5 Questions That You Can’t-Miss Asking When Choosing a Cloud Service Provider
Moving to the cloud is a necessity in an increasingly digitized world. That’s the reason expenditure on IT support services is increasing. 28% of spending within key enterprise IT markets will shift to the cloud by 2022.
Cloud services help companies not only cut costs and streamline their workflow but also keep their data secure. Further, they eliminate the need for in-house IT personnel and hardware.
61% of businesses adopt the cloud because of its cost-cutting advantage. Further, you can gain a competitive edge over your competitors by moving your business to the cloud. Remember, 94% of businesses are already using the cloud.
The worldwide public cloud service market is expected to grow from 227.8 billion in 2019 to a total of $266.4 billion in 2020. Hence, it becomes all the more imperative to make extensive use of the cloud for your business.
However, you need to ask the right questions before choosing a suitable cloud service provider. Here’s what you should ask.
1. What Security Systems Do You Have in Place?
Security is a major concern when moving your company’s critical data in the cloud. That’s why it becomes crucial to choose a cloud service provider who offers robust security standards along with constant updates.
The various security measures to take into account include a perimeter firewall, internal firewall, multifactor user authentication, anti-virus detection, data encryption, routine security audits, and more. Such robust security measures will protect your cloud data. It will make sure that your data doesn’t get leaked by your employees or the ones at the cloud provider’s company.
Your cloud service provider is also responsible for securing your critical data. Hence, ask your service provider how effective their IT security systems are against phishing, ransomware, and other malicious attacks. Security measures include, but are not limited to:
- Installing Cloud Anti-virus
Cloud anti-virus gives instant access to the latest data related to any malware activities.
Patching helps in avoiding operational faults and minimizing security vulnerabilities.
- Restricting Administrative Rights
It helps in setting up a proper level of authorization. This ensures that each employee can only access and change the applications and data important for them to do their job. It also protects your data from hackers who might steal an employee’s credentials for misuse.
You should ensure that your service provider is in compliance with government legislation and IT standards of your industry. These include PCI DSS and HIPAA.
In short, make sure your cloud service provider has a comprehensive cloud computing strategy to protect your data.
2. How Good Is Your Up-Time Record?
An up-time record depicts the percentage of time when the hardware, IT system, and the device are operational. Simply put, it gives an idea of the level of success that your service provider can provide in real-time. It is contrasted with downtime, and the ratio for both is included in the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
You must get an insight into the up-time record of your cloud service provider. It will give you an idea about how effectively your service provider can operate on a daily basis. It will also help you determine the total successive amount of operational time they leverage.
3. How Quickly Do You Respond to a Problem?
Your cloud service provider must provide you with constant ongoing support. There can be times when you face a sudden cyberattack or data loss or need assistance with your cloud setup. Is your cloud service provider available 24/7 to help in such cases?
You should ask them about their response time. Inquire about their prior experience in solving specific issues. Find out the amount of time it took them to counter those issues. It will give you an idea about their response time commitment and help you set your expectations.
You can make these points clear in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) when mentioning the areas that the provider is responsible for.
4. Where Is Your Data Centre?
A data center is a place where your company’s critical data will be digitally stored. Therefore, it is important to know about the location of your cloud service provider’s data center.
Is their data center located in an earthquake-prone area? Is it a place often hit by floods? Consider these questions and choose a service provider that can help you protect your data during these unexpected events and from threats.
They can do so by regularly backing up your data to different data centers. This practice will help you carry on with your services without any interruption.
Remember, a good cloud service provider will be prepared for every type of disaster by making sure that your data is stored in updated data centres. Such data centres are scalable, flexible and have an integrated management system. They ensure both security and high performance.
5. What Is Your Pricing Structure?
Find out the pricing structure when hiring a cloud service provider. While some providers charge a fixed price for their gamut of services, others offer the pay-as-you-go model.
Paying for the service as a whole can result in large upfront costs. It is, therefore, advisable to go for the pay-as-you-go-model. It will help you save money, especially when you are not using the cloud, and allow you to include services as and when needed.
The cloud service provider can charge fees on an hourly, monthly, half-yearly, or annual basis. Overall, the price of cloud services is based on the needs, model, and framework of your business.
Cloud services are taking business operations to the next level. From enhancing organization-wide security and stability to helping companies cut costs and become flexible, cloud services can help you do it all. You should switch to the cloud and keep your business updated with the changing pace of technology.
As a deemed provider of IT services in Wisconsin, we identify with your need of switching to the cloud and staying ahead in the game. We work as a Microsoft Azure Cloud Partner and can help your pave your company’s path to the cloud seamlessly. Feel free to get in touch with us with your cloud-related queries. We will be happy to answer them.
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.