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A guide to selecting a Cloud Service Provider: best practice (part 1)

Best practice guides from Ardenta: How to select a Cloud Service Provider

With data at the heart of egaming performance, the security risks attached are significant. While recent developments in European Data Protection and the MGA consultation document introduce regulatory and compliance concerns, selecting a cloud service provider just got more complex. In this article/series of articles, Scott Hanson lifts the lid on the best practice guidelines anyone using cloud services within egaming should adhere to.


 

In selecting an energy supplier after a recent house move, I was lured into considering alternative energy suppliers via a comparison website. Having been a loyal customer for many years, I had never really questioned the service I had enjoyed, and assumed that the process of migrating to another would be a fairly straight-forward process. After all, I had done the work of comparing different providers, and on the face of it, everything was going to be just fine, except cheaper. We were even going to earn loyalty points.

Six months on, I have been unable to leave the incumbent supplier, having spent countless hours on the phone. My rate is at a premium, as I did not want to commit to a long term contract. The customer service did not live up to my expectations. Worst of all, my wife keeps reminding me we’re still not getting those loyalty points we wanted.

Selecting a cloud service provider can leave you in a similar scenario. Being locked into unfavourable contract terms, expectations which are neither set nor met, rates which are not competitive, no single point of contact, and no real benefit in staying. For many enterprises, compliance and regulatory requirements evolving has meant that service providers no longer fit all. There are key questions to ask your service provider to ensure that what they offer really is right for you. This article/series of articles will uncover what I believe are the crucial areas to address. Whether you’re looking for a new supplier or are simply interested in ensuring you’re getting the most out of your current supplier, you will learn more of the services which will really make a difference to your business.


So when choosing a cloud service provider, first check this…

Firstly, build a picture of the hosting environment and consider what is appropriate for you. Ensure that there are clean definitions of the services on offer: Ask:

  • What model of cloud is it really?
  • Is this a public cloud deployment or is it a private cloud?
  • Will the server be shared?

It may seem obvious, but unless the provider is familiar with the very specific requirements posed by your business, let alone any legal or regulatory requirements you have as to the geographic location of the environment, you won’t be able to qualify those who can adequately address your needs.

So consider:

  • What do current requirements dictate? What parts of the operations can, and should be hosted in the public cloud? What are sensitive areas, and what are the areas subject to security and compliance considerations?
  • What performance does the business require?
  • What business applications could suffer in the public cloud in the case of a ‘noisy neighbour’?
  • What requirements are there for sensitive data?
  • Are there any compliance or regulatory requirements attached either application-side or to the data held within the business? How does the service provider assure you of the security of these in any of their deployment models?
  • What latency considerations should be taken into account?
  • hybrid deployments ( hybrid deployment may be opted for efficiency/cost/latency reasons)

Having covered these basic considerations and definitions, I go into more detail on the other best practice considerations for a cloud deployment in chapter 2.

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