Five things to consider when choosing a global cloud storage provider

Figures recently released showed that the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019

Of course, this number won’t come as a surprise for many experts, as analyst firm 451 Research found that 90% of companies are currently benefiting from cloud computing and storage.

The continued adoption of cloud has pushed the market forwards, and there are now more providers and solutions to choose from than ever before. Competition is good news for the industry as it drives innovation and keeps pricing competitive. However, in a crowded marketplace, it can be difficult to rise above the noise and find the best solution to fit your needs. Differentiating offerings when looking for a global provider can sometimes come as a challenge, as offers are increasingly standardised and distinguishing elements are not always the ones we expect.

So, what differentiates one global cloud provider from another?

And what should you look out for when choosing one? This article highlights five things to consider when choosing a global cloud provider, ranging from regulations and sustainability to security and pricing.

Global reach with regional specific understanding to stay compliant

If your business is multi-national, you’ll have significantly more to think about when it comes to data storage than single region businesses. Working with a provider that has a global reach is important but making sure they understand and can adapt to local markets is essential. Data is subject to the laws and governance structures within the nation it is collected, and this, of course, has a big impact on data storage, even in the cloud computing era. This is why it is so important to work with a provider that has global reach and experience in aligning to these regulations. It is also relying on a trusted provider with whom you can have a dialogue and help build customised services and project infrastructures, instead of flat/standard type of services.

For example, if you are a British company operating in the E.U. and looking to stay ahead of E.U. norms after Brexit, your needs will not be the same as a company working across all five continents. The former will be looking for a European cloud provider that is up to date with regulations and able to service in the E.U. This offer will come at a different price and with different conditions than a global one. Another suitable example is the covid-19 global pandemic, which has swept the world for these past few months. It has forced companies to shift their perceptions of remote working, their organisational behaviour, logistics and reminded us of the importance of managing cash flows. Companies now must pay attention to the lock-in, as with reduced services comes reduced income, and that can add up onto an already existing contract, removing the flexibility needed in such a precarious situation. One size does not fit all when it comes to cloud storage, this is why working with
an agile, global provider that understand all of these dynamics is imperative.

Consider cybersecurity and physical security when storing data

Security is understandably high on the list of concerns for businesses in all sectors, across all regions. As the threat landscape continues to grow, it is important to work with providers that are going above and beyond to keep your data safe. You should continuously be on the lookout for the latest cybersecurity certifications. But your research should not stop there. Physical security should also be a concern, as cyberattacks aren’t the only things that could affect your data. Data centres should be equipped with multiple perimeters to reinforce security procedures and stop physical incursions, but also protect data through automatic fire detection and inert gas extinguishing systems – which are harmless to humans and IT solutions. They should also be equipped with flood detection systems. Remember: cybersecurity is not the only security standard you should be looking out for.

Seamless expansion around the world

Expansion is the hallmark of any successful business, but many pain-points are associated with international growth. Working with a cloud provider that is agile and can provide scale based on your needs is a key component to achieving effective expansion. Aside from having versatile options for rapid data growth, it is also important, as mentioned above, to have a firm understanding of the market you are expanding into. Data regulations vary all over the world and providers that have a combination of global reach and local expertise, play a vital role for growing multi-national companies.

Don’t just protect yourself from nature; protect nature itself

Some providers are embracing environmental issues, and a great deal has already been done to optimise the data centre in terms of energy saving. Some have even pushed the concept as far as to have data centres functioning 100% on renewable energy. Others have included photovoltaic systems or hydroelectric units as part of their energy mix. Providers are also opting for more efficient cooling systems (cooling generally consumes the most energetical budget for data centres) by replacing traditional cooling solutions with geothermal systems that make use of the cold water found underground. The most important aim to consider is to achieve maximum efficiency and energy savings while reducing costs and protecting the environment.

Find the best price for your budget

The fact is that today’s IT budgets are being put under increasing pressure, with teams asked to do more with less. As such, pricing will come as a differentiating factor. But be careful not to compromise
on quality or security, as short-term gains will inevitably come at a long-term cost. Price reductions can be achieved by tailoring the solutions to meet your specific needs or by negotiating better prices as you store vast quantities of data with the same provider. So, while you should always be on the look-out for the best pricing options, make sure you keep your standards high. What would a 10% short-term win be in comparison to a data loss or breach and the negative publicity it would bring? Competitive prices should never come at the expense of the big picture.

You’re not just looking for a global solution, but also the right one

In 2020, a global cloud provider should not just be able to service your business on an international scale. It should also fully integrate differentiated regulatory environments, as well as be fully aware of and prepared to face the broad range of modern physical and cybersecurity risks. Like any 21st century firm, cloud providers should also embrace the concerns of their time, namely global warming and budget constraints.

When looking for a global cloud solution, it is easy to get lost in the noise. So, you might want to keep these important factors in mind to help you make the right decision for your business.

About the Author

Massimo Bandinelli is Marketing Manager at Aruba S.p.A. Aruba S.p.A., founded in 1994, is the leading company in Italy for data centers, web hosting, email, certified email (PEC) and domain registration services. The company has a huge amount of experience in the management of data centers, with a European network capable of hosting over 200,000 servers.

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