Don’t Sign A Cloud Agreement Without Asking These 9 Questions!
Cloud services are a booming solution for businesses today to streamline operations and save money. Most companies realize the burden of keeping their operations internal and seek an outside resource to take care of their needs. How can you be sure you’re getting what you need?
Ask questions! Don’t be shy, ask your IT company all those burning questions. Run through some scenarios and inquire about how your operations will change. Here are 9 questions to ask before you sign up with a cloud service provider:
1. What security is in place to protect my data?
Ask your potential cloud service providers about their data-protection policy. Do they have procedures in place for security, regular audits, ongoing monitoring, and recovery if your data is missing or lost? Make sure the provider has controls in place to keep your company information safe.
2. What is the Service Level Agreement (SLA) remediation process?
What guarantee do you get with the services in which your investing your company data? The SLA is the agreement between you and the provider that spells out the details of your relationship. Look for a remediation process in case they fail to hold up their end of the contract. Things can go wrong, and they do, so it’s extremely important to know how they will handle a system failure and compensation so you can ensure your company’s future.
3. How do I know if something is failing?
Ask your cloud provider how they keep track of failed server instances. You will want to know how quickly they can find an issue, notify you of the outage, and fix a problem. Review the providers offerings regarding monitoring and reporting. Some cloud providers don’t offer much in terms of support, so make sure you find out if they will be watching your environment or if you need to take that on internally.
4. What happens if my data become corrupt?
How many copies of your data are stored? If something goes terribly wrong and your data is corrupt, can the company reconstruct your greatest asset? Make sure your cloud provider offers an adequate back-up solution so you can count on them to recover your data gracefully when problems arise.
5. Do I have fast enough Internet to support this cloud solution?
Don’t sign up for any cloud solution until you’re sure your Internet connection can handle it. There is nothing worse than buying a new solution for your business and it simply isn’t compatible. Imagine making orange juice with just a straw and an orange. While you could drink most of the juice out of the orange, it would take a long time and be very cumbersome. Now think about a juicer with a nice pour spout and plenty of room to capture all the juice and deliver it to a glass for consumption. Your Internet may be like the straw, only large enough to pass small amounts of data through at a time. Consider juicing up your Internet to create a flowing connection you can rely on.
6. What options will we have to access the cloud?
Most cloud providers offer a handful of ways to access your cloud environment. However, some will charge an arm and a leg for each connection. Ask what options there are and the costs associated. For example, Do you pay for virtual machines? Do you have to pay resource charges or just licensing? What will your final billing be monthly?
7. Can I restrict users in our organization from seeing specific things?
All cloud providers don’t offer the same features. If you have a hierarchy in your business and need multiple levels of access, ask your provider upfront if they offer these access controls. Unfortunately, in many cases providers only offer one level of access. This means, every person in your company that accesses the cloud will have the freedom to do whatever they want and see everything.
8. What if I need more space?
If your organization requires a large amount of data to be stored long-term, check with your cloud provider to see what procedures and costs are involved in adding on storage. Ask about possible limitations on the size of the disk space. Don’t put your company in a cloud that is just too small to scale with your future growth or expansion plans.
9. What if I want to change providers?
How easy is it to migrate to another provider if you’re unhappy? Make sure you know what you’re getting into. Don’t wait until it is too late. Pushing your data between cloud service providers is a pretty new concept and some cloud companies have not developed their systems to allow for this kind of transfer.
Interested in exploring cloud options for your company? Give us a call today for your Free Cloud Services Assessment and find out if a cloud solution is right for your business.
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