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    You Can’t Be My Cloud Vendor Until… Six Things You Need to Know

    In today’s highly connected world, the benefits and widespread adoption of cloud computing are not just limited to enterprises and government agencies; its transformative impact has prompted changes to a variety of businesses across several verticals – both big and small. In fact, a recent study by Emergent Research,”Small Business Success in the Cloud,” found that the percentage of U.S. small businesses using cloud computing is expected to grow by more than half by the year 2020, from 37 percent to nearly 80 percent.

    The increased momentum toward cloud computing demonstrates that more and more companies are capitalizing upon the cost benefits associated with cloud computing, as well as the ability to streamline and modernize business models. The growing reliance on the cloud to house everything from banking information to other personal data has made the importance of finding a reputable, secure cloud vendor all the more essential. But where do you begin when starting the search?

    Cloud computing relies on real computers (fast servers if companies want good performance), with fast processors, memory and storage to deliver their virtual computing resources. Powerful and reliable software is important to deliver consistent performance and scalability, as well as fast and reliable networks to give users access to the virtual computing resources, software, data and services. What makes these all work together to deliver a successful and secure cloud solution isn’t magic (while it may seem that way sometimes). Rather, according to Connectria Hosting, it’s a smart, experienced cloud vendor that has these six qualities.

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    Cloud Vendor Must-Have Checklist

    Click through for six qualities a cloud vendor should possess before you sign on the dotted line, as identified by Connectria Hosting.

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    Latest Security Standards

    Moves in lock step with the latest security standards

    The number one concern when migrating to a cloud environment is security. Meeting the latest security standards can prove to be a daunting task for any company – especially as they are constantly evolving. For this reason, it’s essential that your hosting provider touts a reputable and expansive knowledge of the latest security standards. Two timely examples include: SSAE 16 (a standard for how security is audited, and breaches are reported) and Safe Harbor (a streamlined process for U.S. companies to comply with EU directives). When vetting a prospective or current hosting provider, make sure that they have provisions in place for regularly updating their security standards.

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    Successful Track Record

    Proven track record of successfully keeping customer data safe

    No matter what industry you are in, the importance of security in the wake of (seemingly) regular data breaches is a threat to us all – and a costly one at that. According to recent research from the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach to a company has risen 15 percent over the last year, totaling $3.5 million dollars globally, and the average cost paid for each stolen or lost record has increased more than 9 percent from $136 to $145 million. When searching for or vetting a current hosting provider, demand to know if they have a proven and safe track record.

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    Private Cloud Infrastructure

    Has private cloud infrastructure for added security

    Many companies who want to adopt cloud computing while mitigating their security risks should look for a hosting provider who can offer private clouds. A private cloud offers all the same benefits of a public cloud but dedicates resources (e.g. servers, firewalls, etc.) to a single customer. Private clouds prevent other companies with poor security practices from sharing your data center resources. Demand a provider that performs background checks before allowing customers to host.

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    Compliance

    Experience addressing regulatory compliance (HIPAA/PCI)

    With costly penalties – both fiscal and reputational – stretching across a variety of business verticals, the need to trust one’s hosting provider to meet stringent security requirements is an integral part of today’s IT business plan. If you are a company that accepts, processes or stores credit card information, you are likely very familiar with PCI data security standards. Or, if you’re a company within the health care and dental industry you are aware that you must comply with HIPAA and HITECH Act security standards surrounding the storage of protected health information (PHI). When it comes to meeting these security requirements, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Flexibility in hosting options is essential to ensure you are getting the right coverage necessary to comply with governmental standards as well as meeting your business needs.

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    Staffing

    Employs tenured engineers

    Data centers are the heart of an organization. When a company entrusts their data to a data center hosting provider, they need to be sure that the engineering and operational support teams have excellent knowledge and execution skills in specific areas, one of the most important being security.

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    Sound Finances

    Maintains sound financial standing

    You may be just getting your business off the ground or have recently gone through a round of funding – but the last thing you want is for your hosting provider to go out of business. Choose a company that not only has a strong history in the hosting community, but also has a proven track record of being financially sound. Look for things such as long-term growth and profitability.

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