Cloud computing’s importance hasn’t even been fully realized in business yet. Despite the power it already has, it’s only just beginning to revolutionize IT. Think about it—just four or five years ago, you were constantly trying to keep track of your numerous flash drives and emailing documents to yourself as a form of backup.
Now, we just save things onto the cloud. Sometimes if we feel really fancy, we don’t even bother saving them—they’ll automatically be backed up anyway. However, as the concept grows, and more companies begin offering these services, it becomes more important to learn about what is included with any cloud computing contract you sign.
There are many elements involved in cloud computing that must be considered when comparing one service to another. Unfortunately, there are also many companies out there offering these services that don’t have all the details worked out—and by the same token, most companies looking to hire a cloud computing service do not know exactly what they need. Because of this, there is often some level of unhappiness when it comes to cloud computing contracts if research isn’t done prior to signing.
The solution is simple. Companies looking to hire a cloud computing service need to make a list of the services that are important to them and determine if these needs can be met before signing a contract. Considering each of the following items is the key to finding the cloud computing company that will work for you:
- Integration – Technology is changing every day. Will the company change with you? Are they flexible? Integration is important for tomorrow as well as for today.
- Pricing – Look beyond the monthly cost and find out if the rate will go up over time if your business grows. Also, there can be fees hidden in the details of a contract. Make certain you understand your bottom line before you sign up for anything.
- API – Application Programming Interfaces are vital to the operation of many high-tech businesses. These should be covered in the contract so you don’t find yourself rewriting certain apps down the road.
- Web Dashboard – The dashboard is what you or your IT department will work with on a day-to-day basis. Find out how user-friendly it is, and make certain you will be able to work your way around it.
- File Platform – Which file platforms will the cloud computing or storage service handle? If your company uses a less common platform you may need to shop around to find someone that can handle your files.
- Encryption and Security – What security measures will your cloud provider offer? While ultimately you’re responsible for making certain that your data is secure, there’s a vast array of encryption and security services offered by these providers, so make sure you compare these as you decide what company to choose.
- Backup – What plans are in place for cloud data backup? Cloud storage is still a new technology, so trusting your data to a company without having a backup plan is not recommended.
- Uptime – With cloud storage or cloud computing, you rely on more than just your computer to stay up and running? What are the uptime rates of the company you’re considering? A common uptime is 99.99 percent, so look for a company that can meet or exceed this.
Cloud computing isn’t a new technology, but it may very well be new to your business. Be sure to find the best provider for your needs to ensure your move from flash drives to datacenters is a smooth one.
About the author: Dawn Altnam lives and works in the Midwest, and she enjoys following the business tech world. After furthering her education, she has spent some time researching her interests and blogging of her discoveries often. Follow her on Twitter! @DawnAltnam