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6 Hidden Costs of Cloud Service Providers

When you compare the cost of owning and managing your own infrastructure -- which includes buying servers, licensing software, hiring people to administer, and paying for real estate, electricity and air conditioning -- it makes sense to offload those costs in exchange for a predictable monthly fee.

Depending on your provider, there may unfortunately be other costs associated with your cloud services. Many you might not even consider until it's too late.

That's why you should know what to look for before you sign a contract. Here are six "hidden costs" that don't appear in the business quote, and questions you can ask your cloud service provider to avoid them:

Not all cloud providers are created equal. Insist on getting the full range of services from your provider including migration, security and management to avoid the hidden costs lurking in the shadows.

The right provider will make it easy for your IT staff to get the support they need, including 24/7 phone and chat support for admins, handled by expert staff. Furthermore, don't settle when it comes to the service-level agreement: Make sure it includes "five nines" uptime. This gives you the freedom to focus on what's most important -- growing your business.

Jonathan Levine is the Chief Technology Officer of Intermedia. He has more than 25 years of experience in information technology, cloud operations, data analytics, software development and corporate strategy. As Chief Technology Officer, he is responsible for the company's technology strategy, ensuring that Intermedia continues to deliver the security, availability and value that its customers depend on. Follow Intermedia at @intermedia_net.