AUSTRALIA: Selecting a vendor to work with is a crucial step in any cloud project. The right vendor can make your IT systems more stable and user-friendly, and help you deliver a successful project. Choose the wrong vendor, and you could end up with security disasters, outages, or project failures.
Here are the top seven mistakes that businesses make when selecting a cloud vendor, according to InspectorJones.com, an independent IT advisory firm helping businesses select software and services.
Mistake 1: Selecting cloud services based on features alone
With cloud services, it's critical to choose a healthy vendor, who has good security practices, and a quality service. However, many businesses report that they didn't know the key things to look for until much later in the project.
"We've seen businesses shocked with unexpected costs for integration, testing, and ongoing maintenance," says Damian Bramanis from InspectorJones.com, "or support teams that aren't available when you need them. Vendor lock-in can also be a nasty surprise, where exit costs are so high it prevents you from leaving the service."
Mistake 2: Assuming services will fit your organisation
While a cloud service on its own might look great, many projects fail because people didn't consider how it will fit their workflow, corporate branding, integration with IT systems, mobile or desktop environment. If a new system forces unnecessary change to the way people work, or requires them to remember a new username and password, expect backlash.
Mistake 3: Spending too little time investigating other customers' experiences
"Often it's hard to know how a cloud service will perform in your organisation," says Bramanis, "and marketing information or sales demos don't always tell the real story. That's why we always recommend clients speak to other real-world customers."
Mistake 4: Underestimating the importance of user experience
A poorly implemented feature can be just as bad as if the feature weren't there at all. Yet many businesses still evaluate features alone instead of actually trialling a service to see how well those features are implemented.
Mistake 5: Not knowing which security measures and standards to look for
Many organisations have been hit by cloud service failures. "We often make assumptions about a cloud vendor's security practices," says Bramanis, "but we shouldn't assume anything – it's the cloud vendor's responsibility to prove their security to your satisfaction."
There are a host of different standards and certifications which can be used to help demonstrate security, privacy, and good corporate governance such as SSAE 16, SAS 70, TRUSTe or ISO27001.
Mistake 6: Not getting to know your cloud provider
"We've seen projects fail when a business expects something that a cloud provider just can't deliver," says Damian Bramanis. "This is most common with immature cloud service providers, or when their maintenance, support and development effort is under-resourced."
Mistake 7: Choosing the wrong vendor, because the right vendor never made the shortlist
"Businesses have told us they kick-off projects by talking to the vendors they know," says Bramanis, "or those recommended by a colleague. There isn't time to build an exhaustive shortlist. Often, the best solution wasn't even on the list - there were vendors who could have delivered a better solution at a lower cost."