Approach with caution: how to choose the right driver for your journey to the cloud

The recent survey by 451 Research and Microsoft proves that investment in cloud hosting and managed services is soaring, with almost two thirds of overall cloud and hosting infrastructure spend comes aligned with value-added services. 

As the number of organisations moving towards the cloud increases, so too does the demand for the expertise, knowledge and tools that make the transition successful.

Therein lies a real challenge.

Lots of third parties can provide cloud hosting and services, but as the recent cyber breach of ABTA has shown, the downsides of a service interruption can be severe and lingering.

The choice of cloud partner is becoming more important than ever, particularly when that partner is delivering a ‘managed’ service, where they take greater responsibility for confidentiality, reliability and availability.

But who can offer the right kind of guidance, and what should organisations look for when choosing to invest in the value added services of a managed cloud provider?

Buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride

One of the biggest takeaways from the study was the amount of investment directed towards lowering the risk of cyber attacks, and as data regulation gets tighter, including the implementation of GDPR, security becomes a bigger issue than ever.

Companies will be obligated to disclose the extent of breaches to both regulatory bodies as well as customers, and failure to comply will result in hefty financial penalties, loss of sensitive data and a hit to company reputation.

As compliance and security become even more essential to the success of cloud journeys, companies should look to invest in service providers that are equipped to render data unintelligible to those who wish to criminally obtain it.

Services such as data encryption can provide this assurance, as well as help protect against any backlash.

Always check your mirrors

A company’s online presence is a reflection of its brand identity, and it’s important that the platforms that sustain it are always available.

As the research shows, there is a lack of skills and knowledge in-house for companies to depend on when undergoing key digital developments, so businesses should look to third parties to provide guaranteed uptime.

For any organisation looking to undergo its journey with a goal of high reliability, choosing a provider who can offer a ‘no single point of failure’ design will minimise the chance of downtime.

Give your infrastructure a regular MOT

There have been plenty of high profile cases of websites taken offline by peaks in consumer visits or criminal activity.

A reputable managed cloud provider will offer continuous auditing on resources in order to identify issues before they manifest in order to avoid more of the same.

Non-intrusive scanning for real-time network threat awareness also allows IT staff to make better decisions about risk, faster.

Invest in recovery in case of a breakdown

Sometimes a system failure is unavoidable. For these instances, most managed cloud providers will offer disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) in order to minimise data loss and ensure business continuity should the worst happen.

Full, continuous replication to a third party, offsite facility provides near instant recovery in the case of an outage.

Ultimately, choose the right passenger to help you navigate

The research shows that, perhaps most surprisingly, ‘premium, 24/7 support services’ is the area of managed services expected to see the biggest increase in demand in the coming year, ahead of disaster recovery and backup.

This proves that while a company puts precedence on the accessibility of their own resources, so too do they place importance on the dependability of the service provider employed to manage and guide them.

In essence, the journey to cloud can be a challenging one, particularly as new regulation comes into place.

However, choosing a hosting provider with an ‘extra mile’ ethos to service, dedicated account managers that know each company account inside out as well as the safest route means that no query or concern is too big or small along the way.