to gain access to confidential information.

There is no one-size-fits-all in licensing. Many companies unknowingly over-license or under-license, leading them to overspend or obtain licenses they did not need for their IT infrastructure. Companies that under-license devices may be non-compliant with policy rules—risking a failed Microsoft audit and being penalized. There are many aspects to consider and questions to ask when choosing a provider; therefore, this guide can help you ask all the right questions to make sure you can confidently decide on the right cloud provider for your business.

Evaluate Your Needs And Processes

Before weighing your options, make sure you understand what type of resources your IT infrastructure needs, how you plan on migrating and how much time and money you have to make the transition. Here are some key questions to ask to get an idea of the pros and cons you’ll encounter:

• What is my budget?

• How much account control do I need, such as server upgrades/downgrades (and other services)?

• What support do I need (additional services), and is it complimentary?

• Are there mandatory vendor lock-ins and billing contracts?

These questions can give you a starting point for better insight into the services you’d like for your IT infrastructure, which should align with your business strategy. As you continue your search, write down any additional questions that may be relevant to help you look back and analyze your top vendors.

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Provider Experience And Capabilities

The rising case of cyber threats has increased the difficulty of detecting and blocking malicious actors. According to Statista, the SaaS industry was the second most targeted industry by phishing attacks in the first quarter of 2022. To protect yourself, consider some of these practices to assess a vendor’s health and legitimacy.

Check the company’s reputation and partnerships (are they a Microsoft partner, and can they prove it?).

• What are their knowledge and technical expertise levels? Providers should understand your goals and provide cloud solutions and additional support and services.

• Validate compliance through a third-party audit.

• Check their address and see if it’s searchable through a search engine.

Checking off this list can help you confidently choose your cloud vendor and create safe security measures to protect yourself and your organization.

Migration Support And Additional Support/Services

A reliable vendor is crucial in times of need; therefore, support and additional services are essential when deciding on a vendor. If you have a hybrid workforce, need help navigating the cloud and expect projects requiring bandwidth down the line, then opt for a provider that offers complimentary support and additional services. Furthermore, check for seamless transitions and zero downtime if you plan to migrate. Look for a reliable partner you can count on to help resolve any issues you encounter while keeping in mind the preferred medium to reach out through—phone, email, chat and 24/7 account access.

Finding the right cloud vendor is a significant factor in your business’s productivity and success. The wrong partner can lead you to squander money, time and resources, often sending decision makers to repeat their search cycle of finding another cloud vendor. Asking the right questions and testing vendor legitimacy through compliance standards can help make the most challenging part of the cloud migration process a little more bearable.

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