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What to Consider When Choosing a Cloud Vendor

Your business is ready to move to the cloud, which is a big decision for you and your leaders to make. Prior to nailing down a partner for this migration, you need to consider a few things. In the following paragraphs, we’ll outline some factors to contemplate when choosing your cloud vendor.

Establish Your Priorities for Moving to the Cloud

First, prioritize what you want from this migration to the cloud. Knowing what you want to achieve with this new solution can lead to easier decision when picking a cloud provider. Although you will have a reason for your employees and shareholders, you need to take time to develop a solid base of cloud needs before diving into different partner options. Once you have established a list of needs, you can then move on the following considerations.

Consider Size, Budget and Accessibility

Think about the size of the cloud you need. Is it for storing files? Or do you want to collaborate on different platforms? Do your team members need to be working on an application together in real time? It’s worth considering that at some point you may want to expand your cloud abilities. Check out what other offerings your vendor might have in terms of applications, software and servers.

It’s also worth exploring how often your vendor makes updates. Some solutions, like Lawson Software, don’t always stay current with their offerings. You want a vendor that’s making updates frequently to improve your cloud.

Also work out a budget for your vendor. Yes, there’s the upfront price, but what can your business afford beyond that? There will be a maintenance fee, and it will depend on the vendor if it is hourly, monthly, quarterly or on other basis. If you plan on expanding your cloud, think about the potential increase in fees or costs down the road too. Find out if they can expand the plan you select to meet any of your new business needs.

Visibility at all times is a must in today’s fast-paced markets. You and your teams should be able to see and access data within the cloud at any hour of the day. This is necessary for businesses to be successful. Imagine you have a team based in Tokyo trying to access a data sheet that a team in Washington, D.C., created, and they can’t open it. That’s a problem for a business. Cloud vendors need to be around at any hour to solve a problem or answer questions for your team.

Look into reviews of vendor support. See how long it takes them to respond to an issue or what additional technical support is provided. Some companies do this for free or charge an extra amount for it. Will you be dealing with an expert for your issue or a service representative with a script? Knowing this information ahead of time can save frustration down the road.

Ensure Data Security

Since the cloud is a network of computers across the Internet, it is crucial that security be one of the top priorities of a cloud vendor. Since there have been multiple large-scale data breaches in recent years, it is important to know that your vendor has the most up-to-date protocols and defenses to prevent these types of problems. When it comes to security, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, companies need to have a cloud partner that is constantly monitoring and updating security for cloud data.

Part of preventing security problems comes down to access. Controlling access to sensitive information is another question to consider with a potential partner. Working with your IT person is vital for maintaining control of access leak points for the cloud and consumer data. When selecting a cloud vendor, ask them about how much control your own IT person will have over modifying who has cloud data access. Plus, check out how your potential cloud vendor certifies their employees. You don’t want a former cybercriminal or identity thief watching over your business data.

Also consider the data security laws for your industry. If the cloud vendor you are selecting does not comply with the regulations for your industry, then you are putting your business at risk of non-compliance.

If you are looking at an on-premises cloud solution, consider where the data center will be located. You don’t want anyone to be able to walk in and access this information. Think about natural disasters, too. Floods, fires and earthquakes happen, but it shouldn’t cause too much of a disruption or a total loss of data information.

Making the move to the cloud is a big change for many businesses. By doing your homework ahead of time, you can select the perfect cloud vendor to help your company with this transition and long-term solution.