How to Research Reputable Cloud Providers for Your Business

Cloud Computing

Over 69 percent of enterprises plan to make significant cloud investments over the next three years to migrate their business functions to the cloud, according to a study by Oxford Economics and SAP. This research also shows that 44 percent of companies are focusing on creating products and services in the cloud. That figure is expected to increase up to 55 percent in the next three years.

Your company’s question probably isn’t when to switch or scale up in the cloud, but which provider to choose. Start your search by looking at ratings and reviews from top cloud providers, then narrow your focus to start your research. It’s a no-brainer to look at uptime statistics and pricing points. But what’s next? Here are some key issues and questions to consider when researching cloud providers.

Look at their client list and case studies

One of the quickest ways to figure out if a cloud provider is reputable is by looking at their client list and current case studies. Look to see if the companies they support are similar in size and complexity as your own business. A cloud provider who supports mostly solopreneurs or tiny organizations with little cloud computing needs doesn’t need the same support as a large corporation.

But a client list doesn’t paint the whole picture. Those clients may be using the cloud provider for a small arm of their business or dumped their service altogether. Browsing through case studies can give you insight into how the cloud provider helped them through a difficult problem or helped their company.

Understand how migration works

Transferring your data to a new cloud provider isn’t as simple as choosing a new company. Ask about the process behind how your data is migrated over for the first time as well as during your day-to-day cloud needs. For example, CrashPlan regularly looks for changes in your data to access the most recent catalog of data available. And just about any cloud provider promises a smooth migration, so it’s important to also ask how scalable it is. If your company’s cloud computing needs suddenly grow, you need to know how fast your cloud provider can allocate extra storage.

Check the location and security

Your cloud provider should have several layers of security in place and a defined protocol for safety. Ask about firewalls, data encryption and how often the system is audited for security. Request documentation on how security breeches are handled and what happens if your data is compromised. One factor companies often overlook when choosing a cloud provider is where it is located. Is the provider in a secure facility or just a rented room on the outskirts of town with one person manning a server?

Investigate their customer service training

It’s easy to outsource customer service needs and supply a script to talk through various scenarios. Your cloud provider may have solid uptime and security, but seriously lack in provider quality service when something goes wrong. Ask the cloud provider if their customer service agents are engineers, cloud experts and even where they’re located. Follow up with questions about how long it generally takes to resolve a customer issue and the protocol for resolution. If the cloud provider can’t give you specifics or balks at the request, they’re probably not going to come through when you need them most.

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