The fourth attribute is Scalability. This is where most cloud providers shine. The very nature of the cloud is its ability to virtually scale to any level to meet customer demand. However, the key to scalability is "balanced scalability." Again, a car analogy: you can have a powerful engine under the hood, but if you have tiny tires, you can't get the acceleration you want or expect. For a cloud service provider to scale well, it needs to be able to scale in all areas: storage, network, applications, servers, bandwidth and geographies.
The fifth attribute is Quality of Service (QoS). Here's where the rubber meets the road! While outages might be perceived as few and far between, the quality of the service being delivered is measured with every phone call made, every file downloaded and every video conference conducted. As more and more IT services find their way to the cloud, QoS will play a much larger role in impacting business; and, by that I mean disrupting business. When multiple cloud services are being delivered by multiple providers, inter-service disruption will occur (not might). And when it does, one or all services will suffer. Video conferences will shudder, voice calls will chop or upload/download file speeds will be extended. How do you resolve these types of inter-service issues? Good luck if the services are provided by different vendors. With PanTerra, you get a single service provider that can monitor all the services and resolve conflicts quickly and reliably.
The sixth attribute is Service Level Agreement (SLA). What good are all these attributes if the company making them doesn't back it up in writing and with their money! Service Level Agreements, in general, have a lot to do with protecting the service provider.... I get that. But they also should provide basic guarantees of service and if those guarantees are not met, they should provide the customer a remedy. PanTerra backs up its service with the best SLA (well at least that's my opinion!) in the industry.
The seventh (and final) attribute is Support. Some would say, "Saving the best for last!" Support is one of those things that you don't think enough about before you choose a provider and end up potentially worrying about it too much after implementing the service. The amazing thing is how much support varies from market to market and company to company. In the file sharing marketplace today, you're lucky if there is email support. Many just have a web-based knowledge board. Need critical help immediately? Good luck. Of course, try surviving in the telecom world with just a bulletin board and email! That market demands phone support. And yet many providers provide that phone support only during "normal business" hours. What are normal business hours these days! PanTerra Networks delivers 30 second guaranteed IM response and 24/7 phone support for ALL its services, file sharing and unified communications. Why? Because business runs 24/7 and we are providing business-critical services that demand business continuity.
The seven attributes listed above really MATTER, especially if you're a business that wants to be at the top! So next time you're in the market for cloud services, ask your provider about these seven attributes. Better yet, see if they even know what they are to begin with!