Cloud computing can change the way you do business, but it’s essential you choose the right cloud provider. Entrusting your data and applications to a third party is a big step. Here are some questions to help you get started.
- How do I access my data? Ideally, you will be able to access your data 24/7/365 from your cloud provider. However, in practice there may be limitations or delays to your access. Be sure to fully understand what you are agreeing to and that it works for your business goals.
- How does user authentication work? You want to ensure that only authorized users are able to access your information. This means authenticating users with pass codes or other means. Many cloud providers offer a two-step authentication to enhance your security. You will also want to understand how to add or remove authorized users, so you have complete control over access to your data.
- How do you handle security? In addition to user authentication, you need to make sure that your cloud provider is keeping their servers up to date on security. This means regular anti-virus updates and security patches. Encrypting stored data is an additional layer of security that can protect your information.
- What is your disaster recovery plan? Your cloud provider should be ready for a hardware or software failure from any source including natural disasters. Regular back-ups to geographically distant servers can help ensure that your data is always safe. You should ask how long it will take to recover, how far back you can retrieve data, and if there are any privacy concerns with their server locations.
- How does cancellation of my policy work? Eventually you may want to terminate your contract with your cloud provider. Your provider should have a process in place to help you transfer your data back to your own servers or another cloud service. The terms and timeline should be clearly spelled out so you know what you will need to do at that time.
Entrusting your data to a cloud provider is a big step, but one that can have many benefits for your company. By doing your due diligence and asking the right questions of a potential cloud provider, you can be sure your data and applications are safe and you are entering a beneficial relationship for your company.
Not sure if moving to the cloud is right for you? Give us a call and we’d be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
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