Many businesses are now looking towards “cloud computing” to provide them with the IT systems and services that they would have previously had in their office. Cloud computing encompasses many different technologies and services with a huge variety of “as a service” providers. This presents a considerable number of challenges for businesses over security, reliability, backup, performance and costs as well as other factors.
To help guide you down the road to making an informed decision about which Cloud provider can meet your particular needs, I’ve compiled some handy rules of thumb.
5 Handy Hints
1 Compile a requirements list with the stakeholders in your business to ensure that you know exactly what you are looking for.
2 Make sure your data (internet) connection will provide the performance you will require.
3 Have a look at the cloud provider’s website, ask them for real-world case studies and try and get confirmation of their success such as industry recognition, association with industry bodies and awards.
4 Check existing and past customer references. Don’t take the cloud providers word for it! Ask for references for similar-sized businesses in similar industries to your own.
5 Engage with a trusted IT partner to help you through the process.
16 Great Questions to Ask
1 How many years have you been providing cloud services?
2 What class of data centre do you use and where are they?
3 Do you replicate data to other sites?
4 Where is your customer data held?
5 What types of security audits do you perform on your systems to protect them from hackers?
6 What policies do you have in place to protect the privacy of customer data?
7 When and how do you notify your customers if there is a security breach?
8 How scalable is your system?
9 What level of support do your customers get and what are your customer guarantees?
10 What is your pricing structure?
11 What data do you backup and how is customer data protected from deletion and corruption?
12 What is the system availability level?
13 How much control do customers retain over their data?
14 What happens if you lose customer data?
15 What is the disengagement process including how do customers get all of their data back and in what timeframe?
16 Have you any experience with my industry?
While some of these may seem obvious, more often than not most of these questions are not considered until it’s too late. These tips and questions will help you pre-qualify potential providers and will give you relevant and critical information that will help you make an informed decision.
About the Author
Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.
Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.