Guest Blog with Intermedia
The 6 hidden costs of cloud IT services
So you’re considering moving email, file management, or archiving to the cloud. You even have quotes from a few providers you’re checking out. Great! It’s a step in the right direction to support your company’s growth. But be careful: what you end up paying might not always match your quote. There are costs beyond the monthly service fee.
The good news is that those hidden costs are avoidable. To help you with your due diligence, we compiled a list of the costs you may encounter.
The cost of migrating data to the new service
Let’s say you’re switching email providers. You might think data migration is free. And it might even be—in the sense that it’s not a line item in the invoice. But if you have to do it yourself, it will cost the valuable time of your IT staff. And what if you need assistance? Some providers may only help for a fee, and others will refer you to a third-party consultant. So make sure you ask about data migration, and make sure your provider will includes white-glove service for free.
The cost of downtime imposed by low reliability
When an essential IT service is unavailable, your business incurs extremely high costs: your employees can’t do their jobs, your customers get angry, you lose sales, and IT resources are diverted to cope with the crisis. Many providers promise 99.9% uptime. And while this may sound good, it actually adds up to more than 525 minutes of unplanned downtime per year. Consider this and make sure you settle for no less than a 99.999% uptime guarantee— which is less than 30 seconds of downtime a month.
The cost of not getting enough support
When you’re experiencing a problem, regardless of its severity, you need quick answers or your productivity suffers. You can’t be productive if you’re on hold—or if you’re pushed to self-help support portals. However, many providers only offer phone support for critical or tier 2 issues. Even then, support centers are often outsourced or staffed with non-certified personnel. These factors add up to costly unproductive time. A good support plan will include 24/7 live support, short hold times, and skilled, certified staff.
The cost of sub-par security and protection
Security breaches are not just a costly drain on time, they create risk that could hurt your business. So where security is concerned, you must be confident that your business cloud provider has you covered. However, many providers use lesser-known security tools and fewer still help respond to eDiscovery requests. Make sure you get the nitty-gritty details on security procedures from your provider and don’t settle on less than the gold standard and the best-known names.
The cost of management inefficiency
Your cloud management console should be powerful enough to support your IT needs, but simple enough to use that you can easily use it—and, indeed, that you can delegate certain tasks to non-technical resources. Otherwise your IT staff is wasting precious time on tasks that should be trivial. When you look at management consoles, they can be quite complicated and most provide no ability to manage additional third-party services. Make sure you get a solution that balances ease-of-use with granular control to avoid imposing undue labour costs on your IT team.
The cost of services that lack integration
Your business is probably adding more and more cloud services. But as you add more services, you introduce more support, billing and management complexities. And so you end up in a tangle of services that you have to untie. Compare this to top providers with integrations that let you share user and device settings across services. Without this, the cost of managing your IT can skyrocket.
Choose your cloud provider carefully.
As the customer, you have a choice. Choose a cloud-based IT services provider that offers you transparent and worry-free service. Insist on getting the full range of services with no hidden costs, including migration, security, and management. Make it easy for your IT staff to get the support they need: look for 24/7 phone and chat support for admins, handled by certified staff. And don’t settle when it comes to the service level agreement: make sure you get “five nines” uptime. That way, you can focus on growing your business.
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Intermedia will be exhibiting at the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th & 25th June 2015, on Stand D160.