The 5 Questions You Must Ask Your Potential Cloud Partner

Robert Peretson

There’s no hotter topic right now than moving to the Cloud.

And with good reason.

 

Moving apps and data out of the office and into the Cloud gives business owners new levels of productivity and potential cost savings.

There are also a number of other benefits that you need to keep in mind when thinking of cloud migration:

 

Benefits of the Cloud
 

  • Cloud-based data allows for easy access from anywhere as long as there’s an Internet connection – from home, on the road, or even from smart phones.
  • Cloud-based data also allows for easier collaboration with colleagues regardless of geographic location.
  • Cloud services such as remote backup and business continuity potentially provide higher levels of data safety than having all of the company’s critical information sitting in a server room in the back of the office.
  • And Cloud-based applications offer businesses a way to use the programs they need without having to make steep investments in hardware.

But while moving to the Cloud brings some very strong benefits, it also opens up a whole new world of security concerns.

Security in the Cloud

With the data now sitting out there on someone else’s server, we’ve got to be confident that the company we’re entrusting the lifeblood of our client’s very business is up to the task.

We’ve got to ask some important questions to make sure the data remains safe, available and protected from prying eyes. Here’s five you should start with:

1.    How secure is the data from unauthorized access?– In many cases, your client’s data will be stored on servers along with many other companies. Possibly even their competitors. In what ways does the provider ensure that no one other than those authorized can access your data?

2.    How secure is the data from internal, unauthorized access?- Who at the provider has access to the data and what precautions are taken to ensure, for example that an administrator employed by the provider can’t copy, email, etc. your client’s sensitive information?

3.    How is the data backed up?– How many copies exist? In how many different locations? For how long is the data retained? At what level of granularity are the backups performed?  

4.    Are you able to easily obtain a complete copy of your full data set?– What if the provider goes out of business? Will you be able to obtain a usable copy of your data? What if you want to change providers? How easy will it be to transfer the data?

5.    What protection does the provider’s SLA offer?– No provider can guarantee zero downtime. How will the provider compensate your client should their service fail and access to data is lost? Is the compensation meaningful to your client if they lose access for an extended period of time?

Do Your Research

Be diligent in researching your potential Cloud partners. A great way to get to know how providers communicate with their partners and get some valuable feedback from current customers is to network through social media channels like a dedicated LinkedIn group or Facebook Fan Page.

Finding the right partner that can provide the services your client wants – and the reliability you need – will mean better satisfied clients and a nicer bottom line for you.
 

Robert Peretson is the founder of Perry Consulting, a New York based MSP that has provided support to many of the city's most progressive and prestigious small businesses since 1996. 

Robert is also the editor of http://SuccessfulComputerConsulting.com, a website dedicated to helping Computer Consultants achieve greater success through proper business development practices and proven IT Marketing strategies.