10 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

With the initial hype about “The Cloud” subsiding, there is an ever growing list of cloud based technologies emerging that offer amazing benefits to your business.

Before you jump, here’s a few quick tips to make sure you’re not going to be jumping from the frying pan and into the fire!

10 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Provider

  1. What’s their back-up policy?
    • This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised what you’ll find if you dig deep into the providers terms and conditions regarding their backup policy. You want to see that they are actively backing up all data, preferably hourly; that the data is replicated to off-site locations; and they can restore your data from any of these backups within a short space of time, even if you get charged $200 to have it done.
  2. Can you perform a manual backup?
    • You should care about being able to make manual backups yourself if necessary.
    • What if you decide to move to another provider?
  3. Are their services available from multiple locations?
    • If the location that their services operate from is affected by a disaster, is your business impacted or are you instantly switched over to operate from a different location?
  4. What are their security policies?
    • Is your data encrypted when it’s stored at their end?
    • Could someone who has access to their equipment access your data or is it encrypted in a way that only you can access?
    • Who has access to their equipment?
    • Who has access to their facilities?
    • Are they required to notify you of any security breaches?
  5. What’s their Service Level Agreement for up time?
    • 99.9% up time allows for 876 hours worth of down time (36.5 days) per year.
    • 99.99% up time allows for 87.6 hours worth of down time (3.65 days) per year.
    • Is the up time guarantee 24×7 or only during business hours? This will affect the above calculations!
  6. What’s your commitment period?
    • Is your contract with them month to month, or are you bound to a 36 month agreement?
  7. What’s your termination options?
    • What are your options for termination of the agreement? Do you have the right to put them on notice regarding a failure upon their behalf and, if that failure is not resolved, to terminate the agreement without penalty?
  8. Do they offer a 90 day money back guarantee?
    • Can you put their software or service to the test for long enough to really ascertain whether what they sold you on will do what you need, and if it doesn’t, allow you to terminate the agreement without penalty AND get your money back?
  9. What are the conditions around upgrading or downgrading your account?
    • Does the service offer true flexibility in allowing you to upgrade your account as well as downgrade it, depending on the changes in your business? If you sign up for a higher plan and your business changes, can you downgrade or are you stuck at the higher plan?
  10. What are your Internet requirements?
    • What sort of connection is your business going to need to get true performance out of their system? Are your staff going to get frustrated by poor performance as a result?
    • Have you got a backup internet service so that if your primary connection goes down you can still access their system?

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