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Many providers seem to have some skin in the cloud game these days. Navigating this crowded market can be tricky.

The web-scale cloud providers all claim to be the best. These cloud giants dominate the field, with the leading provider consistently capturing a third of the total cloud market.

However, these high-profile cloud providers are not your only option, and may not be the best option. Affordable, high-quality cloud offerings may be available locally.

Keeping in mind some specific criteria makes choosing the ideal cloud provider to support your business less challenging.

Here’s a list of 5 things to look for in a cloud provider:

1) A Strong Service Level Agreement (SLA)

A Strong Service Level Agreement (SLA) with FirstLight

Your relationship with a cloud provider is based on a formal contract that can be long and complicated. The SLAs contained in the agreement spell out all the cloud provider’s obligations. Before signing a contract or accepting their standard terms, you want to make sure it meets your company’s unique requirements.

The SLA should guarantee high availability and performance. Downtime from outages or routine maintenance by your provider is costly and erodes client and customer confidence in your business. An SLA should also specify who is responsible for security and governance. Companies in highly regulated industries need to make sure the provider can enforce compliance regulations. 

2) Robust Security and Data Protection

Robust Security and Data Protection with FirstLightFor a long time, security concerns prevented companies from adopting the cloud. Today, anxiety about security has lessened, but you still need to make sure that the cloud provider you choose has your back. Data is vulnerable to being compromised or stolen while in transit between your business and the cloud. A provider must have a secure network for transmitting data.

The cloud provider should also offer geographical diversity and physical security to guard against natural disasters, breaches, and accidental damage. You shouldn’t have to worry about your cloud infrastructure being affected by the same natural disaster your business experiences. The cloud should offer redundancy to enable a fast and complete recovery.

3) A Range of Services

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A cloud provider should offer a diverse portfolio of cloud services. When you partner with a provider that delivers many services, you gain the opportunity to expand your use of the cloud as your company evolves.

More recently, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) has emerged as an attractive option. DRaaS allows companies to achieve automatic failover and redundancy for backup and recovery after a natural disaster or devastating breach. 

4) Expert Migration Assistance

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Cloud migration can be time-consuming, expensive, and risky. The process can interrupt production, cutting into your bottom line. Data may be lost or compromised while in transit. Applications may not be compatible once they have been moved.

The right cloud provider will help you make this transition a smooth process. The provider should serve as a project manager, planning, executing, and testing the migration. Migration can be timed to reduce downtime. An experienced team can work with you to anticipate and overcome compatibility issues.

5) Superior Connectivity

FirstLight offers cloud services supported by a high-speed network.Because the cloud offers its services over the Internet, high quality connectivity is key. The ideal provider should offer cloud services supported by a high-speed, low latency network. The bandwidth and level of performance should be sufficient to handle demanding workloads without suffering bottlenecks due to latency issues.

When the cloud is supported by a high-speed, low-latency network, your company benefits from real-time data that can be used to reach actionable insights. Data reaches the cloud almost as soon as it is generated, ensuring that your information is current and accurate. 

You Better Shop Around

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Migrating to the cloud is a major decision. Choosing a cloud provider is a major commitment, so you need to devote ample time and consideration to exploring your options.

When it comes to cloud providers, FirstLight checks all the boxes. Our cloud offerings are supported by one of the largest fiber optic networks in the Northeast. Our fiber optic network enables us to provide fast, low-latency connectivity for demanding cloud workloads.

FirstLight allows your company to retain control of its cloud environment and still benefit from 24/7 support and state-of-the-art security. Our team will assist you in making a smooth migration to the cloud, where you can take advantage of a range of services, including hosting, backup, and disaster recovery. 

Having trouble deciding on a cloud provider? Try FirstLight on for size.

Try FirstLight on for Size