Moving your IT to cloud is usually a great decision. Aside from giving you added flexibility, cloud storage cuts cost, streamlines workflow, and eliminates the need for in-house IT hardware. For larger companies with employees out there in the field, cloud server can also help with collaboration. Those outfield employees will be able to log into their accounts and access company resources like they were at the office.

Most importantly, cloud allows small businesses to concentrate on growing the business without worrying about tiresome IT tasks such as security, back-up, and maintenance.

With these benefits in mind, you might be thinking of migrating soon. If so, the following are four quick questions to ask potential cloud providers that will help you determine the best company for the job;

  1. Which cloud services do you provide?

Before you ask this question, begin by assessing your cloud computing needs. What files and documents are you looking to store in the cloud? What type of data will you be dealing with? There are software-based cloud services such as Dropbox for online documents, vides, and photo storage. Then, there’s Salesforce which offers a cloud service for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Intuit which offers QuickBooks – an accounting cloud service. If all you need is somewhere to store your documents and accounting and customer data, then the three would be more than enough. But, if you need more, perhaps owing to the sensitive nature of your data, then you should find a dedicated cloud storage provider.

  1. How secure is your cloud server?

Data security is now a critical issue. With major data breaches being reported left right and center, you need to take this matter very seriously when finding a cloud services provider. Fortunately, most cloud companies have put in place extensive measures to secure their servers and constantly update their security protocols. Still, don’t just listen to what they are saying. Make it your job to confirm that adequate steps have been taken to secure the system. Security measures to look for include; firewalls, anti-virus detection, data encryption, and multifactor authentication. Also, check to ensure that the firm is in full compliance with global security standards.

  1. Where are your data centers and how safe are they?

Data centers are the large computers where the actual data resides. As such, the location and security of these data centers is paramount to the safety of your documents and data in general. For instance, ask the cloud company the steps they have put in place to protect the data centers from natural disasters such as floods, fires, earthquakes, and storms. Additionally, find out the measures they have put in place to deter and prevent thieves from accessing the location and the cloud servers. The easiest way to find out if the cloud provider you’re considering is indeed prepared for all these threats is to ask them to show you a Standards for Attestation Engagement 16 (SSAE 16) Certification.

  1. What happens if you lose my data?

What if even with all those security measures a breach occurs and the criminals take off with all your customer data and business documents? How does the cloud company deal with such issues? Do they have back-ups elsewhere? Do they have a Service Level Agreement to cover such situations? Will you be compensated for the losses? In fact, in addition to asking all these questions, take some time to find out if the company has experienced breaches in the past and how they handled the situation.

If the company can provide convincing answers to all the four questions, they are a good fit for the job.

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