Not all cloud service providers offer the same level of security and functionality! If you are new to cloud storage, and don’t know where to start when it comes to choosing a cloud storage service for your business, then you can utilize the self-guided process below to choose a cloud service provider that works best for your unique needs.
An important first step is to analyze the size and type of data that you need to store so you can determine how much cloud storage space your business will need. Ensure that your cloud storage provider also supports your particular type of data, whether that be videos, medical images, PDFs, or Word and Excel documents. Alternatively, if you are considering migrating applications to the cloud, then you should keep in mind the performance requirements of those applications while determining the cloud storage space. Prepare a cloud storage roadmap so that you can choose a cloud partner that aligns with your long-term needs.
With the rise in security breaches, it is crucial to choose a cloud service partner with well-defined security protocols. Learn your cloud service partner’s secure login and authentication process so that you can ensure that your data is protected at all levels of your organization. If your business handles private and confidential materials, then you need to choose a cloud service partner that complies with the prevailing security regulations in your industry. For example, if you are a healthcare provider handling patient information, it is imperative to ensure that your cloud partner is HIPAA-certified or compliant.
When choosing a cloud service vendor, one size definitely does not fit all! It is important to keep in mind the type of cloud platform, interoperability, functionality, and performance that you desire. Confirm that your cloud service vendor is scalable to support your growing data needs. Many cloud storage providers offer a comprehensive solution that allows you to store, backup, and share documents all from a single platform. Perform proper due diligence on how your organization accesses stored information. For example, desktops, laptops, tablets, PDAs, or a combination of these. Also, determine how quickly you need to access data stored in the cloud and make sure your provider can accomodate.
Unfortunately, there is a lack of transparency in costs across cloud service vendors. Carefully review business agreements to avoid hidden fees and additional charges when considering a cloud storage service.
Knowing the location of your cloud service partner’s data center and their security procedures ensures that your data is fully protected and compliant even when faced with a natural disaster or a security breach. Ask questions regarding backup and disaster recovery procedures to know the consequences in case your data is ever lost. Check for downtime procedures and level of customer support guaranteed by the cloud service provider.
Typically, you should only pay for what you use and not agree to any lock-in rates. Avoid paying large upfront fees and check for any hidden charges.
Your cloud service vendor is your trusted partner that should have the knowledge to advise and refine your cloud strategy as you grow. Make sure you choose a strategic partner that understands your industry needs from the beginning. Be wary of cloud storage providers that claim that they cater to all industry verticals, but do not actually understand the specific security standards and regulations in your industry.
You need to ensure that your organization’s security policy is tightly aligned with your cloud storage provider’s security policy in order to confirm full data protection. Develop a tiered data plan to determine what data you want to migrate to the cloud. Cloud storage is best suited for long-term data retention.
By assessing several key factors such as your business’ current and long-term data needs, the type and breadth of data as well as budget and security protocols, it will become clear which service aligns with your strategic business goals and will be a perfect cloud storage partner.
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