Congratulations for taking the bold step to move your business to the cloud. Moving your business to the cloud is one great step in the right direction that facilitates the growth of a business regardless of the niche. Moving your business to the cloud also helps in decision making and the overall planning of your business. In recent years, one tool that has been adopted to facilitate movement to the cloud is cloud computing.
Cloud computing offers companies lower operating costs, more agility, productive and more efficient work. However, regardless of these advantages, so many business owners find it difficult to choose or settle for a cloud provider. The big question is not whether or not businesses should migrate to the cloud, rather the big question should be how will a service provider fit into the already established business structure and business processes.
In view of the above, we decided to curate this post to help businesses make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the right cloud provider that would match their business requirements. Below are 5 of the important things to keep in mind in your search for the best cloud provider.
#1. Security Capabilities
Over the years, the issue of security has remained one of the numerous factors holding most businesses from embracing the cloud. The moment you move your business to the cloud, you’re giving a third-party access to your business data and that of your customers, with the expectation that the provider will keep the information safe. Sadly, with so many ugly stories of data breaches and cyber attackers, big brands are not even spared out. They are also subject and vulnerable to these attacks.
As such, today’s businesses are skeptical about releasing their data to service providers. In a bid to improve on the ugly situation, most cloud providers are now putting in place strong measures to improve their internal security and also protecting their customers’ data and personal information. In your search for a cloud provider, ensure you pick a provider with a strong internal security. The provider should have measures like firewalls, data encryption, anti-virus software, and routine security audits in place before settling for them.
#2. Price Considerations
Though surprising, the major reason why businesses are considering movement to the cloud is to bring down their operational costs. Prices are now very competitive, even as so many cloud providers flood the market in search of potential clients. Before you choose a service provider, make sure you examine their pricing structure closely and pick the one whose pricing structure matches your budget.
More so, many cloud providers offer free trials for a specific period. You can also take advantage of that to see whether their services will suit your business. If you are satisfied with their services, you can then upgrade to become a premium member. Once you know the pricing structure of a cloud provider, it becomes easy to make a decision considering your budget at hand. Another important thing to keep in mind is the cost of renewal of your plan. Some cloud providers actually charge higher when renewing your plan. Therefore, find out from the provider and figure the amount in your budget for the next renewal.
#3. Data Storage Location
Another important consideration is the location where the cloud provider stores users’ data. While most people believe that storing data is an abstract concept, data is actually stored in a physical location only to be moved or transferred over the internet. Before you settle for a cloud provider, find out where they intend to store your business data. If the provider insists they store data in another country, it will do you good to find out how the country’s law will affect who has access to the data and who can control the data.
A good question to ask the cloud provider is whether the data storage location is at risk of natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, or tornadoes. If a vendor has a plan to protect their clients’ data during emergencies like the ones we have highlighted, such a vendor is what you need for your business. You shouldn’t hesitate to choose this type of cloud provider.
#4. Service Level Agreement (SLA)
When you decide on a cloud vendor, the service level agreement is an important consideration. The agreement outlines what their responsibilities are and what they expect from your business. The agreement will capture things like the type of data that would be stored, cloud cost control, how the data would be protected, what happens during natural disasters or emergencies, and how problems are solved. In summary, the summary level agreement will help businesses to fully understand the operation of a cloud vendor or provider.
#5. Tech Support
The list of things to look up for when choosing a cloud provider would not be complete with robust tech support. Remember that there is no perfect system anywhere, be open and expect problems from time to time. So, when problems arise, the cloud provider you should choose should be able to provide tech support to remedy the situation so that you don’t suffer unending downtime, which may threaten the survival of your business.
Before picking a cloud provider, ask them how they go about their tech support. Ask them their availability during the week and weekends. Also find out the best possible ways to reach out to them during emergencies. If a cloud provider doesn’t have all these things in place, you should avoid such a provider.
Okay, that’s it. Choosing a cloud provider for your business is an important decision that must be taken seriously if you want to scale your business. While there are lots of considerations, this article focused on the major factors to consider. If you can tick the boxes in these 5 areas we have highlighted, your business will be a step closer to gaining traction and achieving your business objectives. Once you settle for a cloud provider, you will be able to take full advantage of what cloud computing and cloud storage have to offer.
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