7 things to look for when choosing a cloud solution provider.

Mar 24, 2017
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Using cloud solutions can help your small or mid-sized business move faster, reduce costs, and adopt the latest technology – all without buying new hardware or adding excessively to your management burden.
But you can’t settle for just any old solutions provider. This is your business we’re talking about. Consumer-grade or poorly designed solutions won’t provide the security, power and reliability you need.
Whether you’re just starting down the path or looking to take the next step, here are a few things to examine when choosing your cloud solution provider.

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Do they give you the information you require?

Ideally, cloud solutions operate mostly hands-off, but you still need information to guide your day-to-day decisions. A reputable solution provided will provide performance reports that show how well the solution is working, and ways to track and monitor services, changes, outages and all other relevant aspects of their offerings. Look for reports that are targeted to your needs – detailed enough so you can make decisions, yet not overwhelming you with technical information.

Is billing clear and accurate?

Cloud services are usually paid for like utilities – you buy only what you use. You need to be able to monitor usage accurately so you don’t run up unexpected bills. They should also provide easily accessible support for billing-related issues in case there’s a discrepancy.

Does their technology meet your needs?

Regardless of what you’re using cloud solutions for – email, storage, productivity, data analysis – there are some technical capabilities any reputable solution provider must have. The small business cloud solutions should be easy to deploy, manage and upgrade – to the extent you have to do those things at all. Any back-end connections such as application program interfaces (APIs) will use industry standards so they will be compatible with your existing solutions.

Can they support hybrid solutions?

A hybrid solution combines both on-premises technology (such as physical servers) and cloud technology in a seamless mix. For example, many companies choose to keep some data on their own infrastructure for compliance reasons while taking advantage of the cloud to analyse that data. There are many other hybrid scenarios, and even if you don’t plan to use one initially, you might want to pick a solutions provider who can support them to maximise future flexibility.

Do they take security seriously?

While security is often a key concern when initially adopting cloud solutions, most major cloud solutions providers can provide a higher level of security than a typical small or mid-sized business can achieve on their own. Still, there are some specific capabilities you should look for when making your choice. First, they need comprehensive security policies and procedures in place for controlling access to their systems, and they should be able to tell you what those policies and procedures are. Strong identity management can prevent unauthorised changes to applications and data. Data backup is a must, as it is knowing what the vendor will do with your information should you ever choose to leave the service. And, you should be confident that they can protect your information even in the event of a disaster.Using cloud solutions can help your small or mid-sized business move faster, reduce costs, and adopt the latest technology – all without buying new hardware or adding excessively to your management burden.

But you can’t settle for just any old solutions provider. This is your business we’re talking about. Consumer-grade or poorly designed solutions won’t provide the security, power and reliability you need.

Whether you’re just starting down the path or looking to take the next step, here are a few things to examine when choosing your cloud solution provider.

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