5 things to look for in a cloud services provider

January 30, 2017 Cloud Strategy

The cloud is one of the most important innovations to emerge in the 21st century. It's allowed companies of all shapes and sizes to take advantage of computing resources that they would have struggled to maintain within their own facility. This is especially advantageous for smaller organizations that wouldn't have been able to access this technology otherwise. 

What's more, 2016 was a huge year for the cloud. A study from Synergy Research Group found that the cloud market hit $148 billion in September 2016 and that it's been increasing by 25 percent annually. Clearly, this technology is growing quickly and doesn't show any signs of stopping anytime soon. 

Therefore, it makes sense for any company that isn't currently using the cloud to get into it as quickly as possible, if only to be able to keep up with their competitors. That said, finding a cloud provider that can meet all of your needs isn't always easy. 

So, what should you be looking for in a cloud vendor? 

1. A history of solid disaster recovery

"Nothing in life is certain."

Nothing in life is certain. Catastrophic events happen all the time with little to no warning, and good businesses are very often left to simply pick up the pieces and try to move on. While many of these woes come from the physical damage of such an incident, a major problem that follows most disasters is the loss of important data and applications. 

When you keep your computing resources in-house, you're essentially putting all of your eggs in one basket. Moving this data to a cloud service provider can certainly help here, but you're basically just moving the problem. If you happen to choose a bad vendor, there's a chance that your information will be lost if their facility gets damaged. 

Therefore, it's critical you ensure that the cloud service provider that you choose has an extensive history of solid disaster recovery. These vendors often have the ability to provide a plan for your current IT infrastructure, which is an absolutely essential part of conducting business in the modern world. Regardless, you'll want to ensure that the company you choose has a plan to mitigate the risks of a disaster. 

2. A deep understanding of compliance

Staying on the right side of compliance regulations can often be a challenge. While these rules are a necessity in order to protect the rights of consumers, they can become cumbersome and slow down an organization. Even worse, violating a compliance standard can come with incredibly high penalties. 

Avoiding such a violation at all cost is of the highest priority. The problem with this is that cloud-based services don't allow for the same level of control as keeping these duties in-house. A cloud vendor is a completely separate entity from your company, and working with the wrong one might bring trouble. 

To that end, company leaders should endeavor to find a vendor that is deeply involved in compliance regulations. By finding an organization with the experience and skills necessary to understand standards from a variety of industries, you can ensure that you won't have to deal with issues in the future. 

3. Scalability

When it comes to business, if you aren't growing, you're dying. A company needs to be constantly expanding, taking on new clients and innovating to overcome any challenge that presents itself. While increasing in size is certainly a good thing, ensuring that your computing resources can scale with you can be a major headache. 

Of course, the whole point of the cloud is that scalability is made easier for your organization. Rather than buying new equipment and hiring people to watch over it, you can purchase more computing resources. However, it's important to recognize whether or not the vendor is going to make this hard for you. 

A good cloud provider should be ecstatic at the opportunity to get more of your business. They shouldn't be forcing you to jump through hoops or trying to overcharge you. 

4. Top-notch cybersecurity

Hackers have become a major menace for companies. These individuals can wreak havoc on your daily operations, either by stealing money or simply shutting down your ability to conduct business. What's more, as the internet continues to increase its influence over the enterprise sector, this problem is only going to get worse. 

Although lost revenue and stolen funds are obviously a big issue, the truly terrifying part about a cyberattack is the aftermath. According to a study from Centrify, about two-thirds of consumers would halt their current relationship with a company if they found out that organization had been hacked. 

Your reputation is on the line. Hackers can seriously ruin your customer-facing image.

Clearly, you need to be doing all you can to ensure your company doesn't become the victim of a data breach. While this obviously means tightening up your local security, you're also going to have to consider this aspect if you're in the market for a cloud services vendor. 

The two main areas of focus here are how the data is stored and how it's moved from your facility to the cloud provider's. During both of these actions, the information needs to be strongly encrypted to ensure that hackers aren't given the chance to access your data.

5. Experienced employees

Regardless of how advanced technology gets, at the end of the day companies will always need experienced professionals to ensure that nothing goes wrong. This is especially true of a cloud provider, where even tiny issues can balloon into major problems. So, when choosing a vendor, you'll want to find an organization that has many skilled workers. 

Thankfully, there's an easy choice for all five of these points: UbiStor. Not only do we have an incredible history when it comes to disaster recovery and compliance, but we also understand the growing pains of scalability. What's more, we utilize up to six levels of encryption during transmission and the data stays encrypted when it reaches its storage destination. Finally, our employees have years of experience in the field, and you can rest assured that with UbiStor, your company's computing resources are in good hands.