10 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Data Centre Provider

Written by Anthony Carter, Managing Director, Connotations (Carman Online Content Publishing Ltd.) Published 2017-06-15 09:59:00

There are a lot of legitimate reasons for moving a company's IT needs to the cloud. At the top of the list is the ability to turn over many of the technical aspects of IT to the cloud data centre provider so that a business can concentrate its resources on serving its own customers. But there is a catch: choosing the wrong provider could create just as many problems as it solves.

Every company needs to ask some fundamental questions before getting set up on the cloud for the first time. Companies switching to a new cloud data centre provider should be asking the same questions in order to guarantee that switching actually benefits them. Below are the top 10 questions that we feel should be asked.

1. What cloud services and apps do you offer?

Not all cloud data centre providers offer identical services and apps. It goes without saying that your company does not want to sign on with a provider that cannot meet your needs. Do you need data storage only, or is there a requirement for infrastructure, virtual servers, applications, etc.?

2. How accessible is your cloud environment?

In the highly mobile world in which we live, it is imperative that your cloud be accessible from anywhere you have an internet connection and a device to get online. You should be able to log on to your environment through a web-based portal using a desktop PC, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.

3. How are your plans priced?

This question is not intended to put undue emphasis on bottom-line price. Rather, it is to simply point out that the most reputable cloud data centre providers avoid significant upfront fees or rigid service bundles. Good providers tend to charge on a pay-as-you-go model – e.g., service X for so much per month, service Y for so much per year, etc.

4. What are your set-up procedures?

It can take some time getting set up in your new cloud environment, whether you're starting fresh or are transitioning from an old provider to a new one. Ask what the set-up procedures are. Why? Because some providers will bend over backwards to help you get set up while others offer limited documentation and leave you to your own devices.

5. What are your security procedures?

Both physical and digital security should always be of utmost concern in any cloud environment. Indeed, lack of adequate security is one of the motivating factors that drives companies to switch providers. If you have a current provider that is not offering the kind of security you want, it may be time to look elsewhere.

6. How is your physical data centre protected?

Cloud security is more than just network security. It also involves the security of the physical data centre itself. You should be asking where the provider's data centre is located and how it is protected against natural disasters, security threats, power outages, etc.

7. How do you deal with potential data loss?

This is a big question for many companies looking to switch to new cloud data centre providers. It is important to know what a provider's policies are regarding things such as data redundancy, loss mitigation and control, financial compensation, and so forth.

8. How reliable is customer support?

Around-the-clock support is imperative for any cloud environment. Don't be afraid to ask how customer support is made available as well as how issues are normally resolved. Ask about the knowledge and experience of customer service technicians as well.

9. Are your cloud environments scalable?

The big advantage of moving IT into the cloud is scalability. Still, not all providers guarantee it. That's not good. You need scalability to accommodate future growth of your company. In addition to greater storage capacity, future scalability for your company might also mean access to more apps, more technical assistance, and even more bandwidth.

10. How reliable is your uptime guarantee?

Virtually every cloud data centre provider offers customers an uptime guarantee in excess of 95%. The problem is, anybody can make a claim of excellent uptime. Not only should you ask about a provider's historical down- and uptime but you should ask for documentation that proves it. Providers keep logs for that very purpose.

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