Cloud computing has moved from being "a nice idea that could help a company" into "we have to take advantage of this, now." If you are looking into a cloud service provider that will be the most helpful, safe, and secure, here are some helpful hints and ideas to consider when it becomes time to choose which to go with.
One of the top concerns of the IT industry when looking at their cloud service is security and how their data will be protected. A recent study, however, found that only 29 percent of companies surveyed researched the cloud service provider's security practices. If you plan on storing very sensitive data about your customers or your company's financial records, you obviously don't want these items to be leaked.
Gartner, a leading IT research and survey firm, gave nine different security provisions that companies should look for with regards to the cloud service provider: customer audits on demand, a data deletion certificate, disaster recovery, downtime credits, encryption, evaluations, full indemnification for security failure impact, hacking insurance, and the ability to negotiate security clauses. With regards to each of these areas, only 3-4 were common in a cloud service provider contract.
When looking at the reliability of cloud services providers, many companies tend to go with choosing a provider that has a positive reputation, a well-known client list, and those that have been around for a while. While there may be newer providers with less of a track record, it may be in your best interest to continue with this way of thought. Look for a vendor that has good 24/7 tech support plans and make sure that they can handle your needs. Your provider should be able to understand what you're looking to do and know how they can help you from the beginning. Lastly, if you can't put 100% of your trust in that provider, look to another that you can.
You should also look into the provider giving you a third-party audit about their services. If they can prove to you that they are worth your time, money, and business, then they are also going to be a top provider.
Are they easy to use? Do you understand what they are doing or what they are trying to do? These are some of the early questions that you should ask yourself when looking at a cloud service provider. Also, make sure that they have the room to grow. You may be in a small business now, but things can quickly change. You may need more employees and those employees are going to need more space, just like their computing will need more space. Choose a provider that can upgrade easily and will be able to handle your changes as quickly as you handle them.
Another aspect to look at regarding flexibility is whether or not their platform is easy to work with. Since you'll be spending most of your time using their interface, it should be one that you can understand and use without having to call support every time you log in. Make sure that the same interface is one that will work offsite with tablets, personal computers, and other hardware. If the provider makes it easy for you to streamline your processes no matter where you're at or what you're using to access it, it will allow your company to be all the more successful.
Providers can be all over the map with regards to the varying costs and fees. With regards to picking your provider, you should look at the overall price that it will cost you, rather than just the month-to-month or startup fees. There are various websites and articles that can give you comparable quotes about each of the different prices.
One of the tips on the subject of cost is to make sure that you are not falling into any rogue or first-generation cloud spending. Simply put: if you don't understand where your money is going, you should. If the costs are too high, think of it as an investment in your company.
By looking at these tips and considerations, you should have a better idea on what will work for you and choosing a cloud service provider. Don't be afraid to have questions regarding some of these topics and more. The more you ask, the better idea you can build on what your company needs and how cloud services will work best for you.