Choosing your cloud provider or cloud providers can be a daunting experience. It is easy to become distracted if you do not decide on a plan for how to approach your decision-making.

When it comes to enterprise IT, many departments approach their decision-making from a tactical perspective looking at what capabilities and functionality support the strategic vision and direction of the company currently and When it comes to enterprise IT, many departments approach their decision-making from a tactical perspective looking at what capabilities and functionality support the strategic vision and direction of the company currently and in the future. This may mean looking at cloud providers that have data centers located around the globe if disaster recovery and business continuity are a primary concern. In other cases, an enterprise may approach its decision-making based more on features. These features are things like what cloud provider excels in, such as machine-learning, because it supports an enterprise’s capabilities and aligns with their vision of what the enterprise believes will be valuable. Most IT architects think strategically and consider criteria such as data storage capacity, company viability, market share, and computing capability. In general, most enterprises should approach choosing cloud providers strategically and tactically because it isn’t just about features. It is about much, much more, and whatever provider or providers you decide to work with, your internal IT will need to change skill sets. Everything will need to adapt to a new platform. The one thing you need to avoid is falling in love with specific features. Features have a way of casting a spell on us and distracting us from looking at things strategically and tactically.

Service Levels

If your enterprise has sensitive or critical needs around availability, capacity, response time, and support, you need to understand what your cloud provider Service level agreements are. You will also want to draft a contract that establishes and defines the cloud provider and cloud service customer relationship you are entering into. The contract should be written with clear contractual language and include SLA’s for all vital enterprise needs, including data security.

Evaluation Criteria

A strategic and tactical approach to cloud migration includes focusing on several core areas and how they integrate with your existing business and existing legacy architecture.


It is essential to consider how the cloud architecture will integrate and support your existing workflows presently and in the future. If your current infrastructure and workflows already depend on a lot of Google services, then Google may provide better, easier integration. Still, if your enterprise has invested in Microsoft Universe, for example, then Microsoft may be the better provider.


When selecting cloud providers or multiple providers, you should carefully consider where the provider data centers are located. If your organization utilizes highly sensitive applications, you may want at least one data center close to where your users are from a user’s perspective. For resiliency and disaster recovery, you will want a provider that has geographically diverse data centers that are not run off of the same electrical grid. There is yet another security consideration, and that is that if your company is global, you also need to consider where your provider hosts data because there are rules and regulations around data that are specific to a country.


Another important criterion in choosing a cloud provider understands what your organization will have to manage. Every service utilizes different orchestration tools and provides various integrations with other services. If there are certain services your organization requires or are vital to your operations, you need to ensure that your provider offers an easy way to integrate with those services. You will also want to take a close look at how much time, effort, and money it is going to take to manage the different aspects of the cloud infrastructure you select.


Some industry sectors are highly regulated and require strict compliance with specific standards and regulations like medical and financial organizations. You must understand what you will need if your applications run on a public cloud infrastructure. It is essential to be aware of what responsibilities in terms of data security and compliance are the responsibilities of your organization and which obligations your cloud provider will fulfill to ensure your applications remain compliant once migrated to the cloud.

With a tactical and strategic approach to choosing your cloud provider coupled with sound business research about your cloud provider candidates and the services they provide. You should be able to make a sound decision that will serve your enterprise well into the future.

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Aug 6 21
Christina Zumwalt
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