Businesses could save a lot of time and money if they just used cloud computing right from the start. But, they don’t. Fortunately, this gives you an opportunity to get in and get ahead of your competition.
Search For Providers
This is probably the hardest part of the whole thing. Searching for providers involves laying out a plan for what you want, how much you’re willing to spend, and then mapping out your usage.
You should plan on contacting at least 10 service providers. Spend some time interviewing them both on the phone and through their ticket support system, if possible.
Start with a trial service to see how things go. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee the type of service you’ll get over the long-term, but it does give you a general feel for the company and how they’re set up.
If you see any red flags, bail immediately.
Once you’ve interviewed all of your prospective vendors, it’s time to make the decision. Here are some things to consider.
Budget For Services
Before you sign on with anyone, determine your budget. Now, when you consider your budget, don’t forget to factor in things like how much money you need to spend to maintain the cloud infrastructure and the amount of bandwidth and space you need for storage.
Most cloud service providers will provide free or low-cost basic service for you, along with updates to core software. But, you may also need to purchase additional service tiers to get more advanced service on your cloud apps.
Some service providers include service in the monthly subscription fee.
Look for Someone Will Flexibility
The most important aspect of any cloud service is the flexibility, or lack thereof. How much flexibility do you need? That depends on your business.
Most businesses need a service provider who will at the very least, be able to scale up or down with the business.
What this means in practice is the ability to create or destroy servers on-demand. Since the virtual nature of the cloud is its biggest advantage for most businesses, scaling up or down should be high on the priority list. If your vendor can’t do this, or makes it difficult, move on.
Scoping Out The Security Scene
How secure is your vendor? Many vendors talk a good game when it comes to security, but they don’t have it down. Does your vendor go through penetration testing? Where are the data centers? Does your vendor take security seriously in customer service and IT calls?
A lot of security practices are common sense, but if your vendor isn’t serious about them, it could cost you thousands, if not millions, of dollars. Consider if you were to experience a data breach and customer credit card numbers were stolen. How would that affect your business?
Most likely, your customers wouldn’t trust you anymore.
And, you’d have to deal with the credit card issuers about your PCI compliance procedures. It doesn’t matter that the breach happened on your host’s servers. You are responsible for the security of your customer data. So, unless your hosting provider is providing PCI compliance services, or is completely taking over credit card processing, you could be on the hook for your host’s mistakes.
Another aspect of this is the basic security of your own data and applications. If you can’t trust that your vendor will secure your data, then don’t use them. If it seems like it’s too easy to verify credentials, or they never ask about them when you call, this is a bad sign.
If you want more information about security best practices, view ATB Technologies here.
Making The Switch
Let’s say you’ve decided to make the switch. What now?
Contact your vendor and ask about migration services. They should offer them. Pay the cost to have this done. Even if you have an IT guy on staff, it’s easier to have the company do it for you. You’ll be up and running quickly, and if something goes wrong, you’ll have support along the way.
If you go it alone, you may not get any, or limited, support.
When everything is migrated over, it’s time to have a company meeting. Your employees may need additional education about security best practices in the cloud, and perhaps some updated education on how to use cloud-based services, in general.
Most of the time, your local apps and file system will mirror the cloud version, so there’s little or no additional education needed.