Selecting a Cloud Service: 5 Questions to Ask Prospective Providers

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Backups and Disaster Recovery

Do you offer backups and/or disaster recovery?

In addition to knowing how well protected your data is from compromise, it is also important to understand how protected your data is from accidental removal or from a catastrophic event. You must determine the smallest time period you are willing to risk having unrecoverable data. For a real-world example, if backups are made once an hour, on the hour, and a user deletes a file at 59 minutes after the hour, then the last backup that would be available is the one from 59 minutes prior. Assuming that users had worked on that file for the last 59 minutes, all of the work being done to that file is now permanently lost. For some this may be an acceptable risk and a lower frequency may be requested, for example, every four hours. Alternatively, this may be very risky and your business could only withstand a 15-minute interval of lost data.

Backup frequency is only half of the answer. Backup retention is equally as important. If the backups are only retained for 24 hours, and it takes you 24 hours to realize you encountered a data loss, the backups have already been overwritten before you realize you have an issue. Backup retention could be as short as a day, or as long as a year or more. Backup costs rise significantly as you need more frequent backups and/or backups retained longer since it requires more storage to maintain the volume of data.

Finally, if the cloud has a catastrophic failure, is your data backed up to an offsite facility? Work with the cloud provider to understand what disaster recovery options are included or available, as well the geographic locations.

Are you thinking about moving your business to the cloud? If so, you'll need a cloud provider. The provider needs to be a partner that will collaborate with you on design, and build and support a tailored solution that meets your business requirements for security, compliance, reliability and customization. But how do you determine which provider is right for your business? Knowing the right questions to ask is half the battle. In this slideshow, Concerto Cloud Services has identified five questions organizations should pose to prospective service providers during the selection process. Charting this information on a scorecard with which you can base your final decision is a recommended way to approach the process.


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