More and more businesses are opting for the convenience of the cloud for practical, security-related and financial reasons. The only problem: in view of the constantly expanding offering, how do you choose a custom solution? This blog post presents eight criteria to help you make a well-informed decision.
On one hand, you want more storage space, improved data security and clarity. On the other hand, you want to reduce investment and the cost of maintenance. The benefits of a cloud solution are numerous, and many SMEs are jumping on the bandwagon to take advantage of them.
To help ensure that you choose a solution tailored to your business, ask yourself the following eight questions.
1. What are your requirements?
The type of solution you choose depends largely on your requirements. Do you just need storage space for files, videos and photos? Are you looking for an entirely new CRM system? If so, a dedicated software solution may be sufficient.
Do you want a mobile and secure working environment that boosts collaboration and easily integrates with a wide range of applications? If so, an all-in-one package will be a better deal.
2. What does the pricing model look like?
Depending on what they offer (see below) the price of cloud solutions varies significantly. It is certainly worth your while to compare the rates charged by suppliers with what they offer. If you want to be safe, your SME is better off with a fixed fee (e.g. monthly) for a basic package. This package can always be expanded later, in which case you will pay slightly more for each additional application.
3. What about your online security?
Choose a provider with international security certificates that guarantees adherence to the most recent security standards. Ask about their use of firewalls, intelligent antivirus software, multi factor-authentication and data encryption.
Ask who is authorized to access your data, and if your provider performs background checks to detect potential cyber criminals in due time.
4. How secure is your data online?
Making use of the cloud means that your data will be stored in an external rather than a local environment. In practice, this involves multiple data centers that are managed by your cloud provider.
There are many types of data centers, from simple hosting spaces managed by IT suppliers to professional centers operated by Microsoft.
The security of the physical data center is just as important as your online security. Always ask to see the certificates that guarantee the security of your supplier’s data centers against theft, fire and natural disasters.
What is the difference between private, public and hybrid clouds? Read more here
5. What services are provided by the customer service department?
The digital world is constantly evolving. As a result, it’s important for you to be able to count on 24/7 supplier support if you have any questions or in case of technical malfunctions or the threat of a cyber attack.
Before signing a contract, we recommend learning more about the support and degree of availability offered by your provider. Sign service level agreements (SLA) with your suppliers to officially establish your rights, obligations and agreements.
6. Is the cloud solution scalable?
One of the biggest advantages to a cloud solution is that you can pay as you go. If you want to keep growing, you will need a scalable solution, however. In other words: choose a package that can easily be expanded (or reduced) in line with your ambitions.
7. How will the migration be carried out?
Switching from a local to a public environment also involves the transfer of users, applications, passwords, data, etc. This technical and complex operation cannot be performed without expertise.
A good provider will not only offer you hardware but will also support you during your transition – your migration – and provide the necessary follow-up.
8. How do I gain access to the cloud?
As soon as your system is up and running, you should be able to access your cloud environment easily and quickly, wherever you are. Ideally, you will need to log in using only a single user name and password, from every possible device (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.).