Manage Sensitive Data with Private Cloud. Manage Private Cloud with a Qualified Provider.

Choose an industry-compliant cloud provider that offers the right service level agreement for your organization. 

Private cloud is a common choice for government agencies and regulated industries such as finance and healthcare that work with highly sensitive data, as well as organizations that prefer not to use a public cloud. Private cloud offers the benefits of cloud computing while allowing users to maintain control over data residency by determining where the cloud’s infrastructure is physically located. It also provides the ability to run high performance applications and scale more easily as users’ needs grow.

Despite potential benefits, many users struggle to achieve a successful implementation. Gartner surveyed attendees at its data center conference and found 95% of respondents face problems with private cloud. Problems can range from encryption policies for sensitive data and maintaining best practices for security to dealing with the consequences of making the wrong choice of virtualization solution.

Partnering with a cloud provider can give organizations the much needed guidance they need through the critical planning, data and application migration and operational phases of transitioning to a private cloud. Finding the right partner, however, is crucial. Here are three areas to investigate as you search for a cloud provider that will meet your organization’s needs.

  1. Compliance with Industry Requirements. Ask for assurance that the provider is qualified to deliver cloud services according to regulations that govern your industry. In some cases, cloud use and security is bound by law, and providers must be well versed in requirements for compliance both for your organization and theirs. For example, healthcare providers must comply with HIPAA and work with cloud providers that appropriately manage protected health information (PHI). If your industry isn’t governed by specific laws for cloud computing, ask about certifications the cloud provider has attained and standards it complies with, such as ISO 27001, an international standard for information security management systems.
  2. Level of Uptime. Select a cloud provider that offers the right level of uptime for your organization to operate efficiently or to enable you to comply with regulations. Cloud providers’ data centers are designated by tier.
  • Tier 1 data centers provide basic capacity with dedicated space for IT systems, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), dedicated cooling equipment, and a generator for extended power outages. Tier 1 data centers guarantee 99% availability or uptime, which can mean, however, more than 7 hours of downtime per month.
  • Tier 2 data centers add redundant critical power and cooling capacity, and uptime guarantee of 99.741%.
  • Tier 3 data centers feature dual-powered equipment that requires no shutdown for equipment maintenance or replacement, and are 99.98% available, which would mean less than 8 minutes of downtime per month.
  • Tier 4 data centers offer fault tolerance, which means failures or interruptions are stopped short of IT operations, and they guarantee less than 3 minutes of downtime per month.
  1. Service Level. Make sure your cloud provider offers a service level agreement (SLA) that clearly defines the terms of your agreement and ensures the level of service you need. Your SLA should define the minimum levels the cloud provider will deliver for each area of service, clearly state security standards that the provider will comply with, and outline rights, costs, and procedures to end the agreement. The SLA must state your organization will get the support and service it needs.

Partnering with a cloud provider can be just as critical to an effective private cloud implementation as the technology you choose. Do your due diligence when selecting a provider to ensure the provider understands your industry and compliance needs, can deliver the availability you require, and will provide the level of support and service needed for a successful implementation.

Adam Davis, CEO, Next Dimension Inc