What should you look for in a cloud technology partner?

Embracing new technology can be hard. Challenges like cost, complexity and a limited talent pool can make it difficult to transition, and the COVID crisis has added fresh urgency and impetus to the need to roll out cloud technology. Research suggests 81% of businesses accelerated their plans for the cloud in 2020, driven by the need to achieve operational efficiencies and growth and to keep pace with advances in data science.

Yet this migration has proven to be more complex than anticipated. 72% of organisations lack confidence in their cloud security posture as well as harbouring concerns over how to meet compliance obligations and avoid vendor lock-in and, internally, these businesses have struggled with increased workloads, lack of relevant skills, and data overload. 

Solving these issues means finding the right partner to help the business continue to migrate its applications to the cloud, develop its cloud strategy to leverage the benefits of the different platforms, and identify best-fit cloud-native technologies. But what should you look for in a partner?

Key strengths to look for in a partner

A cloud technology partner has to have the right skillsets and cloud expertise to advise you on how you can migrate, deploy and scale. You’re looking for a partner that can fill your skills gap, but there are also other considerations to bear in mind.

From a security point of view, the immediate need is to help you deal with any oversights that have come about as a result of rapid rollouts during the pandemic, as well as provide you with advice on the best-of-breed cross-platform solutions. For instance, the priority for many will be to identify and remediate any misconfiguration issues and tighten up access by implementing a zero-trust, least-privilege approach.

Longer-term, you’ll need to look at how the partner plans to help you build out your cloud presence to enable your business to grow, as well as if they can advise upon the compatibility of solutions and how these will integrate within your existing ecosystem. This isn’t a case of bigger, better, faster, more. You’ll want to identify how solutions can increase efficiency without ratcheting up data-processing costs, making it a fine balancing act.

Your partner will also need to have a business culture that sits well with your own, making it easier to communicate and ensuring that the direction of travel aligns with your business goals. Look to see if there is any platform or vendor lock-in, what industry standards their solutions adhere to, and last, but by no means least, they should have an ethos that emulates your business values because building something together requires a relationship built upon trust.

Who we are

At 4Data, our company founders – Ian Tinney, Florian Miehe and Devan Willemburg – have a passion for technology grounded in decades of collective business experience.

Ian brings to the table knowledge of the corporate banking world as well as entrepreneurial experience gained from working with small and medium startups, where he built and ran international teams of Splunk consultants. This makes him ideally placed to advise upon how to apply technological solutions to satisfy commercial needs.

Florian comes from a data analysis background and has expertise in Splunk and customer liaison. He developed and managed one of the largest Splunk deployments in Germany for the price comparison site Idealo and currently also runs a Splunk hosted service for Gemini Data on behalf of Germany’s largest retailer. This gives him international expertise with Splunk and familiarity with the data compliance requirements across Europe.

Devan is our cybersecurity expert. A Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) and an experienced ‘white hat’ or ethical hacker who has a background in red teaming before moving to blue teaming, Devan is also a Splunk Core Certified Consultant and has an MSc in Cybersecurity from the University of Liverpool.

We also have a dedicated technical team which includes Chris Chantrey, with a degree in Cyber Security and Forensic Computing, and Chris Jones and Dan Spence, who are both ex-military personnel with DV (Developed Vetting) security clearance enabling them to work on projects which involve sensitive government information, software, systems and personnel.

Chris Jones and Dan both joined 4Data through the TechVets program, run by RFEA (Regular Forces Employment Charity), which provides the support needed to help military veterans and service leaders gain the skills they need to transition into a career in the cybersecurity and/or technology.

A unique perspective and portfolio

We have signed the HM Armed Forces Covenant, which means we believe military service personnel should have fair and equal access to services and opportunities, including careers, as borne out by our support for TechVets, and our commitment to this initiative is indicative of our wider company ethos.

Caring is at the heart of everything we do, from customer service, to employee support, to our project delivery. And on that note we would like to wish our readers, customers and team a Merry Christmas and all the very best for 2022!