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The 4 questions you need to ask your cloud provider
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The 4 questions you need to ask your cloud provider 

The survey, conducted in the United Kingdom by cloud service firm ElasticHost, found that 80 per cent of IT decision makers “feel ripped off that cloud providers make them pay a premium for what they consider to be basic support.”

Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed also think cloud providers “could do more to meet expectations” on reducing the support and maintenance burden of in-house IT staff.

The survey may have been taken a year ago, but Jon Brinton, executive vice-president of Mitel’s cloud division, says the complaints are very much prevalent today.

“The survey highlights the areas where cloud collaboration tools fail to live up to their hype,” Brinton told ITIC. “There’s a growing sense of cloud dissatisfaction out there.”

He said some of the most common complaints he hears from companies that move over their business to Mitel is that:

  • Their previous cloud provider failed to provide good customer experience
  • The solution offered did not have a user interface
  • Lack of fundamental feature fit with existing systems and operations
  • Unsatisfactory service and support response
  • Longer path to ownership than expected

Brinton said, very often, businesses and IT decision makers are wooed by cloud providers with glowing promises “they can’t keep.”

He suggests companies look for “warning signs” that they are just being sold a load of pie in the sky.

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For instance, take the time to check what market the provider is serving. Find out if it is capable of handling the demands of your industry the size of operations you have or want to move into.

Mitel also came up with this four questions you can a cloud provider:

1. What happens when my network goes down?

Business continuity and disaster recovery are critical for many business applications. If your call center is unreachable for an hour, it begins to have a significant impact not only on bottom-line revenue but also on your brand’s image. A private cloud is ultimately only as strong as the wide area network (WAN) that supports it, while a public or hybrid cloud system can usually offer greater degrees of resiliency through geo-redundancy (i.e., hardware deployed in multiple, geographically distinct data centers).

2. Is my data really secure in the cloud?

This is where on-premises models tend to have the advantage because they allow the enterprise to have granular control over policy and security. This is something important to sectors such as finance and healthcare, where industry compliance is a necessity. On-premises systems can provide an important extra layer of security. Many enterprises opt for a hybrid cloud model for this reason, as it affords them the best mix of security (on-premises) and cost-efficient scalability (public cloud).

3. What happens if we outgrow our current cloud?

It’s not unusual to see an enterprise roll out communications into the cloud in stages, often beginning with voice and eventually adding unified communications (i.e., audio/video conferencing, collaboration, email, etc.) and even contact center. With a private cloud, enterprises still need to deploy hardware and software in order to add capacity, which takes time and reduces enterprise agility. With a hybrid cloud solution, enterprises can seamlessly scale up internal communications quickly without deploying additional hardware and—just as importantly for businesses with seasonal communications spikes—scale it down again.

4. How quickly can I add new offices and remote users?

In both public and private cloud models, automated provisioning is a key advantage, as it allows IT departments to quickly add new users or even entire offices to networked communications and applications using role-based templates. A hybrid cloud can simplify this process even further by providing secure access to those applications whether the office/user is connected to the corporate WAN or not. An example would be a contact center that uses a mix of on-premise and remote agents; using a hybrid cloud would allow all agents to access the same tools even if they’re using different networks to access them.

Finally, if you’re having second thoughts about the provider you currently have, Brinton said you can ask yourself this question:

Am I satisfied with the service I am getting for the price I am paying?

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