Application hosting on the cloud is rapidly gaining momentum among businesses. The conversation around adopting cloud has now progressed from ‘if’ to ‘when’. Businesses are showing strong interest in cloud offerings that can offer them increase business agility with reduced cost. There are plenty of cloud service providers and still growing in the marketing.
It makes the task of choosing best pick for yourself a challenging and daunting one. When it comes to building a relationship with your potential provider, there is no replacement for transparency. Your cloud provider should be able to answer any query related to security, privacy or compliance needs. Here are 5 vital questions to ask your potential cloud service provider to help you choose the right one that fulfills your particular requirements.
1. Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
While many businesses use the cloud as a part of their own backup plan, they gradually become dependent on their service provider to secure their critical data. You should be well aware where your data will reside in the event of a loss.
When it comes to disaster recovery plans, ask your cloud vendor if they have documented disaster recovery plan. Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) might sound a little techie, but it speaks a lot about the potential of the service provider. Ask them if they test it on a regular basis and identify a process to recover your data in case of loss. Your service provider should also know how frequent backups will be taken. Make sure that the data is replicated at multiple data centers in case one location fails.
2. What ongoing support do you provide?
One of the major factors when searching for a cloud provider is the support provided by them. There will be times when you will need assistance with your cloud setup. Without exception, customer support should be available to your staff 24*7, even on holidays, whenever you need assistance.
Make note of their customer service – what is their average response and query resolution time, do they provide proactive follow-up. Check if they have client testimonials to back up their promises regarding the support they offer. Not all cloud providers are same. Most providers offer email support and not much beyond that.
3. What if I lose my data?
When you made the decision to move to the cloud, you were expecting your data to be safe. Rightly so. But what if your cloud provider loses or accidently deletes your critical information? How will they rectify the problem? Make sure to ask them about their policy regarding data loss in writing. Enquire about their backup policy to minimize the risk. Be direct to find out if they have ever encountered such a situation before and how they got it resolved.
4. Where are your data centers located?
Data centers for different providers vary based on their priorities and requirement of their users. The location of data centers and their security structure is as important as online security since this is where your company’s information will be stored. You want to be completely sure that they can reliably store your company’s data forever.
For virtually each aspect of information handling, certificates are issued to the service providers. Ask for certificates that demonstrate the requirements your company must seek. See if they can provide you copies of their current compliances. Business interruption is often caused by security glitches. Thus, it is critical to understand what measure are being taken by the service provider at their data centers. At a minimum, there should be:
- Video surveillance
- 24*7*365 on-premise personnel
- Biometric access
5. What if I decide to change cloud provider?
Businesses often grow and change, one of the main benefits of cloud technology is the flexibility it provides. Having said that, it is advisable to speak to your potential cloud provider about their terminations process when it comes to switching the service provider.
Ask your provider if they have a written plan to assist you if you need to move your services to another provider. Also, enquire about extra charges you might face.
Technology and innovations have made our lives easier in many ways. With increasing cloud popularity, it is undeniable that business is starting to put more trust in the cloud. As a result, the speed of cloud adoption is accelerating faster. However, not all cloud providers would be able to fulfill your requirements but make sure that your potential provider answers these questions affirmatively.