5 Things to Look For When Choosing a Cloud Provider

Organizations of all sizes, and across every industry have made the move to the cloud to increase productivity and reduce capital expenditures—and now it’s your turn! But what should you look for when selecting a cloud provider? We’ve identified five topics you should consider to ensure you don’t get involved with a "fake" cloud provider.

Security

There’s a reason this is at the top! Experts predict that cybercrime will cost companies on average $6 trillion per year through 2021, and ransomware blackmailing has become a $2 billion criminal industry itself (just ask the city of Atlanta). So, when choosing a cloud provider, you will want to be sure they have protocols in place to protect your data; this includes firewalls, antivirus software, and digital encryption. You’ll also want to ask about security measures that exist in the physical realm such as 24/7 facility surveillance, and a properly weather-proofed facility (for example, a hurricane-rated structure that is tucked away from flood zones).

Compliance

Regulations and industry standards are changing—or being created—every day. To keep up, many organizations have moved to the cloud, entrusting that their provider’s infrastructure will meet industry standards. For example, if your organization is bound to SOC 2, HIPAA, CJIS, or another framework you’ll want to check that the provider you choose is transparent about where your data is housed, and will be willing to work with your auditing team to ensure total compliance.

Scalability

As your business grows, you want a cloud provider that can grow with you—that’s the beauty of the cloud. Hardware infrastructure can hamper growth, and that capital expenditure can have CFO’s shaking their head. With the cloud, there’s no need to purchase additional servers, or find the real estate to house them; instead, you can simply ask your provider to allocate the additional resources you need to expand your cloud environment. Be sure to ask potential providers if they can ramp up quickly—generally within 24 hours—to support your growth.

Support

Are you looking for a provider or a partner? In some cases, you may only be able to access support through a chat service or a call center based out of the country, in other cases you may have a dedicated resource, however, availability may be limited. A good cloud provider will act as a partner; they understand the importance of your data and will make themselves available to you 24/7/365. Be sure to inquire about the support that’s provided before signing on the dotted line.

Ease of Implementation

You want your move to be as smooth as possible—and once you’ve migrated, you don’t want to think about maintenance. If that sounds like you, make sure that your cloud provider handles all server maintenance and software updates. You may also want to ask potential providers if they are approved to accept software assurance if you have it; this allows you to transfer any licenses you currently hold rather than paying for them again.

Migration to the cloud raises many questions. A respectable cloud provider will work with you to ensure all your questions are answered, and that the transition is as seamless as possible. Once you’ve moved to the cloud—with a provider you trust— you will reap the rewards by focusing on your business more, and the technology that runs it, less

Florida Southern College Disaster Recovery Case Study