Questions to Ask When Choosing a Cloud Storage Provider
Choosing to move some of your business operations, like data or document storage, to the cloud can greatly help in systematizing your overall workflow, cut costs in different ways, and also prevent the need for developing and maintaining IT hardware in-house. In addition to helping you with your storage needs, the cloud will also make it extremely easier for your team members or employees to work with their team online, gain access to necessary business information, and report for work when they are traveling on business or working from a different location.
One other major benefit you get to enjoy by using a cloud storage service for your business needs is that you can focus on your core business and leave all your IT related concerns to the cloud storage provider you choose.
With the number of cloud storage service providers increasing year after year, and each of them claiming to provide the best services and features, it can be quite overwhelming for you when it comes to choosing a cloud storage company. To make sure that you make the right decision, here are a few vital questions you should ask when choosing a cloud storage provider.
What type of cloud services do you provide?
Different cloud providers offer different types of services. Before shortlisting a list of service providers, you should first be aware of your cloud storage or computing needs because this understanding will play a huge role in the type of cloud services you may need. Some cloud services excel in offering software-based services, helping store data, documents, images, etc. on the cloud. When it comes to specific business functions, there are also cloud service providers that help with Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting, etc. Some providers also offer a wide range of cloud computing services in one platform.
How secure is your platform?
If you are planning on storing your sensitive or critical business data on the cloud, the level of security offered by a cloud storage provider is perhaps the most important factor you should consider. The cloud storage provider you choose should implement numerous security protocols and keep updating them in order to ensure complete security at all times. When it comes to security, you need to look for factors such as data encryption, user authentication, frequent security audits, and firewalls. In addition, question the cloud provider about which of their employees will be given access to your data or documents for official purposes. On the whole, you should be comfortable with storing your crucial data with that particular provider.
What are the involved costs?
In the case of cloud services, it is always best to choose a service that allows you to pay for only what you use. Most cloud service providers have a pay-as-you-go pricing structure; however, be wary of companies that advertise to offer this pricing structure, but actually add more upfront and other costs in the overall pricing package. Based on the cloud provider you choose, you may be required to pay on a monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. And based on your business needs, the amount you will have to pay for a cloud storage service can vary anywhere between a two digit amount to a few hundred dollars.
Where will you store my data?
This is another important question that you should ask your cloud storage provider and also make sure that you get a reasonable answer for the same. You need to be sure that the company’s datacenter facilities are advanced and meet proper security and control standards. You can ensure this by looking for different certifications. Also, try to know the geographic area where your data will be stored because you will need this information to make sure that your data storage location meets with relevant regulations.
What if you lose my data?
As you will be storing your vital information or data on the cloud, you should also think about the worst case scenario and ask about what the company can or will do if they happen to lose your data for some reason. Be sure to check the service level agreement (SLA) for provisions regarding such circumstances, and ask for their data redundancy techniques or process to eliminate such losses.
Can your services scale up as my business grows?
Your business will certainly grow with time, and so will your business’s cloud storage requirements. Therefore, the cloud storage provider you choose should be ready to offer flexible storage options, so your storage limit scales up as your storage needs increase. Also make sure that the cloud storage provider gives you the ability to include more users to your cloud storage account, so it will be easy for you to add new members to teams or when you recruit new employees to your company
How can I contact you for support?
Choosing a provider with multiple customer support options will be a great plus for your business. You must be able to contact their representatives via email and by phone any time of day and on any day of the week, with no exceptions whatsoever. Also read reviews about the company’s customer support features, response time, and knowledge of their technical team in solving issues.