There are so many cloud providers out there, and all of them will claim to be the best. You can’t necessarily judge by the reviews alone, either, because some of them will always be artificial (meaning fake reviews for which someone was paid). So, how can you choose a good cloud provider from such a crowded field? You can look for recommendations from people you know and trust, but the surest way is to be picky from the start. Here are some things that you should always look for when choosing a cloud provider.
1. An Off-Site Data Backup System
A lot of people say that the cloud is inherently insecure. In some cases, that is correct. However, that problem can mostly be neutralized through the use of efficient data backup. Any good cloud provider should allow you to back up any data that is placed in the cloud, and they might allow you to back up your non-cloud data as well. Either way, the data needs to be stored on off-site servers. Otherwise, an attacker could simply compromise the backups or steal them. The idea is to back up the most important data in a place that is not (realistically) going to be attacked.
2. Reasonable Usage Of Features
There are all sorts of features and services that can be included in a cloud computing plan. However, some companies will try to use these features to milk more money from gullible people. They will essentially paywall the best features, and they might even limit the number of times per month that they can be used. If you can see that they are trying to push you towards an overpriced “premium” plan, it might be best to look elsewhere. Further, you want to make sure you avoid purchasing “gimmicky” features that you won’t actually use.
3. HPC Servers
Cloud services won’t do you much good if they are slow. Business customers, in particular, do not have time for long page loading sessions and excessive outages. Time is money, and server speed has a lot to do with your network usage. As such, you want to make sure that your cloud provider uses high-performance computing (HPC) servers. These are designed to handle a lot more traffic at one time and are especially important for large-scale cloud providers. Any company that uses janky servers is not worth your time.
4. An Uptime Guarantee
You probably won’t go out of business if your internet is down for a couple of days. That being said, you might miss out on quite a lot of potential revenue during those days. Network downtime is famously expensive, although some sources will greatly overestimate the losses by using “maximum” figures. Here is the truth: If you want to know how expensive downtime will really be, simply figure out how much money you make per day. Obviously, non-internet-related sales should be excluded from the figures. So, if your company brings in $15,000 a day in online sales, you stand to lose $105,000 for every week of downtime.
When you are enquiring about the services of a cloud provider, you need to make sure that they provide an uptime guarantee. This is simply a promise that you will not suffer from more than a certain amount of downtime. If this amount is exceeded, your cloud provider will have to cover your losses. Because of the expense that comes from network downtime, this kind of guarantee is an absolute must.
Solid Security Features
As we have said, the cloud can be pretty secure if it is used properly. When used without basic security features, it’s basically a hacker’s dream come true. For that reason, you need to make sure that your chosen cloud provider has solid security features to keep you and other users safe. Encryption and firewalls are probably the two most important, and you want to make sure that they are using 256-bit AES encryption for maximum strength. However, access control is also very important, so multi-factor authentication must be used to prevent a “cloud jacking” scenario.
Quick Response Times When Seeking Support
You should take a little time to feel out the company before using their services. After all, you are taking a risk when employing a new company. One of the key things you want to see is this: How quickly do they respond when you are seeking their help?
A company that takes too long to respond really isn’t worth your time. Obviously, they didn’t feel you were worth their time, so why do business with them? You need someone who will get back to you as soon as possible. Further, you need a cloud provider with competent and helpful support staff. These things are universally expected, but they are not universally received.
Not only do you want your cloud server to be offsite, but you also want to avoid sharing it with another user. If your company deals with highly sensitive information, you really have no other choice. Although it is possible to separate a high-performance server for multiple clients, it is not a good thing for the customer. It’s good for the company because they can get more out of each server, but it’s no good for you. It represents an unacceptable security risk and will likely cause your network to run more slowly.
All of these are key factors to look for when choosing a cloud provider. On a broader note, you also want a company that displays transparency and honesty in all its affairs. It can take a little time to find the right one, but you are in luck. PCH Technologies can get you started in no time at all, and we are willing to back up any claims that we make. If you would like to know more about our managed cloud services, you can call (856) 754-7500.