How Do You Find the Best Cloud Service Provider?

The cloud market is huge and continues to grow unabated. With numerous cloud service providers (CSPs) active in the market, revenues of more than €160 billion will be generated with public cloud services this year.

If you are faced with the decision to choose a CSP right now, you may ask yourself: Who is the ideal CSP for our organisation and user base?

To help you make a sound decision, we have put together the most important questions you should ask when selecting a CSP for your business.

Where Is the CSP Based?

If you use a cloud provider for your communications processes, you will normally process masses of personal data through cloud data centres. If the CSP has its headquarters and operates its data centres within the EU, you will enter into a data agreement pursuant to Article 28 of GDPR.

From a legal perspective everything is covered because the data protection responsibility of your CSP is regulated by European law. However, there is more complexity when looking at CSPs outside the EU. For example, US companies must either be certified under the EU-US Privacy Shield framework or the contract must contain clauses in accordance with EU law – this is not impossible, yet it does make matters more complex.

What Certifications Does the CSP Have?

Serious CSPs receive regular checks by independent authorities and auditing institutes to ensure that their customers are always protected. What technical and organisational measures does a provider take to protect its customers’ data? Organisations such as TÜV or EuroCloud perform audits and issue the provider with a corresponding certificate when the result is positive. At NFON, we are proud of our TÜV certification, which brings a host of benefits to our cloud communications solutions.

How Does the CSP Ensure Data Protection?

Data protection remains a hot topic when it comes to cloud services. The following questions are central to selecting a CSP:

  • What security standards does my own organisation set?
  • What data security requirements do our customers and partners have?
  • What data protection standards does the law require?

In addition to security mechanisms such as encryption and protection against intrusion and theft, the jurisdiction to which the CSP adheres is also a good indication of its security concept.

Data centres with operations in Germany are a reliable indication that a CSP takes data protection seriously. Explore more why data protection made in Germany has gained worldwide recognition.

How Easy Is it to Implement?

The design of cloud solutions are meant to be inherently standard.

This means the best CSP solution for your business will have features that already cover the standard requirements of your organisation. The right solution for your business will be easy to integrate into the existing infrastructure. The solution is best when it inherently meets user needs, as bespoke requests cost time, money, and productivity. Cloud services are designed to be as cost effective and scalable for as many users as possible.

How Scalable Is the Service?

One of the biggest benefits of cloud services is their scalability.

Organisations that are growing dynamically need to be able to rely on a CSP that enables them to add – or drop – users at any time. Even temporary traffic spikes due to seasonal peaks should be covered by the CSP. With cloud services, there are usually not long-term contractual obligations.

How User Friendly Is the Design?

The best cloud solution is one that admins and users enjoy viewing and using, right from the start. A great user experience relates to clear navigation, an efficient number of clicks to complete tasks, and the user feeling that the service is useful in terms of performance.

Cloud services today are highly intuitive and self explanatory, and typically offer robust online support. Take caution when a CSP offers you elaborate training programmes, which add significant costs to the offer. Reliable CSPs and their partners offer competent support through multiple channels, including telephone, email, web and social media.

Do You Get Fair Value for Money?

Cloud service providers typically market their solutions to be as easy and transparent to bill as water and electricity. ‘Pay as you go’ and ‘Pay per use’ are common pricing models.

Make sure though that you assess the pricing details carefully: Are there a minimum or maximum number of subscribers for the rate? Are there additional implementation costs? Do you need to provide cancellation notice within a defined time period? How does the monthly/annual rate compare to other providers? Make sure the terms and conditions offer you fair value for the costs and will be acceptable to your finance/procurement team.

Is the System Status Transparent?

Transparent performance is the basis for trustworthy cooperation.

That’s why most CSPs have a live page where you can view the operational status of the cloud service and find out about previous warnings and failures. If providers do not openly share this information, ask why they do not, so that you can make an informed assessment.

We are open about the system status of our cloud communications services. Through our NFON Status page, anyone can view the status of our system, along with the affected regions, in a completely transparent way.

Does the CSP Have Quality Reference Customers?

To gain an impression of the CSP’s expertise, ask for customer references. If renowned companies or organisations from your industry trust the solutions, it is a good indicator that the CSP is competent.

Take care to ask about the customer references: Are the customers current? Did the reference customers implement a similar solution with the same number of users? What were their reasons for choosing the solution? Will the CSP be happy to connect you to the reference customer, so that you can receive first-hand feedback?

Any reliable CSP will be happy for you to be in direct contact with their reference customers. Take a look at our reference customers and contact us when you’d like to learn more about our cloud communications solutions.

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