28 Sep 2022

Six factors to consider when comparing cloud hosting companies

As many businesses know, managing an on-site IT data centre is resource-intensive and high maintenance. Luckily, cloud technology has revolutionised IT operations, as adopting the cloud can do wonders for your IT resources, efficiency and budget if implemented correctly. Having an optimal cloud architecture, especially if you choose to have a private cloud hosted on your premises, depends on expert insights and advice from an experienced cloud provider. 

Leveraging the support of a cloud hosting company can help you fully capitalise on the opportunities the cloud offers. But choosing the wrong cloud hosting provider, or putting all your resources and assets onto one single platform, can cost your organisation - not only monetarily, but also in terms of data security and infrastructure stability.

To help you avoid making the wrong decision when it comes to partnering with a cloud hosting company, we’ve outlined the top six factors to consider when comparing providers.

Why should businesses partner with a cloud hosting company?

Gartner estimates that by 2025, over 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms - a 30% increase from 2021. This is no surprise considering the vast benefits the cloud offers, and many businesses have started investigating cloud hosting companies to partner with to take full advantage of these benefits. 

Outsourcing your IT infrastructure or application needs to a cloud hosting provider not only eases infrastructure management woes but also offers easy data storage, security and hardware access, letting you focus on your core business objectives while enabling you to tap into the IT resources you need, as and when required. 

However, our recent research has revealed that many businesses struggle with poor cloud performance due to a lack of optimisation, which is costing them 21%-50% of their revenue on average. Despite this, only 2% of businesses plan on changing cloud hosting providers in the future. This shows that partnering with the right cloud hosting company is integral to your overall cloud strategy success and ensuring you get the most out of your cloud infrastructure.

The six key factors to consider when comparing cloud hosting companies

When evaluating cloud partners, it’s important to carefully consider which cloud hosting company would be best suited to your business and its needs. Here are the top six considerations to keep in mind when exploring cloud hosting companies to partner with, to ensure you choose the provider that is most aligned with your unique requirements.

1. Reliability and performance

Cloud technology is known for being reliable and performant, and when it comes to assessing the reliability and performance of a cloud hosting company, look at their computing, storage and network capabilities, as well as factors like network redundancy, low latency and high fault tolerance. It’s also worth inquiring about their content distribution network and whether they can help you efficiently serve clients and customers in various locations.

Downtime is an evitability that every cloud provider will experience at some point, but how they handle this downtime and how their support teams resolve issues is a key indicator of their service reliability. Ensure the provider offers monitoring and backup capabilities to support swift issue resolution, and be sure to note what data is backed up and how frequently. 

Having a full understanding of a cloud hosting provider’s business continuity and disaster recovery process, over and above the capabilities of their architecture, will help you decipher just how reliable their services are and whether they are performant enough to meet your needs.

2. Cloud hosting plan costs

The opportunity to save on costs is another benefit that cloud businesses can look forward to once they’ve correctly implemented their cloud infrastructure. Because most cloud providers offer services on a pay-as-you-go basis, you can prevent resource wastage and only pay for the resources you need, with the flexibility to increase or decrease them as required.

When exploring the costs of plans offered by cloud hosting companies, here are some must-haves to look out for:

  • A transparent pricing breakdown that is clear, easy to understand and has no hidden fees

  • Flexible billing that can be adjusted to ensure your requirements are covered

  • No lock-ins

  • Easy scalability and stoppage of services, as required

  • Discounts for commitments to longer time periods/greater computational resource usage

An important element of your cloud costs to consider is the migration of your data. Effective data migration is crucial to ensuring your transition to the cloud is smooth and doesn’t risk your data being lost or compromised. Check whether the cloud hosting company you’re considering offers migration support, and how much this will cost you in addition to the pay-per-use billing you can anticipate once in the cloud.

3. Cloud security and compliance

In an increasingly complex regulatory environment, ensuring your cloud hosting partner complies with industry-recognised compliance standards and frameworks is vital. Ask the provider you’re considering for their compliance licences and certificates, especially ISO 27001, and check if they’re DMTF, RDS CAL and PCI DSS compliant, too. 

When it comes to cloud security, assess the security parameters the cloud hosting company provides, and consider these in parallel to your own data security needs. For example, does your data reside in different locations and as such, need to meet specific data residency requirements? Or do you operate in an industry where data security is a key regulatory obligation, in which case a highly secure private cloud may be better suited to your needs? 

Some key security mechanisms that you need to look for with any cloud hosting company include:

  • Certified firewalls

  • Multilayer security

  • Multi-factor authentication

  • Data encryption for both data in transit and data at rest

  • Intrusion/threat detection and prevention

  • Access and identify control management  

Additionally, you’ll want to be clear on what the cloud hosting company’s data loss and breach response processes are and what response times are included in your SLA, as well as what each party is responsible for when it comes to security.

4. Customer support packages

Speaking of SLAs, customer support is another important consideration when assessing cloud hosting companies. Depending on the provider and your chosen plan, customer support can vary in terms of availability and how support is offered. Some plans provide round-the-clock support while others may have waiting periods, or only have support available during specific times of the day. Additionally, support can be offered over the phone, or via chat or email. 

Here, it’s necessary to look at your business requirements and what level of support you need to address issues as and when they arise. If you have key business dependencies that require swift issue resolution, it may be best to opt for a customer support plan that offers 24/7 support. Also, be sure to read the terms of the SLA you have in place with your cloud hosting provider carefully, as it defines the level of service you are entitled to receive, as well as the liability of the provider should they fail to meet this requirement.

5. Does the cloud hosting company offer hybrid and multi-cloud solutions?

Cloud infrastructure is set up in different ways depending on your needs, so a key offering to look out for is whether a potential cloud hosting company provides hybrid and multi-cloud solutions. 

“Multi-cloud” refers to the use of services and infrastructure from more than one cloud provider, usually as a mix of public and private cloud services in a single network architecture. Multi-cloud enables businesses to choose different cloud services from different cloud providers for different use cases, therefore not limiting them to a single service or provider. This flexibility allows for many different business cases to be met with no compromise. 

“Hybrid cloud”  refers to the use of both on-premises and cloud-based resources and the easy flow of information between the architectures. Hybrid cloud allows for greater control and customisation in your IT infrastructure, while still offering the scalability and cost efficiencies synonymous with public cloud. Agile business models with intricate operational requirements, or businesses that work across industry verticals with different requirements, can benefit most from hybrid cloud solutions. 

So depending on your business needs and industry requirements, multi-cloud or hybrid cloud may be a better fit for you, in which case you need to ensure your cloud hosting company can support your cloud preferences with ease.

6. Flexibility and scalability

Whether you’re still preparing to migrate your systems to the cloud or looking to move your virtual workloads into containers, flexibility and scalability are both necessary requirements for any cloud hosting company to consider. 

Ideally, you’ll want to partner with a cloud-agnostic provider who has access to multiple cloud services, to easily obtain scalability if you need to adapt your systems for greater flexibility. Use cases here include increased demand on your workloads or needing to move certain assets into a private cloud, for example.

In terms of containerisation, if you’ve decided to move workloads into containers, you’ll need to assess the container orchestration and management, and serverless architecture capabilities of the cloud hosting company you’re considering. With solutions like Kubernetes managed services, you can partition your applications and systems and easily scale individual components without the entire architecture being affected. Again, the flexibility and scalability offered by your cloud hosting provider are key to a successful microservices strategy.

Summary

The cloud offers numerous benefits to businesses looking to optimise their IT infrastructure management and costs, and having an expert cloud hosting partner can help you get the most out of your cloud architecture.

Not all cloud hosting companies are the same, however, and partnering with the wrong provider can hinder more than help your objectives. This is why evaluating cloud hosting providers against key services and offerings like the above six are vital for ensuring you make the right choice. 

By fully defining your business needs, both now and in the future, and using the above six considerations as an assessment metric, you can confidently assess the suitability of any cloud hosting company for your current needs and any future scalability requirements. This way, you can be sure of your decision when you do partner with a provider and start harnessing the benefits of the cloud.

BSO’s cloud hosting capabilities

With an unparalleled global network infrastructure that spans over 40 cloud on-ramps, 33 countries and 240 points of presence, BSO is an infrastructure and connectivity provider of choice for many businesses. 

With the capabilities and expertise to provide both off-the-shelf and bespoke solutions, BSO offers a fast, reliable and robust IaaS platform, including a Private Cloud solution option, that enables business success. Combining physical products with highly specialised consulting and managed services, we give our customers an optimal cloud experience, no matter their industry. 

The benefits of our services and expertise include:

  • 99.99% network availability

  • DevOps resources for configuration and management (including for containerised workloads) 

  • Flexible support plans to ensure you have all the resources you need to succeed

  • SSD and NVMe storage for guaranteed high IOPs

  • 24/7 Managed Services for ongoing hardware monitoring and project management

If you’d like to explore how our cloud hosting capabilities can power your business performance, contact our experts, or learn more about how to choose the right cloud solution for your needs with our handy Cloud Services Comparison Guide.

Download BSO’s Ultimate Cloud Services Comparison guide

ABOUT BSO

The company was founded in 2004 and serves the world’s largest financial institutions. BSO is a global pioneering infrastructure and connectivity provider, helping over 600 data-intensive businesses across diverse markets, including financial services, technology, energy, e-commerce, media and others. BSO owns and provides mission-critical infrastructure, including network connectivity, cloud solutions, managed services and hosting, that are specific and dedicated to each customer served.

The company’s network comprises 240+ PoPs across 33 markets, 40+ cloud on-ramps, is integrated with all major public cloud providers and connects to 75+ on-net internet exchanges and 30+ stock exchanges. The team of experts works closely with customers in order to create solutions that meet the detailed and specific needs of their business, providing the latency, resilience and security they need regardless of location.

BSO is headquartered in Ireland, and has 11 offices across the globe, including London, New York, Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. Access our website and find out more information: www.bso.co