Cloud data centers are projected to process 94% of companies’ workloads by 2021. When it comes to this great adoption, companies face even greater challenges related to privacy, security, and lack of staff training. The only way to overcome those obstacles is to find the right cloud consulting match for your business, which is exactly what this page is about. In the table below, you will find the best companies in the field, followed by details regarding the criteria they had to meet to be featured. Keep scrolling to learn all there is to know about sealing the deal with the company that best aligns with your business.
Our Evaluation Methodology
In the following section, we break down our custom evaluation methodology and elaborate in detail on all the aspects we considered to curate the above list.
We start our journey by visiting the company’s website. At this point, we first consider how long they’ve been around. Cloud computing isn’t a recent thing—its concept dates back to the 1960s when companies were able to rent time on a mainframe. And the concept of renting access to computing power as we know it today emerged in the early 2000s. That’s why we value the companies with a long history of working in the industry, and then we double-check their expertise by looking into their past projects.
The portfolio and case studies of each cloud consultant tell us a lot about their expertise and specializations. We take note of the problems they’ve solved and the types of industries they’ve worked in. Also, we assess their approach and the technologies they employ.
At this stage, our discoveries don’t determine whether a company will rank on our table or not. However, they’re crucial when it comes to classifying each company so we know which criteria to further examine them against.
A good consultant’s guidance to successful cloud adoption starts with advising which and what kind of cloud service provider you should opt for. In this sense, there are two types of cloud companies: either an agnostic cloud service provider or a specialized one.
The first navigates the entire range of cloud service providers and compares them against criteria established based on your business’s needs to find the perfect solution for you. It’s a better fit for companies that need a cloud solution based on multiple providers.
The second looks for ways to integrate the (type of) provider they’re specialized in to make it align with and meet your business goals. This kind of cloud consultant might be considered better since its team’s knowledge of certain (types of) providers is more in-depth.
Since the essence of these benefits lies in a client’s preferences, we didn’t treat them as ranking factors. However, we did consider using them as a means to further classify companies. Below is a detailed breakdown of the cloud service provider classifications.
Cloud deployment indicates how cloud services are made available to users. Other than their location, these differ in terms of security and the level of management required. Here are each one of their details:
Public clouds keep the entire computing infrastructure on the premises of the cloud company. Therefore, the client doesn’t have physical control over the infrastructure. This type of cloud computing can save you a lot of money that you would otherwise have spent on purchasing and maintaining an on-premises infrastructure. Here, you can choose the resources you need as you go (and pay only for the ones you’ll use), which ensures high scalability and reliability. Plus, there’s a server network to protect the cloud against failure.
A private cloud is very similar to the public cloud in terms of scalability and self-service, but the infrastructure is proprietary—i.e., dedicated to your organization’s goals and objectives. This grants you more control and better security. The technologies here are more complex and might require a dedicated IT team to successfully implement the private cloud and deal with it. Also, it’s pricier than the public cloud.
In the world of cloud consulting, a hybrid cloud is the best of both worlds: using both private and public clouds, it combines the benefits of each infrastructure. Usually, the most important apps are hosted on a private server, and secondary apps are kept elsewhere. This type of cloud computing is cost-effective and convenient, providing a fast and secure way to transfer data to and from apps on demand. It’s the best option for large businesses that experience fast growth and need high security.
A community cloud uses the infrastructure shared between organizations and can be managed internally or by a third party. This is the best choice for organizations that share similar cloud computing concerns. A community cloud’s benefits include flexibility, scalability, reliability, security, and compliance.
Regarding the amount of control and responsibility that users have, there are four main cloud types offered by cloud solutions companies:
Infrastructure as a service is a type of cloud in which the provider hosts the infrastructure and provides on-demand access to the resources in the cloud.
Platform as a service is a type of cloud computing that provides users with the server software, operating system, and other resources needed for hosting an app. Cloud consulting services work with it because it gives users the opportunity to customize, develop, and test their own apps.
Software as a service is a distribution model enabling access to the software or app via the internet and a web browser. You don’t have to install the software locally—the third-party provider hosting the app is responsible for its performance, security, and maintenance.
Further classifications of the services offered by the top cloud companies include the following:
Storage as a service is a cloud computing model in which users can rent storage from cloud providers to store data. The greatest benefit of this model is that the stored data can be accessed from anywhere. This service helps save costs and also provides enhanced security and disaster recovery.
Security as a service is a cloud computing model that handles and manages an organization’s security. This is especially useful for corporate infrastructures because it eases the in-house security team’s responsibilities and provides easy scalability as the business grows. Also, with SECaaS, you can avoid the costs and maintenance of on-premise alternatives. A cloud services consulting firm might suggest SECaaS for spam filtering, security assessment, data loss prevention, and antivirus management.
Data as a service enables the customer to access data files through a network, usually the internet. The most common business applications that DaaS technology powers are CRM and ERP. A major cloud computing platform, DaaS offers great benefits such as agility, cost-effectiveness, ease of administration, and enhanced data quality.
Test environment as a service is an on-demand service for creating and managing software test environments. These software environments enable software testers to use tools and processes to develop high-quality products and apps. The cloud-based testing environments are scalable, flexible, and cost-effective.
Desktop as a service is a top cloud service that provides hosted desktops for apps and email. The desktop operating systems are run on a virtual machine that’s hosted by a third-party provider. The DaaS provider streams the virtual desktop to the client’s user device. Clients manage the apps and desktop images while the DaaS providers take care of the security, data backup, upgrades, and storage.
API as a service provides cloud-based app development tools and app development. It provides the highest level of flexibility and customization thanks to its intuitive interface. Among the other benefits of APIaaS, we should mention the reduced costs and quick deployment.
While the above serves as a means to classify cloud consulting companies, the certifications they have can directly lead to a boost in their ranking. Note, however, that this is not a determining ranking factor. Also, we don’t consider any expired certifications. The certifications we’re looking for are based on the specialties listed above and include the following:
The Amazon Web Services (AWS) Certification is issued to IT specialists who pass the tests this cloud provider offers. It proves they have the technical knowledge and skills necessary for deploying and operating apps and infrastructures on AWS. There are different exams for cloud architects, admins, and engineers, and the AWS cloud consulting certification lasts for two years before recertification becomes necessary.
Microsoft Azure Certifications are part of the Microsoft ecosystem and offer a variety of exams and certifications for Microsoft cloud technologies. These demonstrate a company’s ability to design, implement, and maintain cloud-enabled solutions that leverage Microsoft Azure’s open-source capabilities.
Issued by Google, GCP Certifications demonstrate the skills required to design, develop, and administer app infrastructure and data solutions on Google Cloud technology. All Google Cloud certifications last for two years from the date issued.
Cloud migration helps you revamp your workflows, enhance performance, and reduce work for system admins. This is a complex process that needs to be customized according to the specific client’s needs. The best migration services not only address a client’s goals but also ensure the least service disruption.
The migration options are as follows:
Whichever of the above they offer, successful migration consulting needs to address the what, where, and how of the process.
At this stage, the cloud migration consulting firm needs to conduct an in-depth analysis starting with an examination of the app’s migration appropriateness, as well as its operational dependencies. If the app and the infrastructure are fit for migration, the analysis should establish a timeline for the process, outlining which apps should be migrated in the earlier stages and which later on.
A migration arrangement that promises successful execution should look like this:
After establishing what will be migrated and in what order, the next step is to determine what kind of cloud it will be deployed to. This involves plenty of factors such as:
These factors will generally determine a type of cloud based on the deployment method and whether a single or a multi-cloud strategy will be employed. The last two factors decide the choice of the actual vendors/provider.
Determining how the apps will be migrated is the next step the professional cloud consulting provider should take. There are five cloud migration types:
The least expensive migration type is also the easiest. It involves migrating the app as-is without any modifications to the code. Rehosting provides the original app’s experience on the cloud and can use the same security that was used on-premises. This migration type is most feasible for apps that are independent of the hardware they run on.
You might not be able to rehost the app if it isn’t internet-friendly or if third-party software licensing forbids the use of VM.
Cloud consultants rebuild when they have to rewrite some of the app’s code, giving you a chance to take advantage of more advanced features from the cloud provider and scale up your app. Rebuilding is a good choice when you want to enhance an existing app or build a new one. This is useful when the existing one is outdated and you don’t have access to the original app’s source code.
It’s a time-consuming and expensive migration process.
Refactor is a popular migration approach and one of the top cloud consulting services offered. It involves creating a container that sorts the most important components together and then migrates the container to the cloud.
While it’s possible to refactor without making any coding changes, this approach might include app modification. You could also autoscale the framework without making any major changes to the core infrastructure with only the goal of taking advantage of some cloud-native features. This method provides immediate benefits even greater than rehosting, but the process takes longer.
There’s a transitive risk, framework lock-in, and missing capabilities.
Cloud consultants use this approach if the existing app is completely replaced with commercial software, usually a SaaS solution. Replacement requires less administrative costs and provides good value, more flexibility, and better features and support.
There’s a risk of customization limitations, vendor lock-in, and issues in data accessibility.
Besides planning the process’s roadmap, your migration consultants should also determine the testing parameters worth considering at scale and high loads before completing the transition of the previous infrastructure.
Cloud computing has been a hot topic for a long time now. Still, many businesses hesitate to move their operations to the cloud, mainly because they have security concerns. Even though many surveys have proved that the cloud is even more secure than traditional data centers, webmasters still worry.
This may be one of the primary and continuous concerns businesses have even after they move to the cloud because webmasters don’t understand the advantages and disadvantages that cloud computing actually delivers. To help put your mind at ease when choosing the right cloud computing provider, the cloud companies listed here can deliver the following services:
Organizations use the cloud in many different deployment and service models. Not everything is equally sensitive, so it would be a waste of resources to protect all your data equally. An efficient consultant should recognize these issues and address them with the right security controls.
During a cloud security audit, a cloud computing consulting company tests the compliance-driven elements and compares them against the best industry practices to assess and prioritize risk, identify the gaps in security strategies and programs, evaluate current controls, and make recommendations. Some of the areas tested during the audit are the following:
Penetration testing tells if the existing security efforts are enough to protect the client’s data. We expect the top cloud consulting providers to train security-dedicated staff for pen testing or at least recommend a cloud access security broker (CASB) solution.
Third-party risk solutions enable the effective planning, development, and management of third-party risk assessment in a cost-efficient manner. This also requires the understanding of any shared responsibility model. The shared responsibility model applies to the public cloud because its providers assume responsibility for a variety of security aspects—unlike the private cloud where the enterprise is solely responsible for security. The companies using a cloud vendor should be aware of its specific security policies.
Outside sources gaining unauthorized access to or even stealing an account are the two biggest threats to public clouds. However, these threats can be mitigated by deploying high-quality identity and access management (IAM). The top cloud consulting companies will suggest an IAM solution that enforces access policies. Deploying role-based permission capabilities and multi-factor authentication can also cut down the risk of unauthorized people accessing sensitive data.
The need for strong endpoint security is reinforced when you use a cloud service. The necessary technology includes firewalls, intrusion detection, access control, and anti-malware. If you already have these protections, the most reputable companies will make sure to revisit them and determine whether they’re suitable to deal with evolving threats.
Encryption is crucial to any cloud security strategy. All data, both in motion and at rest, should be encrypted. It should be noted that data in transit is most vulnerable to attacks, so it’s preferable that encryption occurs during that process. The top cloud consulting companies should offer encryption and key management services—or recommend either a vendor that offers it or a third-party product.
If you want to accelerate organization and digital transformation, you need to hire a cloud computing agency that provides employee training. The top cloud experts will assess your company’s work style and use that insight to create a plan that leverages the best tools and techniques. When assessing this service, we looked for cloud consulting companies that provide training sessions that strategically prepare team members of different levels and specialties.
The next step for the companies that pass the above-mentioned stages is to see how satisfied their previous clients are. We check third-party platforms, including social media, Google, and TrustPilot to verify that they practice what they preach. We take special note of how professional the team is and if they were able to meet clients’ goals.
When it comes to negative reviews, we must note that just a few of them aren’t enough to remove the company from our list. Instead, we use them to learn more about said company’s weak points, which will influence the final rankings.
Cloud consulting fees depend on many factors. On our list, we included both companies that charge by the hour and by the project—although most of them offer both types of billing and let the client decide what they want. Also, many of them offer “on retainer” services. The average price you should expect to pay ranges from $50 to $149 per hour, depending on the proven performance, the team’s skillset, the connections and networks, and more.
Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of our evaluation methodology, it’s time to shortlist the cloud consulting companies. Since we know how hard this can be, we came up with a comprehensive guide that touches on the most important points for consideration.
Every business has specific needs, and meeting all of them is a challenging task. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to decide on the right cloud deployment model for you. After all, you need to choose a cloud consulting company that will help you gain a competitive edge in the market by making your business flexible and agile in terms of scale and volume.
Industry focus is important. For example, the needs of a retail chain are different from those of a manufacturing company. Make sure to double-check that your cloud strategy consulting partner has experience in servicing your industry and successfully aligning the business type with relevant technology decisions.
The most underrated aspect when choosing the right company for your business is honesty and communication. You need to work with a team of consultants that’s truly trusted and ready to go all-in for the long term. More often than not, this means choosing a smaller, local company. However, on our list, you’ll also find bigger consultancies with a close-knit team.
As the cloud industry expands, the prices of cloud consulting become very competitive. Before you close the deal, consider how each provider’s pricing structure works. Decide how much you’re ready to spend on cloud services and then make sure that the company you choose can align their services within your budget.