A couple of years back, conversations about cloud computing services were all around complexity, security and risk. What a difference a couple of years makes; this incredibly powerful way of delivering a secure, scalable IT resource has now become an accepted mainstream approach for organisations, whether it’s public, private, or hybrid.

While the industry has come a long way, the problem now is the rise of an equally shaky set of assumptions.

Many industry consultants talk about cloud as though it is a destination. The cloud isn’t a place where you go to. It is a part of your mission-critical business, and there is no single endpoint.

Another misconception is that cloud computing services can be purchased right off the shelf – as though cloud computing services are a commodity.

But most companies, big and small, have more complex IT requirements than an off-the-shelf solution could ever handle. You’re not ‘any old business’ – so don’t accept ‘any old cloud’.

Here are some questions you should be asking your hosting provider:

  1. For a start, not all cloud hosting providers can offer you truly scalable cloud. Ask your cloud provider for the metrics, numbers and customer references to back this claim up.
  2. What is the provider offering in terms of built-in zero downtime? An eCommerce site that flakes out on customers isn’t going to cut it in today’s world. And while cloud may give you scalability, it won’t guarantee availability in the same way as physical hosting.
  3. And by the same token, what’s the plan for getting your business back up and running if there’s any kind of unexpected outage at the provider’s data center?
  4. Consumers know that the download speeds the ad promises aren’t always believable; this same skepticism should be applied to speed claims made by cloud providers. Ask to see the topology of the network being offered, as well as benchmarks.
  5. Is cloud the most cost-effective solution for this particular workload or application? Cloud often appears to be a cheap solution on the surface, but you also need to take into consideration bandwidth charges and peripheral metered.

In addition to these questions, a provider should be able to integrate key business software apps, have solid service level agreements in place, and ensure that your customers’ details will be kept safe (e.g. full compliance with the PCI DSS).

But above all – and this really is the fundamental reason that all cloud is not the same – make sure the potential home for your core commerce site is with a firm that understands your business. Does the company know your sector? Have they dealt with sites that handle a similar amount of traffic and transactions? Can they offer you smart ideas, based on experience, to give you competitive advantage through technology?

No, cloud is not a commodity. Cloud is about powering your firm through the best tech home you can find – helped by a go-getter who wants you to succeed. And that’s not something you get just by signing any old piece of paper – or accepting any old platforming deal.

Check out why Cogeco Peer 1 is proud not to offer a ‘standard cloud’ e-commerce solution for companies like yours: https://www.cogecopeer1.com/services/hosting/ecommerce/