The Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, and businesses that are searching for a successful cloud services provider (CSP) can learn a lot from this year's top NFL teams.
What does it take to find a "super" CSP? Here are 10 things you should look for in any CSP to ensure that your business receives championship-caliber support, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Much in the same way that a Super Bowl-winning quarterback knows how to secure the football, your company needs to protect its data at all times. Entrusting your company's data to a CSP, however, can sometimes be difficult, especially for those who are skeptical about a service provider's security policies. Conversely, IBM (IBM) points out that a CSP that recognizes the importance of data protection beyond physical security or firewalls is much more likely to take the necessary steps to protect your company's data year-round.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick understand how to put their players in position to succeed, but can your CSP do the same? Consider how your CSP defines "interoperability." Typically, interoperability refers to the ability for various applications or systems to work together to help your business meet its goals, and a successful CSP should be able to overcome interoperability obstacles day after day.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rarely hone in on a single wide receiver; instead, they are flexible and are willing to take what opposing defenses give them. Your CSP, meanwhile, should be flexible too; in fact, a recent 451 Research study revealed the demand for "flexible computing" is one of the factors that is expected to drive the cloud services market's growth over the next few years.
Both of this year's Super Bowl teams have plenty of big-game experience (the Seahawks are defending Super Bowl champions, while Super Bowl XLIX will be the Patriots' sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2001). Reviewing a CSP's experience is important because it enables your business to see how a service provider has performed in the past, and ultimately, allows you to get a better idea about how a service provider can help your company in the future.
Both the Seahawks and Patriots have football experts on offense, defense and special teams. Your CSP also should be an expert in the cloud services space. Thankfully, lists like the Talkin' Cloud 100 can help you learn about myriad CSPs and evaluate their expertise.
Seattle and New England are home to two of the best fan bases in the NFL, and each Super Bowl team is committed to keeping their hometown fans happy. Your CSP should go above and beyond the call of duty to keep your business happy as well. With a service-level agreement (SLA) in place, you and your CSP will have specific parameters and minimum levels that are required for each element of your company's cloud services.
Many NFL experts consider Wilson, the Seahawks' starting quarterback, to be underpaid when compared to most of the NFL's top signal-callers, which proves that an NFL team doesn't necessarily have to break the bank on a quarterback to compete for a championship. Meanwhile, just because a CSP charges an arm and a leg for its cloud services doesn't mean that it offers the best services for your company. Cost should be a consideration when evaluating CSPs, but you should always try to find a cost-effective service provider that offers services that meet all of your business' needs.
Before the NFL season began, both the Seahawks and Patriots added players who were able to adapt to each team's respective offense, defense or special teams. In the same way, your CSP should make it easy for you to migrate your existing technologies to the cloud. Consider ease of migration when it comes to evaluating CSPs to find a service provider that makes it simple for you to start leveraging cloud computing technologies immediately.
Both Seahawks and Patriots players have already met with media and fans during Super Bowl week to answer questions about a wide range of topics – everything from stuffed animals to cowlicks. Your business should find a CSP that takes pride in delivering world-class customer service and is always available to respond to your questions and concerns; otherwise, your company could be in trouble if you need support during a cloud services outage.
After the Super Bowl, both Seahawks and Patriots officials will evaluate their respective teams and make changes in the offseason. With compliance audits, you can do the same with your CSP. These evaluations allow your business to ensure that your CSP is meeting compliance requirements every day.
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