8 Tips for Picking the Right Cloud Storage Provider

May 25, 2016

10:08 pm

More and more businesses are trying to save space by using cloud storage space instead of the old-fashioned bulky and big file cabinets that they previously used.

There are many reasons why they prefer to access files from the cloud including the security of online storage and the ability to access their files at any time and from any device. Small businesses are finding that there are many benefits attached to moving their files to the cloud. But deciding on the best online storage provider can be difficult when so many choices are available.

Financial Stability

Before signing up for a service be sure they are not just beginning to establish a profitable customer base and/or business model. If they are not yet established there is a strong possibility that the company will be unsuccessful and disappear unexpectedly.

Proven Infrastructure

It is always true that innovative hardware and technology will help establish new industries or streamline them but, when it comes to cloud backup, be sure the infrastructure has been proven to work before you trust them to handle your critical data. If this is all shown then this is one of the many benefits of good cloud storage.

Established Customer Base

Be sure you check which other businesses have already signed up with the provider before you commit to using them. The company is probably a start-up if they have a small, but growing, customer base. Even worse, if their customer base is shrinking, it might indicate that their service is lacking and customers are leaving the company. Also, when a service provider says that they have thousands or even millions of customers make sure that they are referring to business customers not just any customers. Check with actual customers of the service provider before you commit to buying their services.

Geographically Distributed Data Centers

It is important that the company’s data centers are distributed geographically so that a reasonable amount of uptime is provided when there are unanticipated problems at the primary data center. Location is critical in the diversification of risk not only to comply with the jurisdiction requirements for location of data but in case there is a natural disaster. Some areas require that the data does leave the borders of their region, for example. This means the service provider is required to have physical facilities that are located in that region.

Security

Ask about the security program that the provider has in place. They should have one that meets all mandates and is well documented. That way you will be sure that the cloud provider has established security credibility.

Robust Encryption

Small businesses need to find a cloud provider that will offer personal key encryption because security should be a top concern. It is important that customers be able to set and manage their own encryption so the provider will not be able to decrypt their files. They also need to find a cloud provider who encrypts the data both when it is uploaded to the provider’s system and when it is stored in the system. By using these two types of encryption, the data security will be much stronger than if only one type was being used.

Third-Party Validation and Accreditation

There should be successful periodic audits of the provider’s security procedures. This is critical to make sure the provider’s hosting and processing of customer data is both safe and secure. Developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants SSAE 16 is an auditing standard that is recognized widely. It verifies whether or not a service provider has had an in-depth audit of its control activities and control objectives. In addition, if a cloud provider has ISO 27001 certification, you can be comfortable knowing they have met the international standards for the measurement of information security management systems.

SLA Terms and Execution

It is critical that service-level agreement (SLA ) terms be established and executed to determine how a customer’s data will be hosted and processed but also to give a level of transparency level to the service the customer will receive from the provider. That way, the customer will know they can expect a certain level of service from that provider.

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