At this point, it's nearly indisputable that the cloud is the future of modern business. But cloud technologies are more complicated than simply buying software - it requires finding a partner you can trust.
Your cloud services provider will effectively be another department in your business, and just as responsible for the safety and security of your data as your own IT department. In the best cases, you and they can work together to create security solutions that keep everyone secure.
But with so many new players in the game, it's also all too easy to get involved with a cloud provider which promises more than they can deliver.
So today, we've got a few questions and points of interest to press, when you're discussing the adoption of cloud services. Your choice of provider is going to be a major influence on the eventual success of the project.
1 - Do you own your own equipment and data centers?
When you're looking for business-grade cloud systems, it should be a red flag if you've talking to a cloud services provider who doesn't own at least most of their own equipment. If they're sub-contracting services themselves, then:
A - They're just a middleman, and
B - You don't have much\any control over their contracted partners.
Basically, if they're subcontracting most of their services, there's very little way they can guarantee any of the services they're offering. You're also putting yourself at greater security risk, since your data is getting spread between multiple outside businesses.
2 - What are your e-governance policies?
One of the trickiest areas of cloud service are the government regulations in place, partly because they keep changing. The government is frantically trying to keep regulatory pace with the cloud services industry, to ensure proper data protections and retention, but it's a fast-changing area.
Your cloud provider should be able to keep you fully appraised of regulatory changes that might affect your data, as well as helping you maintain proper record-keeping for audits, eDiscovery, and other governmental actions.
3 - What proof do you have of your track record?
Testimonials, reviews, and case studies can be some of the most powerful pieces of evidence when evaluating potential cloud providers. For one thing, it quickly demonstrates who's been in business long enough to prove they can provide the services offered.
If a cloud services partner gets cagey about showing real-world results to back up their claims, it's probably best to look elsewhere. The true experts in networking and cloud services will have plenty of success stories to show you.
4 - What are your own disaster recovery policies?
Here's another good question for separating the wheat from the chaff. A robust cloud provider will have equally-robust plans in place for protecting and recovering their own systems, in case of emergency or attack. They should be willing to share much of this information.
Remember: Just like with natural disasters, data disasters can strike any company without warning. That they suffered an attack or a major outage is not, by itself, indicative of problems on their part. The question is how quickly they recovered, and how they changed their policies afterwards to prevent it from happening again.
5 - What third-party certifications do you have?
Finally, ask for more evidence from outside experts. A cloud company that's as good as their word will almost certainly have industry certifications, major awards, or partnerships with leading technology firms.
A partner who has a long list of certifications and recorded achievements is far more likely to be able to provide the service you need to thrive.
There are a lot of complexities in the world of cloud services, especially where your own security is concerned. For more advice, or suggestions for top-tier partners, contact Hummingbird Networks today for a free consultation.