Many businesses these days could save themselves a vast amount of time and money by moving many of the services that they use for business everyday to â€˜the cloud'. But what should you consider when choosing a cloud service provider? Some business owners / individuals believe that all cloud services are the same, but this simply isn't the case, as there are many things you should think about before selecting a provider.
Firstly security should be a deciding factor when choosing a cloud-based service provider, as you must think carefully about the levels of security that you need. Are the documents / data that you wish to store / transfer highly confidential? If so you must be sure that you select a service provider that meets your security requirements.
Some systems have a number of security measures in place that go above and beyond the standard security procedures. For example, some super-secure systems require two-factor authentication to enable someone to log in, they require a user to have a valid username and password plus a mobile device to receive a unique PIN to be able to gain access. This ensures that your documents and data are secure and can not be accessed by unauthorized personnel and get into the wrong hands.
Meeting regulatory compliances should also be a big deciding factor for some industries. For example if you are a medical business or a government organization there are regulations that you must adhere to to ensure that you do not break the law.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA Compliance), Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and Gramm-Leach-Bliley (GLBA) are bills that were all enacted to protect customers and their personal information within each of their industries.
Therefore, if your business lies within one of these industries; healthcare, financial and/or insurance your cloud-based service must meet these regulatory requirements otherwise you and your business will be breaking the law and your sensitive data / documents could be comprised.
Disaster recovery is another thing you should think about when selecting a cloud service provider. Many businesses today store their documents and data in the cloud as a contingency plan to cover the catastrophic loss that could happen as a result of flooding, fire, terrorism or other disaster. But what if something were to happen to the data center storing those documents?
When choosing a cloud based provider you should consider their disaster recovery system. Some services will store the data/documents in at least two fully redundant, geographically separate hosted environments. Subsequently this means that if an incident were to occur in one of the data centers, the same data will still be stored in the other data center.
While cost seems like an obvious thing to consider when choosing a provider it can sometimes get overlooked. You need to make sure that all costs are agreed before signing a contract, and make sure you shop around.
It is not always the case that the most expensive service is the best and quite likely the cheapest will not provide the levels of security that you require. Make sure that you choose a service based on its features and how it will work with your business and for your requirements, not solely based on cost.
If you are a business owner wishing to move to ‘the cloud’ take these things into consideration making selecting a provider to ensure a seamless and stress-free switch over.
Written by John Pittman, VP Business Development, SecureCare Technologies, Inc. SecureCare securely digitizes, processes and stores sensitive information. Today it provides a â€˜super secure' cloud based fax service named Sfax and Scrypt is a cloud-based document scanning and archiving solution.