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October 26, 2016
A quick Google search of “cloud service providers” delivers a dizzying display of options. Some offer simple data storage solutions, others provide full-featured SaaS software. What do you need? How can you be sure that you’re choosing the right provider? The difference in getting an okay cloud service provider versus a truly fabulous business partnership is all in the questions you ask. Here’s what to find out before agreeing to a contract.
Look for a Cloud Service Provider with a Wide Range of Products & Services
Don’t look for just a “cloud service provider”. Find one that offers a full range of managed services, including data storage, cloud-based application services, backup and disaster recovery — in other words, you want a cloud provider that can act as a fully functional cloud-based IT department. This assures that no matter what cloud-based products or services you need in the future, you don’t have to go through the process of migrating from one cloud provider to another.
Ask About Their Security Tools, Techniques & History
Second only to whether or not the cloud service provider offers the products you need is their ability to keep your data and applications secure. Ask about their uptime history, what tools and processes they have in place for security, and their history in terms of data breaches and other security issues. Learn more about what to expect from today’s cloud environment when you download our cloud report.
Find Out How Easy It is to Scale Upwards or Downwards
Definitely look for a cloud service provider that offers upward scalability, but don’t overlook the importance of being able to scale down, if necessary, as well. For example, maybe you need to create a test environment during a development project but you only need it until the project is complete. How easy is it to scale down, and how will you handle the data from the project you want to keep? Discuss these types of issues with your cloud provider.
Learn Where Their Data Center is Located
The closer you are to your cloud service provider, the less latency you’ll experience. However, if you choose a cloud provider right across the street, you face the very real possibility that whatever bad thing befalls your company might also disrupt their services. Look for a data center that’s a smart distance away, and find one that isn’t in disaster-prone areas, such as Florida (hurricanes), the west coast (earthquakes) or the Midwest (tornadoes).
Know Their Processes & Procedures for Backup & Disaster Recovery
This has nothing to do with whether you’re contracting for backup and disaster recovery services. You need to ask what their backup and DR plans are. How do they assure that your data is 100 percent recoverable if they experience a hardware failure, natural disaster, fire, or other serious events? Do they have offsite backups? What kinds of disaster recovery plans do they have in place? Are their DR plans thoroughly tested? You’ll want to know that they’re taking all precautions to keep your data, applications, etc. safe.
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