How to Distinguish a Cloud Poser From a Cloud Pro

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-12-18
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    1 - How to Distinguish a Cloud Poser From a Cloud Pro
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    How to Distinguish a Cloud Poser From a Cloud Pro

    by Chris Preimesberger
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    2 - Four 9s or Five?
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    Four 9s or Five?

    As more companies transition important aspects of their businesses (email, billing, etc.) to the cloud, they want to know they'll have the same access in the cloud as if their systems were on-premises. Cloud posers know this, so they often make unrealistic claims about uptime: the time your network is operational. If someone promises you "five 9s" (99.999 percent) of uptime—which equates to only 5 minutes of downtime each year—you're talking to a cloud poser. While 99.999 percent availability sounds appealing, it's just not realistic. A cloud pro never promises more than four 9s (99.99 percent) of network availability.
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    3 - Are You Compliant With Industry Standards?
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    Are You Compliant With Industry Standards?

    Regulatory compliance is essential, and so is being able to prove you're compliant. Cloud posers may not see the need to have their records validated by a third-party auditor, but cloud pros know it's a requirement and will make available third-party auditors' reports on their performance. It's part of doing business for legitimate cloud providers.
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    4 - What Are You Doing to Prevent Security Breaches?
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    What Are You Doing to Prevent Security Breaches?

    Transitioning to the cloud requires companies to hand over control and protection of their data to someone else. A poser will simply claim to have never had a breach and will avoid talking about the steps they should be actively taking to prevent a breach. Cloud pros are eager to tell you about what they do to prevent a breach—such as third-party penetration tests. They know past performance doesn't predict future performance; what's important are the measures the company continues to take as threat vectors continue to evolve.
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    5 - Was Your App Designed for the Cloud?
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    Was Your App Designed for the Cloud?

    A cloud application's effectiveness depends largely on its underlying architecture. Cloud posers will claim that even though their applications weren't designed for the cloud, they've been adapted to perform in the cloud and will do just fine. Cloud pros know that if a cloud application wasn't originally designed for the cloud, it probably can't scale (in more ways than one). Time to look for another provider.
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    6 - Can I Talk With a Customer?
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    Can I Talk With a Customer?

    Cloud posers talk a big game about their successes and how much their customers love them. Claiming to have plenty of satisfied customers and actually having satisfied customers are two totally different things. While cloud posers will be reluctant to provide customer references, cloud pros will be happy to provide customer references, and chances are the customers will be more than willing to talk about their experiences.
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    7 - No New Customers?
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    No New Customers?

    A tell-tale sign that you might be dealing with a cloud poser is discovering that they have not recently won any new customers. If they are unwilling to provide references and when they do provide them, if the reference is not current, you are most likely dealing with a cloud poser. Not only are cloud pros happy to provide references, they are winning new customers.
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    8 - What Is the Pricing Structure?
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    What Is the Pricing Structure?

    Does the price seem too good to be true? Chances are it is. Cloud posers might quote a very low price for their services to pique your interest. In other cases, they might quote a price that is way too high. Make sure to do a background check and get additional quotes in order to see who stands out and who doesn't belong.
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    9 - Company Dedication to Cloud?
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    Company Dedication to Cloud?

    Is the company fully dedicated to the cloud, or is the cloud just something they are experimenting with for a minor part of their business? They should have a cloud strategy that's fully aligned with business objectives and values. Posers like the idea of recurring revenue, but they don't like the idea of the large up-front investment required to ensure a fully reliable and secure solution. If a large part of their revenue comes from on-prem sales, they aren't dedicated to the cloud.
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    10 - Is the Company Successful/Profitable?
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    Is the Company Successful/Profitable?

    Has the provider suffered considerable loss either with customers or revenue? This could be a sign that they do not know how to properly cost their service offerings or, even worse, customers are not happy with their offering. Without a thorough understanding of costs, cloud posers run the risk of eroding profits. Cloud pros plan ahead.
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    11 - Will They Protect My Data?
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    Will They Protect My Data?

    Will the vendor treat your data as your sacred intellectual property, or will they be casual and allow any employee to access it. If the agreement doesn't contain strong language about treating your data as confidential and ensuring that you retain exclusive ownership of it, then you are probably dealing with a poser. Pros know that your data is your lifeblood and will do everything reasonable to protect it.
 

Debates over trusting an expert as opposed to someone who claims to be an expert happen every day across all industries—from car repair to IT—and this certainly includes anything involving the cloud. While cloud computing enables significant benefits for users to access applications from any computer, it has also created a new group of "cloud posers." These posers are defined as inexperienced software developers who make bold (and often untrue) claims about the performance of the cloud-based applications they manage. Most of these posers work as independent consultants. On the surface, a poser may talk a good game and seem like a good choice to support an enterprise, but asking a few smart questions might just reveal his or her lack of expertise—and save you lots of grief. To help you evaluate potential service providers, eWEEK, with input from Adam Stewart, vice president of engineering at IT management provider Autotask, provides important questions to ask before you start on the project.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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