Live from Cloud Partners: Session Overview—Choosing Your Cloud Service Provider Wisely

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Cloud Partners is delivering some great information today. Another informative cloud services session titled, “Choosing the Right Cloud Service Provider” gave tons of great advice for making that choice.

This particular session was presented by Manon Buettner, Principal of Nuvalo, and Jo Peterson, Director of Converged Cloud & Data at Teleproviders, one of Windstream’s valuable partners. The presenters reviewed the cloud supplier landscape, offering not only great tips for channel partners in search of the right cloud provider, but even a reference to the magnificent “liger” (think “Napoleon Dynamite” here— she even had a liger slide.) So we were entertained, too.

Customer needs often dictate which cloud service provider is best suited for the job, but above that, big brands share the space with startup tech companies, each with different skill sets. The question becomes, how can channel partners filter through cloud provider capabilities, selecting the one that best fits their needs, but more importantly, the one that can best meet the needs of their customers?

Buettner gave some brief statistics on what types of business customers are using cloud technologies today: 48% are mid-sized companies, 38% are small businesses and 26% are large enterprise customers. It’s clear that this technology is a must for businesses of all sizes.

The reference to the liger makes perfect sense, basically comparing the greatness of the lion/tiger creature as an even more fantastic animal in its new, whole form, than separately as a standalone lion or tiger. In comparing the ever-evolving cloud technology world to the liger, Buettner points out how much stronger, faster, flexible and capable the total solutions are.

Buettner’s “What to Look for in a Provider” list was my biggest take-away from today’s session (I know, you thought it was the liger.)  She breaks down eight primary factors to consider when choosing a CSP, as follows:

  1. Tenure in the industry: How long has the provider been in the industry? Do they have a history and what’s their level of expertise?
  2. Breadth of offerings: Where’s the “sweet spot?” What can they provide that will really increase your product portfolio?
  3. Diverse footprint: What does their coverage look like? Are they national? Or regional? Maybe even global?
  4. Performance and scalability: What’s their installation timeframe and how important is that to you? Can you scale your services to support your needs, and if so, how quickly can those changes be made?
  5. Security and compliance: Is security included or is it an add-on? What are your compliance requirements and can your partner help you meet them?
  6. Service levels and support: What’s their SLA and have you checked our past performance and uptime? Where’s your support team located and can they outline the support plan for you?
  7. Pricing and term flexibility: How customized is the pricing? What kind of contract terms do you require and will the provider work with you? Are they agile enough to meet your needs?
  8. Channel friendly: Does the provider have experience with channel partners, with a firm understanding of end-user needs? Do they have good relationships with their channel partners?  

Windstream is a cloud service provider with a long history of offering enterprise-class cloud computing solutions powered by state-of-the-art data centers located throughout the nation—providing the power and stability businesses rely on. If you’re considering moving to the cloud, talk to a Windstream cloud expert. With expertise in cloud technologies as well as our strong relationships with our channel partners, we can help you find just the right solution.