Businesses are starting to understand the significance of cloud technologies. According to some recent statistics, 94% of companies have already migrated to the cloud. That is not surprising at all, given that cloud infrastructures provide businesses with multiple benefits. No matter if you run a startup or an international corporation, the cloud will help you scale strategically, reduce costs, and adapt your IT infrastructure to your business’ specific needs.
It basically gives access to all the information that you may need in your day to day working environment from everywhere and anytime. Having that type of access makes the cloud an excellent place to store all necessary data virtually. This will help to maintain a good workflow as well as flexibility which nowadays is really important.
However, with a plethora of cloud vendors out there, how to choose the right one? We will assume that you have already compared different cloud providers based on their price. In this article, we will answer what other criteria you should consider when evaluating cloud services.
Choose the Right Type of the Cloud
As a business owner, you first need to decide what your cloud needs and goals are. To do so, you should first ask a few questions, such as:
- What kind of data do I need to store?
- What software will I use in the cloud?
- How many employees or devices will be connected to the cloud platform?
- How big is my budget?
Based on those questions, you need to choose the right cloud infrastructure for your business. Depending on the type of deployment, cloud infrastructures can be classified into public, private, and hybrid.
When using the public cloud, you share hardware, storage, and network devices with other cloud users, which may impact your security and performance. The good thing is that you do not need to worry about maintenance because all cloud resources are owned and managed by a third-party vendor.
In the private cloud, all computing resources are used by your company. As all hardware and software components are dedicated solely to your organization, it will be easier for you to customize your cloud infrastructure to your business’ specific requirements and industry regulations. Precisely because of that, many mid- to large-size enterprises, financial organizations, and government agencies choose to invest in private cloud providers.
Finally, hybrid clouds help you get the best of both worlds, since they allow you to combine private and public clouds. For example, you could use your private cloud to store high-volume, non-sensitive information. On the other hand, you could save business-critical data on the private cloud.
Evaluate the Cloud Platform’s Security
Compare several cloud service vendors to learn more about the data security measures and mechanisms they offer. Always focus on the providers that enable sophisticated anti-virus detection, firewalls, continuous security audits, multi-factor authentication, and data encryption.
Next, evaluate their pricing plans. Your goal is to understand what security features are provided for free and which ones are paid. The majority of cloud providers make this data transparent by listing their standard security features, paid features, and app integrations on their websites.
Make Sure the Vendor Meets your Industry’s Compliance
Features like scalability, flexibility, mobility, and lower entry costs encourage many companies to switch from on-premise storage to the cloud. However, these features are not enough for you to choose a cloud provider. Namely, when collecting and storing customer data, many businesses need to comply with many regulations, depending on their industry and services they provide.
For example, the U.S. government agencies need to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), healthcare organizations should comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), while public retail companies are beholden to PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). In Australia, there are the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) that dictate how businesses can collect, store, use, and disclose customers’ data, what organizations’ accountability is, and what rights people have to access their personal information.
Never assume that the cloud vendor will meet the compliance requirements in your industry. Even if they provide exceptional data security features, you should keep in mind that the compliance requirements vary across different sectors. Talk to a cloud vendor to understand what steps they would take to meet industry compliance requirements once your data is stored there. Most importantly, you should know what your responsibilities lie.
Learn how Efficient their Customer Support Is
Migrating to the cloud is the investment in the long-run. Precisely because of that, you need to choose a cloud vendor you trust. One of the key factors you should consider is their customer support. Talk to a vendor honestly and ask them about the types of customer support they offer.
For example, if they provide customer service via email or call center, will they be able to respond to your inquiries fast and accurately? Look for providers that enable multi-channel customer service. Apart from email and call centers, they should also provide customer support via live chat, chatbots, or IM.
If there is one thing this article teaches you, it is not to choose a cloud vendor based on their pricing. Migrating to the cloud is a big decision and, as such, it needs to be done strategically. Remember that there is no uniform approach to choosing a cloud provider. To make the right decision, you first need to understand what your specific business requirements and needs are. I hope these tips will help you.