The amount of cloud services available for your business is astounding. There are public, private, and hybrid cloud service providers. Likewise, there are service models function-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service. It is perplexing to decide which service suits your business, so let this information below guide you toward the right one.
Does the cloud service meet industry standards and government compliance? There would be a compliance agreement protecting your data from hackers somewhere on the website. A company that doesn’t follow compliance and certifications will face legal action from customers and government consequences.
The top choices are HIPPA, ISO, and GDPR. GDPR compliance is for data in the European Union, HIPPA is for hospital data record safety and security, and ISO is for data safety and security in over 160 countries. ISO 27001 is the gold standard compliance in America. Acceptable industry standard certifications are PCI-DSS, RDS CAL, and DMTF.
As always, read reviews about the cloud service from customer comments, message boards, company testimonials, and industry blogs. Grab recommendations from colleagues and your professional network. Focus on repeated negative and positive words and phrases from the majority.
Cloud providers entice you by offering tons of features. How many of those features will your business use? Determine what the company needs and focus on the features that will benefit the company. Having features “just in case” or “for a rainy day” is not wise because that day will never arrive.
Additionally, check the range of features available. A diverse slate is storage space, virus protection, firewall, encryption, access controls, monitoring, sharing, deployments, scalability, and bandwidth. Furthermore, the features must use the latest technology while remaining user-friendly and accessible.
It goes by many names — technical support, customer support, help center — but they offer the same service. You have an issue, and customer service has the answer. What separates terrible or average customer service from superb customer satisfaction? The representatives resolve the issue while being accessible, responsive, and flexible.
The cloud service must offer many ways to get through (i.e., phone, email, live chat, FAQ, or message board). Similar to cloud managed services by Sitech‘s 24/7 tech support, there should be a generous time frame to reach customer service. A customer service representative should answer your inquiry within a few days and no longer than a week. The rep should answer the question directly or troubleshoot the problem.
So, how much does the cloud service cost? A splendid price has all the features your business needs or comes very close to it at an affordable cost. Never pay for more than you need. The cheapest and most expensive cost is not always the best choice. Businesses should pick a price between the two.
A second part of pricing is monthly, semi-annual, and annual costs. An economical monthly price gets expensive once you pay that amount 12 times. For a fair comparison, multiply the monthly cost by 12 and the semi-annual cost by 2 to get the yearly cost. Add the annual price of features sold separately and additional taxes and fees. Consider limited-time trials, discounts, deals, and bundles that lower charges.
The last part is payment flexibility. Does the cloud service provider offer many payment methods? Do they offer autopay, bill pay, or pay-as-you-go billing styles? Is it easy to downgrade and upgrade your subscription?
When you sign a contract, your business legal team or a third-party attorney should review it. There should be an exit plan like migration assistance and no vendor lock-ins just in case things don’t work out within the contract.
Migration assistance is when the company transfers data and information from one cloud service to another. Vendor lock-ins make it problematic to move to another cloud service. That forces the business in contract to remain with the cloud service for the foreseeable future. Examples are incompatible technology and contract obligations unfulfilled. A cloud service that doesn’t let your company have this exit strategy is not the company to choose.
A cloud service should suit your needs for today, tomorrow, and the days after. The best cloud service integrates with daily business routines seamlessly. Customer service should fix problems on days when it is not seamless. Also, you should be free to leave for another cloud service without disagreement. Before choosing this venture, always do independent research (years of operation, state license, etc.) on cloud services.
Lizzie Howard is a Colorado native who after graduating from the University of Colorado spends her time as a freelance writer. When Lizzie isn’t writing, she enjoys going on hikes, baking for her friends and family, and spending time with her beloved yellow lab, Sparky.