- Posted by James Canada
A growing number of businesses are deciding to entrust their data storage needs to the cloud. Compared to companies that maintain offline storage servers of their own, a cloud provider can simplify the data manager’s job and offer a tremendous set of benefits for an organization. Before you make the switch to cloud storage, however, there are some critical questions you need to ask to ensure that the service is the best fit for your business.
Do They Have a Good Reputation?
Don’t trust your business data to just any cloud storage provider. You want to be sure that any firm you consider has a good reputation. Conduct your research and determine the following: Does the company have adequate funding? Is it providing service to any well-established customers? What are customers saying about the technology and support?
Is Their Network Secure?
If you value the security of your business data (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to make sure that your cloud storage host is secure. Are they using industry standard encryption for your data at rest and in transport? Can they help you comply with common government security and privacy regulations? Ask if they will be hosting your data on a dedicated or shared server. Making sure your information is not easily accessible by an unauthorized party is paramount.
Are You Protected from Disasters?
Unfortunately, sometimes disasters do happen. Floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes can all have an impact on your data, even if you store it in the cloud. Ask each cloud storage provider if their network is fully redundant, with multiple mirrored servers in different locations. This will make sure copies of your storage backups are available no matter what type of disaster strikes. Further, you may want to flesh out the worst-case scenario and ask them how they would provide you service in a disaster scenario.
How Much Bandwidth is Available?
Moving your data to the cloud is useless if it takes days to complete. Do not consider a cloud storage provider until you ensure that they can meet your specific bandwidth needs. Most worthy cloud providers can handle your bandwidth requirements with ease, so it is equally important to understand and plan for your own bandwidth upgrade.
What’s Their Network Uptime?
Any provider that doesn’t offer 99.9% or more guaranteed uptime is unacceptable. After all, what good is cloud storage if you and your employees can’t access it whenever necessary? If you’re unsure about the uptime reliability of a particular company, just visit their website and search for this fact, it should be prominently posted.
Will They Offer Flexible Plans?
Your storage needs will likely be in a constant state of growth. Learn precisely how the cloud storage provider’s pricing structure works. Does it offer flexibility, allowing you to upgrade, downgrade or change your plan as you need more or less space? Or does it lock you into a fixed contract that may not evolve with your needs?
Considering these questions before you decide on a cloud storage provider will help to ensure that you are creating an asset for your business. If properly planned and utilized in the right way, your business could realize greater efficiencies, enhanced security, and practical mobility.
For expert guidance and a free consultation regarding cloud storage, contact Alliance Technologies at 314-219-7887.
Jim is an operations, business development and program/project management leader with Executive Management experience in both Service and Manufacturing environments.
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