This series has stepped through cloud migration best practices. After providing an overview, we discussed:Classifying business-critical data.Updating organizational IT governance policies.Application screening and cloud workload selection.How to select the most appropriate target deployment environment.With all of that completed, it’s now time to select the right cloud service provider (CSP) and finally execute the migration. Cloud provider selection is an area that many enterprises ignore. Executives looking to take advantage of the real business value that the cloud delivers often view providers simply as commodity technology providers. With this mindset, decision-makers usually pick the most familiar name. But this strategy is little more than throwing the dice.A Smarter Way to Select a ProviderCloud service provider selection requires a well-developed hybrid IT strategy, an unbiased application portfolio review and the appropriate due diligence in the evaluation of all credible cloud service providers. When discussing this linkage, I leverage the Digital Transformation Layered Triangle as a visualization tool. After agreeing to an appropriate high-level hybrid IT strategy, a digital transformation core tenant, candidate CSPs capabilities must be compared based on their:Availability of technology services that align with the business/mission model.Availability of data security controls that address legal, regulatory and data sovereignty limitations.Compatibility of CSP sales process with enterprise acquisition process.Cost forecast alignment with budgetary expectations.Understanding Cloud Service AgreementsComparing cloud service agreements from the remaining viable service providers is next. These agreements typically have three components:Customer Agreement: Describes the overall relationship between the customer and provider. Service management includes the processes and procedures used by the cloud provider. Thus, it’s crucial to provide definitions of the roles, responsibilities and execution of the processes. The customer agreement does this. This document can be called a “master agreement,” “terms of service” or simply “agreement.”Acceptable Use Policy (AUP): Defines activities that the provider considers to be improper or outright illegal.

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