So you have admitted you don't know what you don't know when looking for a cloud provider. Here are some helpful tips and things to look for in your search for a reputable cloud provider.
When looking for a cloud provider, make sure they have strong relationships with other technology providers in their space. Vendors such as VMware, Citrix and others are leaders in the virtualization and cloud technology space. By having strong partnerships, your cloud provider should know what technology is out there today and what is coming down the pipeline that could help your business in the future. Vendors also provide a significant amount of education for their partners, making those who are well-connected experts in their field. Overall, these partnerships will provide the knowledge of how all the technologies work together to maximize the benefit to your business.
Reliable Data Center
A reliable and secure data center is an important piece of choosing a cloud provider. The data center should offer 24x7x365 physical and digital security, meaning they should have controls in place to prevent physical breaking and entering, as well as prevent virtual attacks against hackers, viruses and other intruders. The data center should also maintain redundancies so that in the event that something goes down, there is a backup. Whether that applies to the actual servers, data, power, temperature or Internet service, you want to make sure your provider has a plan in place in case something goes wrong. It may be a good idea to ask for a tour of the data center to see what kind of controls are in place. If your provider won't let you see it, that could be a red flag.
Instead of having to piecemeal your IT together using one provider here and another provider over there, you should look for someone that can deliver it all in one stop. A reputable cloud provider will offer you everything you need including the hardware, software, consulting and facility you need to maintain your network. By getting all your needs met in one place, you decrease the time you deal with IT issues. A provider that can offer a multitude of IT offerings is also sure to have been in the business long enough to offer you the expertise you need.
Your cloud provider needs to have a strong commitment to the technology they use. How long have they been offering this service? Did they simply re-brand a current offering to call it a "cloud service" to ride the cloud hype or is it truly a solution they created to meet your business needs? Don't settle for someone who is trying to just pass another service off as cloud technology. Look for someone who is a pioneer and has developed the technology over the past few years. This will help to ensure they have worked the bugs out and are now an expert.
Innovation is a part of a strong commitment to the technology. A good cloud provider should be constantly working to make their technology better, and should be rolling out new services, as well as providing features and benefits the other providers don't have.
Does the provider have other customers on the solution? How many and how long have they been using it? Another quality of a reputable cloud provider should be that they are willing to give you references and those references are willing to talk about their experience with the solution. Look for case studies or testimonials when making a decision.
If your organization requires advanced security, you might inquire if they are HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxley compliant. Even if your organization doesn't require that level of security, by being compliant in those areas, a provider is sure to have the necessary security in place for any business to deem it secure.
With the cloud a big buzz word in the industry today, make sure you take a detailed look at any provider you are considering and don't be afraid to make them prove their worth.
DynaSis is an Atlanta IT support provider for small and medium sized businesses in the metro area. DynaSis specializes in offering on-premise and on-demand managed IT service plans, managed hosting and professional equipment installation. For more information about DynaSis services visit www.dynasis.com.