The cloud has transformed technology for businesses and consumers alike. Most of your favorite apps and websites are running in the cloud. Data crucial to business and industry is stored in the cloud. And systems and integrations that keep the trains running on time, both literally and figuratively, call the cloud “home.”
In short, the “Cloud” is where software and services run when they aren’t running on your desktop, or on the server stuck in the back closet. The cloud provides on-demand and as-needed resources, so that websites don’t go offline and applications don’t crash under a high traffic load.
While such technological power might seem reserved only for businesses with big budgets, that is not the case. Pay-for-use billing and economies of scale are just two ways that the cloud has been made more affordable for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For pricing near or sometimes even less than standard infrastructure pricing, the cloud is available to most everyone.
With one significant catch.
Getting the most out of the cloud is often different than using a standard, conventional web server. Just as a well-trained driver is useful in getting peak performance from a sports car, a well-trained cloud technician is useful, even necessary, for getting peak performance out of the cloud. Thankfully, there are a number of cloud managed service providers available to help organizations without the necessary resources in-house.
It’s finding the right cloud managed services partner that is the tricky part. Just as your business is unique, so too are the cloud partners available for your consideration.
We will dig into why businesses are moving to the cloud and the top 5 questions you should be asking when looking for the right cloud managed service provider for your business.
Why SMBs are Adopting the Cloud
Moving to the cloud provides small and medium businesses with numerous benefits.
For starters, cloud deployments are often less expensive than traditional hosting. Those that are a similar price usually offer better performance and reliability.
Cloud hosting also gives greater flexibility and room to grow in most business cases. In fact, Hosting Tribunal reports that 57% of businesses are already using the cloud in some capacity, and the majority plan on increasing their cloud investment in the coming years.
Performance, price, and scalability make the cloud a destination for businesses of all sizes.
But getting the most out of the cloud without losing data, breaking your website, or interrupting your business is not for the faint of heart.
Having a cloud-managed service provider at your side is the best way to minimize both risk and anxiety while getting the most out of your cloud investments.
Top Five Questions for Choosing the Right Cloud Managed Service Provider
Choosing the right cloud managed service provider is quite often like choosing the right accountant, bookkeeper, or attorney for your business. The best choice will be one that understands your business, understands your industry, and is looking for ways to help your organization grow.
Here are the top five questions to ask when choosing the right cloud managed service provider:
1. Are They Guiding You Through the Process?
Understanding what’s available to your business and how it works is just part of the equation. You’ll also need to plan for how to migrate to the cloud, and how things will work on a daily basis. The right cloud managed service provider will educate you on options and help you make the right decisions along the way.
2. Do They Validate What You Actually Need?
Investing in technology for technology’s sake is rarely a good idea. In most cases, your infrastructure needs will be very specific. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when considering new technology. The right cloud managed service provider should make sure that your cloud investments have a purpose and fit your necessary requirements.
3. Do They Show Restraint But Plan For Growth?
Just as users often want to get their hands on the newest technology, the right cloud managed service provider should take the opposite track, since there are so many options for cloud services available. The right partner is the one that will have an eye on the future, but not let you get ahead of yourself in the present.
4. Are They Providing a Positive Return on Investment?
A positive return on investment is essential to most any business expense. Investments in the cloud are no different. Make sure that your expenditures, from the infrastructure itself to any additional fees for support or consultation, maximize your investment. The right cloud managed service provider should be able to detail cost-savings and improved efficiency and performance, so that you can be comfortable investing in the cloud.
5. Do They Support Your Business and Users Alike?
Some cloud managed service providers may not offer the support your business needs. From SLAs to their hours of operation, it is imperative that your chosen partner be available how you need them and when you need them, especially if your business has odd hours or services customers in different locations. Make sure your cloud partner offers support and service that align with your business needs.
Your Business in the Cloud
Liquid Web was founded two decades ago to help small and medium businesses get the most out of the Internet.
While technology has evolved a great deal in that time, our dedication to helping others get the most out of their infrastructure has never waivered. We’ve earned a reputation as the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting® for good reason! Our cloud technologists are ready to help your organization get the most out of your cloud investments.