As a business, moving most of your IT needs to the cloud is one of the easiest ways of streamlining operations. This is an excellent way to reduce the cost and complexity of using IT systems, and it also makes it easier to scale various services across different geographical areas. Getting good value for money from the cloud services often requires that you select one carefully, rather than simply randomly picking one. There are a few questions you can ask yourself to make this process easier and these include:
Which services are provided, and which ones do you need?
When thinking of cloud computing, many people only imagine that this only means cloud storage. This might have been true in the past, but today there are many services that you can get from the cloud. These include cloud-based customer relationship management solutions, virtual servers, software and application services that are run from the cloud and many more.
It is critical that you figure out the exact type of cloud service you need before you start shopping for it. For instance, if you are only interested in cloud storage, there would be no reason for you to pay for a cloud package that also includes online customer relationship management.
What is the company’s pricing structure?
Different cloud service providers have different product bouquets, and each of these has a different pricing structure. The importance of finding out more about the pricing structure is that it helps you figure out what you are paying for, and whether you are wasting any money. If a particular deal has too many add-ons that you might not use, it would not be wise to pay for it since you would waste money.
How secure is the service?
Once you start using cloud services, you are likely to find yourself using more and more of it in future since it’s so convenient. For instance, when you start using the service for online storage today, you may find yourself later on paying for other services such as the use of online applications. This will definitely involve moving most of your company’s data online. Having this data accessible to other parties can be detrimental to the success of your firm.
For this reason, you should always find out what security measures the company has in place. These could include the presence of firewalls, antivirus systems and advanced encryption and authentication methods. The best way to make sure that the cloud is secure is by finding out what the current cutting edge security is, and then comparing this with the ones that the firm offers. If the two are worlds apart, it might not be wise to trust them with your data.
Where is the data center?
Cloud services will need to be stored in some sort of physical data center. It might not seem like much to the client, but the location of the data center goes a long way in determining the quality of service that one is likely to get from it. For instance, if the data center is located in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, there is an increased risk of losing the data due to hardware failure.
The other aspect of location that you should check is the way in which redundancy has been achieved. Typically, cloud service firms will have two data centers that are far from each other so that in case one fails for any reason, there is a backup in another part of the world. Ideally, the these two should not be within the same geographical bounds, since this would mean that something as severe as a huge natural disaster could end up taking them both out.
What can the customer service do for you?
Once you decide to move most of the business to the cloud, the cloud company will effectively become more lie a partner in the business. This is especially so if you are looking to offload most of the IT services to the cloud. In such cases, having a problem with the service could end up slowing down your business.
You should expect a reliable customer service in place so that if you ever need them, you will not have a major problem getting them. The best way to assess the quality of the customer service department is to find out when they are available (ideally, they should be available 24 hours a day 7 days a week) as well as what previous and current customers have to say about them. If it turns out that many people are disappointed about the service, you would be better off avoiding it.
Once you carefully select the right cloud service, it will definitely become an indispensable part of your business. The above are some of the questions you can ask to guide you in the selection of a great cloud service to sign up for.