How to choose a cloud service provider for your business

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As a company, a cloud service provider becomes your lifeline in the business world.

This service guards your company against sudden disaster and keeps you afloat when times get hard. What to consider when choosing a cloud provider?

In fact, the cloud has proven so valuable that 41 percent of businesses want to invest in the coming year in cloud technologies.

An estimated 51 percent of big to mid-size businesses plan to migrate to the cloud while only 35 percent of the smaller firms plan to up their cloud budget.

How do you choose a dependable cloud service provider? What criteria do you use for selecting a cloud provider?

Bigger Isn’t Always Better: Beware

Many times you see these companies bragging about how they worked with big Fortune 500 companies. Also, you hear about how Amazon dominates the cloud market with a 31 percent market share.

Meanwhile, Microsoft comes in second place at nine percent. Just because the company is big doesn’t mean it will work the best for you. In fact, if you’re a new startup company, it can be damaging to hire one of these big-name corporations. Why can a smaller cloud service provider be just as useful?

First, a more significant company may have no real understanding of your budget. Because they’re used to working with large corporations, they sometimes assume the little guy has the same budget.

Why Pick a Specialized Cloud Provider?

You may want to choose a specialized cloud provider because a company that specializes has valuable experience with addressing niche-specific problems, which cuts down on your downtime.

For example, a smaller company will have a leashed budget. Meanwhile, a healthcare company requires meeting specific data compliance laws to avoid the risk of multi-million dollar fines from OSHA. A niche cloud provider will understand the industry-specific laws and address them.

Ask Plenty of Questions Of Your Cloud Provider

Asking questions can help you to ensure you get the most from your cloud provider. For example, be sure to ask about the cloud services given. This guarantees you buy the services your business will need.

Pricing Structure: It Varies

Beware of when a cloud company charges a considerable upfront fee because reputable cloud providers don’t usually charge like this. Different cloud providers will base their charges in a different fashion. For example, yearly, semi-yearly, hourly or monthly. How you get charged depends on the vendor, but you should choose a pricing plan you feel comfortable with.

Another area to ask about involves the pricing structure of the cloud. Ian McClarty, the CEO for PhoenixNAP Global IT Solutions, says “You should only hire a cloud provider if you feel comfortable with their security measures. Do your homework, only pay for the cloud technologies you plan to use.”

What Security Measures are in Place?

Security should always be a top concern with companies and handing them your sensitive data. Some of the security measures you may want in your next provider include:

  • Antivirus protection
  • Firewall
  • Multifactor user-authentication
  • Data encryption
  • Routine security audits

In addition to these security measures, you should also ask if your business cloud server providers do background checks on employees to weed out identity thieves and cybercriminals.

You should also make sure you haven’t paid a guy who only has a couple of servers in a spare room. There are many reputable cloud-based computing vendors, read online reviews.

You want to avoid anyone who may bring the security of your business into question.

Hybrid Cloud Plan Available?

When you have your own in-house backup server, and you don’t want to get rid of it, you can choose a hybrid plan instead. A hybrid plan puts some of your data on the cloud and saves the rest to your servers. In fact, in some cases, this is a smart way to transition over to the cloud slowly.

You still have the freedom of having your own servers, but you can move some stuff over to the cloud to simplify your workload. Even when you don’t plan to use the cloud initially, you should first check to ensure your cloud service provider supports this model. Some hybrid cloud advantages:

  • Cost benefits, Cloud server pricing
  • enterprise storage options?
  • Puts the lock and key on your personal information and customer transactions
  • Scalable
  • Made for the future

The Hidden Dangers of Ransomware

Believe it or not, the cloud protects you from dangers like losing your data forever. As a matter of fact, disaster recovery will usually include cloud as part of the plan because it has become so useful.

When ransomware puts the padlock on your data, you can just reset your computer to before you had the virus. Without a data backup system like this, you hand the beating heart of your business over into the hands of your hackers.

How Ransomware Works

This virus will lock down all your data and demand a ransom, usually between $200 to $4,000 for the safe return of your precious data. Desperate business owners have sometimes paid the hackers big ransoms only to have the cybercriminals delete their data anyhow. Some of the businesses who paid the ransom fees include:

  • Los Angeles Valley College—$28,000
  • University of Calgary—$20,000

When the entirety of your income relies on the files your company uses, ransomware can cripple your company to where you can never get back up. Why give your hard-earned money to criminals?

In fact, 60 percent of the victims who suffer a ransomware attack close their doors and never open them again. With a private cloud or hybrid cloud solution, the business shield company files from losses.

The Disaster That Almost Was...

Having a disaster recovery plan via the cloud guarantees that even if cryptolocker or WannaCry does infect your computer, you can get through it unharmed. We once had a customer call us up horrified because a power surge in their region of the city had knocked them out of business, and they had no idea when the power might return.

What’s worse, the business had a multi-million dollar contract on the line with a supercritical client. How did we tell this company to address the problem? First, we told them to calm down. Second, we told them to grab the car keys off the office desk and race home. Almost sounds like poor advice, right?

Fortunately, it wasn’t because where they lived still had access to power. Also, because the cloud operates with multiple redundancies, you can always access vital company data as long as you have an internet connection and electricity.

The business met their deadline, and they were so happy with the advice. In fact, it was the cloud technology that saved them from a potential disaster.

Choose a vendor with a Private Cloud?

Instead of pooling computing resources where one business hogs the resources unfairly, you can switch to a private cloud solution. This solution will dedicate hardware exclusive to your company, and your data gets secured safely in the cloud.

It also puts the kibosh on security exploits and hands you the best of both worlds. For example, you will see less downtime and a higher dependability at a much lower cost than what you’d receive with the traditional IT.

Intuitive Understanding of Your Business Objectives

Before you sign a contract with a cloud provider, you should check on the commitment of the company to understanding your business goals and if they will rush to meet your specific objectives.

Seek out a cloud provider who elaborates on the business advantages you want. For example, streamlined product delivery or a higher customer retention.

Never sign a contract with a cloud provider until after you have defined your specific business needs and have a clear understanding of the agreement.

While that sounds obvious, you have to detail your specific requirements and expectations.

You should also look at your needs for data backup because every business will need to defend their confidential information from the exploits of hackers.

Choosing the right cloud service provider

Armed with the knowledge of clarity on security, technical and service management requirements, you will have a more effective group of providers.

Also, you should understand the specific environments and workloads you want to migrate over to the cloud. I hope you found the information useful in making the best decision for your business.