If you are like most people, you have your fair share of questions about cloud services. The cloud is a relatively new phenomenon and many businesses are just starting to hop on board. Let’s take a look at some of the top questions to ask your cloud services provider.
What types of cloud services do you provide?
The number of cloud computing solutions just keeps growing. You should figure out your company’s cloud computing needs before attempting to determine if a particular cloud services provider is right. There are all different types of software-based based cloud services. As an example, Dropbox stores online photos, video and documents. Other popular offerings are Salesforce for customer relation management needs and Quickbooks for online accounting. Certain vendors will provide a general range of cloud computing services with IT networking infrastructure while others will provide basic data storage.
Can you tell me about your pricing structure?
Inquire about the pricing structure to ensure that you will only pay for what you use. Beware of considerable upfront costs.
Is your cloud secure?
Security should be one of your top considerations when it comes to storing sensitive information on the cloud. Optimal security measures will range from anti-virus detection to data encryption, firewalls and multifactor user identification. If a potential cloud provider lacks security measures or doesn’t update them on a regular basis, move on to a candidate that you are comfortable with.
Will anyone else have access to my data in the cloud?
Ask who else will have access to your company’s information that is stored in the cloud.
Do you perform employee background checks?
If access to your company’s information is available to several cloud company employees, do some more vetting. Find out what sort of background checks they conduct on their employees. If it appears as if the company is not serious about removing identity thieves from their ranks, move on to a different candidate.
Where is your data center?
Find out where the cloud provider’s data center is. This location will be the site where your company’s information is stored.
How do you protect your data?
Ask for in-depth information regarding how the cloud services provider protects the data. Find out their data prevention loss measures for natural disasters, storms, floods, fires, earthquakes etc. Also, find out the security measures in place to prevent physical theft of the servers and other equipment.
What will happen if you lose my data?
If worst comes to worst and the cloud services provider loses your data or accidentally deletes it, provisions in the Service level Agreement (SLA) should address what will happen next. Find out how or if you will be compensated for losses.
What kind of customer support do you offer?
If technical support is not available around the clock or if the company does not have savvy engineers, find a better candidate.
Can you describe your downtime history?
Downtime is the period of time in which a cloud provider can’t be accessed by its customers. Ideally, the response to this question is that it can’t be answered as there is no downtime. However, cloud outages can occur so you should only do business with those that have the fewest episodes of downtime.