Cloud computing makes it easier to scale business processes and enable workforce mobility, but it also entails relying on a third party for your critical operations. That’s reason enough for some business leaders to keep everything in-house.
But for others seeking to innovate in an ever-changing market, the cloud is the unavoidable next step in the evolution of business computing. The success of your cloud migration strategy depends heavily on your chosen service provider.
Here are five questions you should always ask when evaluating potential cloud providers:
#1. Do you provide a personalized service?
A cloud provider is more than just a vendor. Since every business has different circumstances and needs, the best companies offer a full range of managed services and expert guidance to ensure your smooth migration to the cloud. They’re not there to sell you a one-size-fits-all solution and then let you get on with the rest. They should have experience and a deep understanding of your industry and the challenges it faces with issues like cloud enablement, security, and compliance.
#2. Can you provide proof of security and compliance?
When you’re putting your data and critical business processes in the hands of a third party, ensure that they have a proven track record when it comes to security, compliance, and privacy. Migrating to the cloud shouldn’t mean losing control over your data, but neither does it mean passing the full responsibility on to someone else. It’s still up to you to choose dependable service providers who can provide all the necessary references. Reviews will help you shortlist some reliable companies, but there’s no substitute for talking to other customers with similar needs.
#3. What happens if you lose my data?
Even the best cloud providers can make mistakes or fall victim to matters beyond their control. If you choose the right service provider, however, the risk should be greatly reduced when compared to keeping your operations in-house. Cloud providers should have the necessary contingencies in place to ensure your operations and data aren’t compromised in their care. In the unlikely event they are, they should have the redundancies and compensation programs in place to minimize any adverse effects on your business.
#4. What are your response times and availability?
Every cloud provider should offer 24/7/365 customer support, especially if you’re relying on them for critical day-to-day business operations. Before signing any contract, thoroughly review their service level agreement (SLA). An SLA should clearly stipulate the minimum level of service availability, make a note of any scheduled downtime needed for maintenance, and provide a maximum response time to customer support tickets.
#5. What is your pricing structure?
One of the main business benefits of moving to the cloud is to reduce capital expenses, and turning them into predictable operational costs. It’s all about flexibility and scalability in which you can use the computing resources you need on demand.
You should never pay for more than what you actually use. Large upfront costs are a big red flag, with pricing schemes normally taking a pay-as-you-go model from the outset. Make sure you’re clear on any potential exit fees or other barriers if you decide to change providers.
Simplified IT Consulting provides expert guidance and tailor-made cloud services you can rely on. Call us today to schedule your free consultation.