Guide To Choosing Secure Cloud Computing Services For Your Business

Lee Smith Cloud Computing Tags: ,

It can save a business money, streamline their workflow, and keep IT operations less complicated by transferring email and document storage to the cloud. This approach also makes it easier for those who are telecommuting to do so. When selecting cloud computing services it’s important to find one that makes security a priority, keeping these points in mind will help ensure that this requirement is met.

Different businesses have varying needs in terms of how they intend to utilize cloud storage, so the first thing to consider is what specific needs the company has in order to find a provider which can best match these. While some companies may only require basic data storage, others need a broader service which may include IT networking, and access to servers and software applications.

The cost of this type of service can differ from provider to another, and depends in part on how much storage a company needs and how many users there are. Generally it is structured as a “pay-as-you-go” fee schedule, with businesses being billed by the hour, month, quarterly, or yearly. Customers should not be required to pay anything upfront.

Security is undoubtedly the biggest issue that should concern a company interested in using these services. The following measures should be in place to ensure security; data encryption, multi-factor user authentication, anti-virus detection, routine security audits, and firewalls. It’s also important to ensure that the provider is regularly updating these measures. Clients should also inquire as to the provider’s compliance with industry-specific government legislation and find out what exactly who will have access to the data and if employees are screened prior to hiring.

Customers should also ask any potential provider where their data center is located since this to can affect its overall security. It must be kept in a location that is protected against possible theft, and also from natural disasters such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. If the provider has a SSAE 16 certification, this is a good indication that it meets a high standard where security is concerned.

In the event that the provider was to lose one’s data by accident, they must have a protocol in place to rectify the situation. Such provisions should be clearly outlined in the service agreement. Also it’s advisable to find out what actions they take to minimize the chances of data loss, and if they have ever had any issues with this in the past.

Excellent customer care is another quality which is essential to receiving good service. Technical support should be accessible by phone 24/7, an online live chat feature can also be helpful. Asking about options for expanding services if desired, namely increasing storage capacity and or the number of users, is also something one should learn more about.

Finding out about the provider’s “downtime” is generally advisable as well. This refers to an inaccessibility of the cloud services to users for a particular period of time, which of course are very inconvenient and costly. If these downtimes are not logged on the provider’s website, it’s best to ask about this issue.

Some providers also go a step further and provide assistance to help companies set up their services. This may be a complete step-by-step walk-through or it an online guide explaining the process of getting started.