How often do you ask your business partners: “Do you guys like your cloud?” Odds are, such topics rarely arise, if ever, as it seems that many businesses make such decisions based on necessity alone, and often without doing proper research first. Most companies experiencing growth are in dire need of a scalable, secure cloud solution that will take care not just of their most immediate needs, but that will be an investment into their future and their growth.
How can a business make such a decision based on current parameters when it comes to cloud computing? Although there are no cookie-cutter solutions that fit all businesses, you can definitely consider the types of cloud available and their features when making a commitment hoping you won’t need to switch to a new provider after years of great service simply because of poor scalability. To put it simply, this is a complex decision. Let’s take a look at a few common factors to consider when choosing your cloud service so that you can rest assured your business is in good hands.
Consider your budget
Depending on your business structure, business model, as well as your future aspirations, you need to factor your digital needs into your budget forecasting and allocation. That, of course, includes the dedicated budget for your cloud platforms and services. Public cloud options are often the most low-cost types you can come across, if not even free in some instances. That, however, is reserved for one-person operations, and even in such situations, the security measures in place are often not enough to keep risk at bay.
So, you should certainly consider if you can afford a hybrid or private cloud solution that includes a private network and a private storage facility off-site, meaning that the investment might be greater, but it comes with all the more prominent security and scalability features. A dedicated cloud environment reserved for your business is also a more efficient solution for performance-heavy businesses that work with a multitude of complex operations and applications on the cloud.
Safety always comes first
Much like with any other external service you evaluate and integrate into your own operations, your cloud provider needs to ensure the highest possible standards of security that will protect your data and your information from any breaches. When in doubt, talk to your potential providers and ask them specific questions that can help you determine whether their security features are on par with your needs. Where will your storage units be, and what encryption methods can they apply to protect data during transfers? Are there any specific local laws that alter the way in which your data is protected on the servers localized in certain areas?
Precisely because of greater security needs, many modern businesses choose private cloud providers that have comprehensive security measures in place to ensure optimal data protection. Everything from the utilization of a high-end firewall, all the way to implementing an automated backup strategy, your data needs to be in the safest of hands so that you can focus on growth and day-to-day operations. Another security factor is your provider’s ability to help you meet compliance standards specific to your industry, which will further protect your business and your most sensitive data.
Scalability for future growth
Although most companies plan and strategically target certain markets to ensure optimal growth over time, sometimes businesses can grow surprisingly fast and then experience growth spurt issues due to a lack of resources to keep up with such a growth rate. This is often the case with choosing the right cloud provider, too, as scalability and agility play a key role in how well a provider can keep up with your business growth down the line.
If you find yourself in need not only of a greater storage capacity, a faster-loading website during peak visit time, but also in need of a change in your infrastructure – your cloud should be able to follow suit. When you’re looking into the right solution for your current business structure, ask the right future-oriented questions to understand the capacity of your cloud provider to grow your cloud resources, as well. This is especially vital for companies that do plan and expect a surge of interest in their services, so finding the right cloud is a long-term solution, not a temporary one.
Support and assistance capabilities
Even after thorough reading and education, you’ll likely never have the in-depth knowledge of the cloud world to successfully or single-handedly manage your own cloud solution. Just like with any other aspect of running your business, you need to anticipate setbacks and obstacles. But in this case, you won’t be able to handle them alone, and you’ll need the help and support of your cloud provider in a timely manner.
Each and every cloud solution, no matter the model or the provider, comes with specific support options. Look into who you will communicate with in case of an emergency or an issue, so that you can go back to running your business smoothly. Some offer an online chat service, others will stick to emails, while some will provide you with a dedicated point of contact for your specific solution.
This is a decision not be taken lightly, and choosing the right provider will shape your company’s ability to outgrow its current state, hence the need to make an informed choice based on your needs. Take these factors into account and find a partner to provide you with the solution your business will thrive with.