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Buyers Guide To Cloud

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From the server room to the board room, there is a lot of talk about “the cloud” — and for good reason. The cloud offers organizations — and their information technology (IT) staffs, in particular — a …

From the server room to the board room, there is a lot of talk about “the cloud” — and for good reason. The cloud offers organizations — and their information technology (IT) staffs, in particular — a number of important benefits ranging from increased efficiencies to scalability. Taking advantage of these benefits requires understanding the various cloud models available and how they can best meet your organization’s specific needs.

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  • 1. 1 Buyer’s Guidecloud Solutions
  • 2. 2 From the server room to the board room, there is a lot of talk about “the cloud” — and for good reason. The cloud offers organizations — and their information technology (IT) staffs, in particular — a number of important benefits ranging from increased efficiencies to scalability. Taking advantage of these benefits requires understanding the various cloud models available and how they can best meet your organization’s specific needs. This guide provides information to help you do that, including an overview of cloud characteristics, deployment models and service models. Also included are evaluation criteria to help in selecting cloud services that can best meet your organization’s needs and in assessing prospective cloud service providers (CSPs) that can deliver what you need, when you need it, the way you need it. Intro
  • 3. 3 Understanding the realm of cloud computing is not an easy task as the cloud represents a large ecosystem of diverse models and technologies that are quickly changing as the industry advances. People are making up vocabulary along the way, and new cloud solutions seem to be introduced almost daily. One way to understand the “cloud” is to start with the definition outlined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). It attempts to encompass all of the various cloud approaches and provides a baseline understanding of the concepts and components involved. In Cloud Computing Synopsis and Recommendations (Special Publication 800-146), the NIST defines the “cloud” (also known as cloud computing) as: “… a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (for example, networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”1 From an IT infrastructure perspective, the cloud is similar to shared hosting. Computing resources such as servers, storage and networks are shared across multiple tenants and over a remote connection. However, the NIST calls out an important difference. The cloud is not a place or a technology. It is a usage model or philosophy that provides a way to transform business practices. Rather than making an up-front investment in IT infrastructure, a company can draw on IT services that are delivered as a service over a third-party managed network, typically the Internet. The company is then charged based on what it uses (like a utility), on a subscription basis or on a reservation system, which ensures access to resources when needed. The costs shift from capital expenditures to operating expenditures. What the Cloud Is and Isn’t
  • 4. 4 The cloud can be further defined by specific characteristics. The NIST lists out five it considers to be essential. However, all of these attributes may not be included in every cloud solution. They include: • On-demand self-service. On-demand self-service combines a service catalog and self-service portal to provide users with access, when needed, to a set of standardized cloud services and options. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.2 • Broad network access. Capabilities are available over a network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).3 The network can be public (the Internet) or private (dedicated lines or Multiprotocol Label Switching [MPLS] infrastructure, for example). Response-time guarantees depend upon this connectivity. Some cloud service providers offer dedicated links to their data centers and provide appropriate service level agreements (SLAs) for uptime or response time. Others might implement a best-effort guarantee for uptime or response time, and provide tools for monitoring application performance and response time, so that users can plan their bandwidth needs. • Resource pooling. The cloud services provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with Cloud Characteristics
  • 5. 5 Cloud Characteristics different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.4 • Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be rapidly and elastically provisioned, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.5 • Measured service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.6
  • 6. 6 Another characteristic commonly associated with the cloud is “virtualization.” In the IT world, virtualization is the creation of a virtual machine (VM) in which to execute workloads. Virtualization software is used to run multiple VMs on a single physical server to provide the same functions as multiple physical machines. Known as a hypervisor, this virtualization software performs the abstraction of the hardware to the individual VMs. It slips between the physical machine hardware and a guest operating system, and gives the illusion that it is running directly on the hardware. The hypervisor can create this illusion for multiple guests at the same time, allowing multiple VMs to share the same physical hardware. Management software can operate in concert with the hypervisor to provide advanced features such as VM migration, load balancing or disaster recovery. Cloud environments can leverage virtualization as the basis for running services. The consolidation provided by virtualization, along with provisioning automation, creates a high level of utilization and reuse, ultimately yielding a very effective use of capital equipment. The virtualization factor 6
  • 7. 7 In addition to possessing specific characteristics, the cloud is classified by how it is deployed. The most common classifications are public, private, community and hybrid. The different deployment models each present a number of advantages and disadvantages associated with the scale, cost and availability of cloud resources. (See the Cloud Deployment Models Comparison Chart that follows this section for more information.) Public cloud. In a public cloud, sometimes called a multi-tenant or enterprise cloud, the infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large group. It may be owned, operated and managed by a business that provides cloud services, an academic organization, a government organization or by some combination of these organizations. A public cloud exists on the premises of the organization providing the cloud services. Often referred to as utility computing, a public cloud enables consumers to use computing resources as they would a utility. They pay only for what they use, and get the impression of unlimited capacity, available on demand. They trust the cloud provider will maintain the necessary infrastructure to run their applications and provide the requested service at their required Service Level Agreement (SLA). Private cloud. Also referred to as an internal or single-tenant cloud, a private cloud is deployed for the exclusive use of a single organization. It is accessed from behind the organization’s existing firewall. A private cloud may be owned, managed Cloud Deployment models
  • 8. 8 Cloud Deployment models and operated by the organization, a third party or both. It can also exist on premise or off premise. When a third party manages it, it is called a managed private cloud. When it is hosted and operated off premises, it is called a hosted private cloud. Among the reasons companies may choose a private cloud are: • To leverage existing hardware investments. Consolidated IT resources, automation, self-service and better integrated management tools also reduce total costs and operating expenses. • Concerns about data security and issues of trust if multiple organizations were sharing the same resources. • A preference or need for exclusive use of hardware to handle specific workloads or to obtain higher availability of systems and applications during specific times. Community cloud. The infrastructure of a community cloud is shared by several organizations and supports a specific community that has shared concerns, such as security requirements and policy and compliance considerations. It may be owned, operated and managed by the one or more of the organizations, a third party and or some combination of them. Like a private cloud, a community cloud can exist on premise or off premise. Hybrid cloud. Like its name suggests, a hybrid cloud combines two or more cloud types (private, community or public) that remain distinct but share technologies that enable porting of data and applications from one to the other. Companies that use hybrid clouds typically have the security features and customization options of a private cloud but can still take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud. Businesses may use certain applications in a public cloud and then migrate them to a private cloud as their needs change. The phrase “federated cloud” is sometimes used interchangeably with “hybrid cloud.” A federated cloud is a combination of several internal and external clouds that are put together to meet specific needs. While federated cloud has been around longer, hybrid cloud is becoming the more popular term to use.
  • 9. 9 In addition to the aforementioned cloud deployment models, you may also encounter “specialty” clouds. These are not cloud deployment models, but rather clouds that have been created to meet specific needs. They typically employ one of the four primary deployment models specified by the NIST. For example, a number of companies offer what are called disaster recovery clouds or simply recovery clouds. These are cloud solutions devised for disaster recovery purposes. There are also production clouds, which are structured and marketed to specifically to handle production workloads. Production workloads typically require a cloud environment that can deliver compliance- grade performance and security. Still others are marketed based on their ability to meet various regulatory requirements, such as a PCI DSS cloud (marketed to companies that handle credit card data) or a HIPAA-compliant cloud (marketed to companies in the healthcare sector that must meet HIPAA/ HITECH requirements. In addition, there are “branded” cloud services that are simply branded in a certain way for marketing purposes. A good example is “Creative Cloud,” a subscription service from Adobe® that gives users access to a collection of software for graphic design video editing, web development, photography and cloud services. Yet another cloud type you’re likely to hear much more about in the near future is the intercloud. It is often defined as an “interconnected global cloud of clouds.” In simple terms, it is the idea of interoperability between clouds. Both the IEEE and NIST have been involved in developing standards to support the concept, including defining topology, functions and governance for cloud-to- cloud interoperability and federation. The other clouds
  • 10. 10 The following provides an at-a-glance comparison of the four primary cloud deployment models. Public Cloud, AKA Enterprise Cloud or Multi-tenant Cloud Private Cloud, AKA Internal or Single-tenant Cloud Community Cloud Hybrid Cloud In a public cloud, the infrastructure is made available to the general public or a large group. A private cloud is deployed exclusively or a single organization. It is accessed from behind the organization’s exist- ing firewall. A community cloud is a hybrid form of private cloud shared by several organizations that have common concerns, such as security requirements or compliance considerations. A hybrid cloud combines two or more cloud models to create a customized solution based on business needs. The infrastructures remain distinct but share technologies that enable porting of data and applications. Whose Cloud is It? It may be owned, oper- ated and managed by a company or other organization (like the government) or by a cloud services provider. Whose Cloud is It? The community cloud may be jointly owned by the community mem- bers or by a third-party cloud provider that pro- visions a public cloud with limited access. Whose Cloud Is It? It may be owned, operated and managed by one or more (or all) of the organizations or a cloud services provider. Whose Cloud Is It? It can be owned, operated and managed by a company or organization, by a third-party provider or by some combination of both. Where Does It Live? A public cloud exists on the premises of the organization providing the cloud services. Where Does It Live? A private cloud can exist on premise or off premise. Where Does It Live? A community cloud can exist on premise or off premise. Where Does It Live? A hybrid cloud can exist on premise or off premise or both. Cloud comparison chart
  • 11. 11 Public Cloud, AKA Enterprise Cloud or Multi-tenant Cloud Private Cloud, AKA Internal or Single-tenant Cloud Community Cloud Hybrid Cloud Who Wants or Needs It? • You want to expand your testing or development environment. • You need the ability to scale compute resources up and down, often quickly. • Your standardized workload for applications is used by a lot of people. • You are doing collaboration projects. Who Wants or Needs It? • You want to leverage existing hardware investments. • You have concerns about data security and issues of trust if multiple organizations were sharing the same resources. • You prefer or need exclusive use of hardware to handle certain workloads or to obtain higher availability of systems and applications during specific times. • You need robust data segmentation capabilities. Who Wants or Needs It? • You are in a group of trade associations, non-profits or other organizations with similar security, legal and compliance issues. For example, you could be part of a group of healthcare organizations that require a HIPAA- compliant cloud environment. • You want to test- drive some high-end security products or test out some features of a public cloud environment. Instead of provisioning space in a public cloud, you can work on a cloud platform that is secure, “dedicated” and even compliant with certain regulations. Who Wants or Needs It? • You want to provide the public cloud to your customers but use a private cloud for internal IT. • Your company offers services tailored for different vertical markets. You can use a public cloud to interact with the clients but keep their data secured within a private cloud. • You need to store sensitive information and mission-critical processes in a private cloud, and non- critical information and processes in the public cloud, or to use different cloud models for disaster recovery. • You want to migrate your applications between cloud environments as your needs change. Cloud comparison chart
  • 12. 12 Public Cloud, AKA Enterprise Cloud or Multi-tenant Cloud Private Cloud, AKA Internal or Single-tenant Cloud Community Cloud Hybrid Cloud Advantages A public cloud doesn’t require a huge upfront investment. It can be deployed quickly and offers tremendous economies of scale. You can operate on a low-cost, pay-as-you-go model or a reservation model. Advantages The private cloud offers tight security controls, customization and scale-up potential. Advantages Economics of scale are realized as multiple organizations partner together. But unlike with a public cloud, you have complete control over which companies are sharing resources with you. A community cloud also presents the opportunity for knowledge sharing between organizations, as data is housed in the same area. Advantages Hybrid clouds typically have the security features and customization options of a private cloud but take advantage of the scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud. By spreading things out over a hybrid cloud, you keep each aspect of your business in the most efficient environment possible. “Cloud bursting” allows you to run an application runs in a private cloud but “burst” to a public cloud when demand increases. Cloud comparison chart
  • 13. 13 Public Cloud, AKA Enterprise Cloud or Multi-tenant Cloud Private Cloud, AKA Internal or Single-tenant Cloud Community Cloud Hybrid Cloud Disadvantages You may sacrifice some control over visibility and data security in exchange for better efficiencies. It may not best option if you deal with highly sensitive or regulated information. Disadvantages Private clouds are more expensive than public clouds. If you’re creating one on your own, you’ll need a significant level and degree of engage- ment to virtualize the business environment. Disadvantages Your challenges will include the allocation of costs and responsibilities, governance and security. Multiple users and access points must remain under tight control. Don’t store private or proprietary information in a community cloud as others may be able to access it. Disadvantages You have to keep track of multiple cloud security platforms and ensure that all aspects of your business can communi- cate with each other. Getting a hybrid cloud project off the ground means dealing with migration and integration challenges. Working with individual applications in hybrid cloud management can be complex Cloud comparison chart
  • 14. 14 • IaaS. The IaaS model provides network access to processing, storage, networks and other traditional computing resources that allow the customer to deploy and run arbitrary software. The customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).7 In simple terms, IaaS offers the raw computing, storage and network infrastructure so that customers can load their own software, including operating systems and applications, on to this infrastructure. IaaS providers typically supply resources on-demand from their large resource pools installed in data centers. For wide-area connectivity, customers can use either the Internet or dedicated virtual private networks. IaaS offers the greatest degree of control of the three models with scaling and elasticity the responsibility of the customer. Pricing is typically on a usage or reservation basis. • PaaS. The PaaS model provides a software platform on which users can build their own applications while hosting them on the PaaS provider’s infrastructure. The software platform is used as a development framework to build, debug and deploy applications. It often provides middleware-style services such as database and component services for use by applications. With this model, the customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly application hosting environment configurations.8 Another area of confusion regarding the cloud is the variety of cloud service delivery models available. Again, the NIST has set some definitions in place to help distinguish the three most common cloud service delivery models: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Service Models
  • 15. 15 PaaS is a true cloud model in that applications do not need to worry about the scalability of the underlying hardware and software. When enterprises write their application to run over the PaaS provider’s software platform, the elasticity and scalability is guaranteed transparently by the PaaS platform. • SaaS. In the SaaS model, cloud providers install and operate application software in the cloud. The application is licensed to customers (single or multiple) either as a service-on-demand, through a subscription, in a “pay-as-you-go” model, or at no charge when there is opportunity to generate revenue from streams other than the user. Cloud users then access the software from cloud clients. The cloud users do not manage the cloud infrastructure and platform on which the application is running. This eliminates the need to install and run the application on their computers, simplifying maintenance and support. The customer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but does have control over operating systems, storage, deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).9 SaaS saves the complexity of software installation, maintenance, upgrades and patches for a company’s IT team because the software is managed centrally at the SaaS provider’s facilities. Monitoring application delivery performance is the responsibility of the SaaS provider. The pricing for the SaaS model is typically on a per-user basis for a fixed bandwidth and storage. Service Models
  • 16. 16 • Network as a service (NaaS). NaaS provides cloud users with network/ transport connectivity services and/or inter-cloud network connectivity services. Services include flexible and extended VPN and bandwidth on demand. • Communications as a Service (CaaS). CaaS is an outsourced enterprise communications solution that can be leased from a single vendor. Communications can include voice over IP (VoIP), instant messaging (IM) and collaboration and videoconference applications using fixed and mobile devices. The CaaS provider is responsible for all hardware and software management and offers guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS). CaaS allows businesses to selectively deploy communications devices and modes on a pay-as-you-go, as-needed basis. This approach eliminates the large capital investment and ongoing overhead for a system whose capacity may often exceed or fall short of current demand. With new technologies and business needs emerging, a number of other cloud service models are taking shape as well. Stay tuned for more information on service models such as: • Network as a service (NaaS) • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DraaS) • Storage as a service (STaaS) • Security as a service (SECaaS) • Desktop as a service (DaaS) • Database as a service (DBaaS) • Test environment as a service (TEaaS) • API as a service (APIaaS) • Backend as a service (BaaS) • Integrated development environment as a service (IDEaaS) • Integration platform as a service (IPaaS) New Service Models While IaaS, PaaS and SaaS are the most common models, in 2012 two additional cloud service models were officially named as basic cloud computing models by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.10 They are:
  • 17. 17 Just as there are different cloud deployment and service models, there are different ways of billing for cloud services. Each CSP also can have its own variation on these billing models. The two most common billing models, particularly for IaaS, are utility billing and reservation billing. With utility billing, also referred to as “pay as you go billing,” the customer only pays for the resources used, similar to how customers are charged for using electricity, water or other utilities. The main idea of this pricing configuration is to pay for the actual use with no other commitments. Among the disadvantages of this model is that usage rates often quickly exceed planning parameters, so IT departments can be hit with a huge, unexpected bill. With the reservation billing model, often referred to as the “use it or lose it” model, a customer pays for the reserved resources regardless of use. The resources are always there for the customer’s usage. The reservation billing model requires a long-term commitment but offers discounts based on various factors. As with the entire cloud ecosystem, cloud billing models will continue to change to meet the needs of both customers and CSPs. Billing Models
  • 18. 18 • Availability • Performance • Disaster recovery expectations • Access to the data • Change management processes • Dispute resolution processes Service Level Agreements One of the most important aspects of the cloud is the Service Level Agreement (SLA). The SLA sets the expectation for how cloud resources will be delivered and guarantees that the expectation will be met for uptime and reliability. It creates a strong initial set of ground rules, and plan for exceptions from the start. This includes the minimum acceptable level of service that must be maintained in worst case scenarios. The SLA also serves as a tool for protecting the stability of the service, protecting the assets of the customer and minimizing expenses should drastic measures be required. A comprehensive, well thought through SLA will typically specify the following:
  • 19. 19 Security • PCI DSS compliant cloud infrastructure • HIPAA-compliant cloud infrastructure • Other regulatory requirements (specify) • Routine, comprehensive audits and risk assessment for customer data • Control access to your cloud resources at a granular level • Integration with your existing identity and access management systems • Use of a multi-factor authentication when accessing cloud resources • Dedicated, hardware-based key management Infrastructure • Ability to deploy applications close to your customers • Ability to maintain and ensure data locality • Fast downloads and lower latency connections for your customers • Applications immediately accessible during outages with low latency Selecting the right cloud There are numerous considerations for determining what kind of cloud deployment and service model makes the most sense for your organization. Chief among them are your organization’s business requirements. In addition, you’ll need to assess how critical your various applications and data are, what kind of workloads you’ll be running in the cloud and any regulatory requirements your might have. Review the deployment and service models previously discussed, along with the information on billing models and service level agreements. The Cloud Comparison Chart will also serve as a good resource. Next, use the following capabilities list to further assess your requirements for a cloud service. While not all inclusive, it will provide a starting point for determining what you need.
  • 20. 20 Compute • General-purpose compute instances • Compute-optimized instances • Memory-optimized instances • Storage-optimized instances • Micro instances • GPU instances • Resize instances at any time • Self provisioning • Billing – pay as you go, subscription, reserved or other • The freedom to access 100,000s of cores, only when you need them • Easily assign static public IP addresses to your instances • Control your IP networking configuration • Create multiple private and public subnets • Attach multiple network interfaces to compute resources • Control traffic to and from your compute resources at a granular level • Hardware-based virtual private networking connection to cloud resources • High-speed, low-latency, private, dedicated connectivity between on-premises and cloud infrastructure • Automatically scale up or down to meet customer demand • Deploy applications in physically separate locations • Automatically balance variable request loads • An operating system designed for the cloud • Red Hat Enterprise Linux • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server • Ubuntu Server • Run Windows Server in the cloud • Run Microsoft SQL Server in the cloud • Oracle Databases and middleware • Microsoft business applications • Microsoft license mobility • Powerful multi-core processors • High speed interconnects • Physical proximity between instances Selecting the right cloud
  • 21. 21 • Obtain information about the health of your instances • Deploy to hardware dedicated only to you Storage • Highly durable storage for all types of data • Archival storage for infrequently accessed data • Versioning • Multi-factor delete • Encryption • Time-limited access to objects • Audit logs • Define policies to delete old data, or move to archival storage • Cost control • Back up your data to the cloud automatically • Corporate file sharing integrated with the cloud • Direct attached, ephemeral storage • Persistent storage • Persistent storage, with provisioned I/O performance • Durable snapshots Content Delivery • Deliver your website content to users with low latency • Deliver software or large files to end users • Deliver streaming of pre-recorded media, progressive download or events to end users • Control which users can access content Database • Managed Microsoft SQL Server Database • Managed MySQL Database • Managed Oracle Database • Managed PostgreSQL Database • Provisioned I/O throughput • Easy scaling • High availability • Read replicas • Bring your own licensing • Flexible pricing options • Security and compliance • Managed non-relational database • Throughput based automatic provisioning • Built-in high availability • Managed in-memory cache • Petabyte-scale managed data warehouse service • Easily resize your data warehouse • Fast query performance regardless of the size of your data set • Security and Compliance • Use the tools you are already familiar with Selecting the right cloud
  • 22. 22 Application Services • Managed search service • Managed queuing service • Managed notification service • Managed workflow service • Bulk email delivery • Media transcoding • Managed application streaming Deployment and Management • Deploy infrastructure with templates • Container-based deployment • Application lifecycle management • Built-in monitoring tools with alerts • Consistent management tools Development • IDE integration • SDKs for the languages you use Support • 24/7/365 technical support • Regular, actionable guidance on how to optimize cloud infrastructure and reduce costs • Direct channels of communication and support for launches and major events Integration with Existing Infrastructure • Control your IP networking configuration • Create multiple private and public subnets • Highly durable automatic data replication, and recovery • Move large amounts of data to and from the cloud cost-effectively with portable storage devices • Easily import virtual machines into the cloud • Hardware-based virtual private networking connection to cloud resources • High speed, low latency, private, dedicated connectivity between on- premises and cloud infrastructure Selecting the right cloud
  • 23. 23 Big Data • Managed Hadoop workloads • Dynamic resizing for Hadoop clusters • A choice of Hadoop distributions • Analytics in your choice of language • Established and growing analytics ecosystem • Managed non-relational database • Petabyte-scale managed data warehouse service • Durable storage for large data volumes • Query all your data • Integration across your data formats • Unlimited scale NoSQL data stores • High performance from solid state drives • Arbitrarily complex data processing workflows • Easy integration across multiple big data services • Low cost, high performance data warehousing • Easy integration with the ETL and business intelligence software you already use • Low latency, high bandwidth networking • Public datasets in the cloud • Real-time processing of streaming data Selecting the right cloud
  • 24. 24 Choosing the right cloud service provider (CSP) can be just as important as selecting the right cloud services. Think of the relationship with a CSP as partnership. You want to choose a partner that you can trust and that will be able to accommodate your needs — even if they change. Due diligence is a must. Make sure you understand what your business requirements are before seeking out CSPs that can meet them. Don’t just sign with the first one that meets your requirements. If you are not sure where to start, consider using a Gartner magic quadrant as starting points for compiling a list of prospective CSPs. Gartner magic quadrants are a culmination of research in a specific market — such as cloud-enabled hosting — and offer a broad view of the relative positions of the market’s competitors. By applying a graphical treatment and consistent evaluation criteria, a magic quadrant can help you quickly assess how well various providers are executing against their stated visions. You can also consult any of the numerous Internet resources and industry publications out there. Keep in mind, however, that most of these will tend to focus on the big name players in the cloud industry. In many cases, the less well known CSPs may be better aligned with your needs. Once you’ve compiled your preliminary list of CSPs, compile a list of key questions and interview them as if they were applying for a job. How long have they been in business? Do they undergo standard industry audits? What security processes do they have in place? Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. Depending on how your organization typically procures professional services, it may make sense to create and send out a request for proposals (RFP). Be sure to involve your IT staff and IT security professionals in developing the RFP and in reviewing the proposals submitted. Whether you go the RFP route or not, get references. Tour CSPs’ facilities if possible. Ask to see documentation of certifications, audits and various processes. There’s a lot of hype in the marketplace. Cut through it by insisting on proof to back up any claims. Choose wisely 24
  • 25. 25 Learn More About Cloud Services Peak 10 can help you learn even more about the cloud, including how the cloud can help your business operate, maintain and improve operations; enhance technology planning; manage capital and operational finance and even meet regulatory requirements. Request a free cloud consultation at peak10.com or call as at 866.473.2510. Sources 1 http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-146/sp800-146.pdf 2 http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-146/sp800-146.pdf 3 Ibid 4 http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-146/sp800-146.pdf 5 Ibid 6 Ibid 7 http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-146/sp800-146.pdf 8 Ibid 9 Ibid 10 http://www.itu.int/en/Pages/default.aspx Choose Wisely 25
  • 26. 26 WouldYoulike a free trial consultation?contact: 866.473.2510 Live Chat Now

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