Checklist for evaluating cloud services providers

Cloud service use continues to grow at the same time as big data. Unlike a single server with failure risk and a finite amount of space, cloud services offer quick-retrieval security — even when the provider encounters a failure — as well as storage space to customers at the terabyte level. Like other technological setups, not all service providers are equal. Therefore, we’ve put together a 10-point checklist to ensure you get the services you invest in for securing your data.

Checklist for evaluating cloud services providers

  1. Experience — Though cloud services have been around for a few years now, it’s still a fairly new technology, so considering the provider’s recent experience is important. You need to see if employees at the company you’re interested in have experience in your industry or a similar one. You should also ensure they can scale to meet your organization needs.
  2. Customer service — Along with experience is their view and focus on customer service. The biggest question is, “How are they available to you and when?” Will they be around 24/7 should you encounter a data failure? In addition, do they offer contact with your employees or only your IT specialist?
  3. Audits — Do they have a built-in procedure to audit your existing infrastructure to see what it requires? Do they have their own internal audit structure to ensure they can do what you need? How do they determine how they can specifically meet your organization needs based on your existing infrastructure?
  4. Uptime and service level agreements (SLA) — This is connected to customer service as it guarantees your data will be available with few interruptions in service due to maintenance or device failures. Are they willing to provide an SLA?
  5. Scheduled maintenance and mission-critical events — The cloud service provider must have a process that details scheduled maintenance communication and how employees handle mission-critical events. What do they do if there’s a data breach or a server goes down? They need to provide maintenance scheduling information well ahead of time for you and your workforce to prepare. Mission-critical events can be extremely costly if your provider doesn’t handle them properly, so don’t take this evaluation portion lightly.
  6. Disaster recovery and backup — What is the provider’s business continuity plan? Does the provider regularly test this backup plan to ensure proper operation? Are backups hot — constantly running — or cold — needing to be activated?
  7. Security — Security is one of the most critical components to consider. You certainly don’t want to see your cloud service provider on the news when it comes to hacking. You need to address all security levels in your initial conversation. This is an important component of your decision. How does the provider stay on top of security events? How can you be assured the provider’s technology and employees’ abilities will keep your business safe from cyberthreats?
  8. Compliance — How do they handle various IT compliance standards? How do they work with corporate standards — like those in the finance industry — to properly store data?
  9. Proactive — How good is the cloud service provider at projecting the space you need for future growth? Do the provider work with you on a regular basis to determination this? Can the provider’s employees accommodate changing needs associated with your customers’ data needs, your employees’ devices, and other demands on your data and services?
  10. On-site services — Though it may seem virtual, there are physical components to cloud services, including interfaces. Does the provider offer onsite service and training to properly maintain all your data infrastructure?

Carefully follow these 10 points, and you’ll be on your way to finding the cloud service provider that closely fits your needs now and in the future.

Still unsure of which cloud service provider to choose? The professionals at Synoptek can need to meet your needs now — and in the future. Check out our newest Cloud Assesment service.

About the Author

Synoptek is an established firm that provides information systems consulting and IT management services. Synoptek and its predecessors have been providing these services for 23 years.