Key Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Cloud Computing Vendor

what to know

Cloud computing has been around for over a decade now. And in 2016, it’s no secret that cloud computing lowers cost and raises employee productivity so companies can grow. In fact, the rate of this growth is 19.63% faster than those not using cloud computing as found in the Cloud Security Alliance Study.

But now that it’s available for virtually all sizes of companies, everyone needs to be armed with knowledge about how the process works before making a final decision. Cloud computing can be highly technical in some aspects, and we’re here to clear that up. The first question naturally is…

1. How much will it cost?

This is important to ask each company directly as the pricing structure is hugely variable between brands. If one company sounds too good to be true, they most likely have smaller fees that will pop up over time that they aren’t telling you about. Or, they aren’t offering you services that you probably want, like data loss prevention. Make sure you ask if you need to pay extra for the following:

  • number of CPU’s per server
  • the amount of RAM and disk storage
  • external IP addresses
  • software and OS licenses
  • network bandwidth

Remember, some of these charges are common and are industry standards. What you want to really make sure is that the company is being honest with you and has your best interests in mind. This can be done while getting a free quote quite easily after asking these questions.

2. What is commonly sent to the cloud to be outsourced?

The majority of business that use cloud computing use it mostly for backing up and storing data while using the different archive options. The second most popular use is to operate applications through the cloud like the common CRM apps. This saves money on the “per-desk” fees and makes the data held in the cloud through these apps more readily accessible.

3. Is Cloud computing right for my business?

This requires some company analysis that begins with gathering knowledge about your IT department costs and productivity levels. Get figures involving the total monthly IT fees and an estimate of the time your IT team is spending fixing on-premises infrastructure issues. After calculating the total cost of these items, get the quotes from the cloud providers and make an educated decision. Companies also commonly save money by increasing productivity without having to hire on additional staff through cloud computing.

4. Do I need to purchase any new hardware beforehand?

While your company’s network needs to be optimized for the transition to the cloud, it’s likely that your hardware is modern enough as it is. A good way to get this question answered is to ask if there is a free test configuration option available. And even if you need to upgrade, it is very often not a large investment.

5. What should I know about cloud security?

Placing sensitive data into a different company’s hands comes with a certain level of understandable hesitation. But any stand up cloud provider will be able to tell you the exact specifics about how your data is kept safe, including the encryption level, the physical security measures, the access code restrictions, and data control options. Make sure this is a part of your decision process.

6. Do I need to prepare to move to the cloud?

Companies commonly bring in an outsourcing IT consultant to ready their business. These consultants generally take care of hardware optimization, staff training, and automatic data backups.

7. Is data loss a concern with cloud computing?

If you’re engaging with a cloud provider and don’t have a data loss prevention plan in place, this is a very real possibility. But proactive options are available, you just need to ask.  All cloud providers have policies in place to handle data loss, and should be able to provider examples of how they have handled these situations in the past.

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