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Things to consider before choosing a cloud platform

Cloud based working has become the norm for many business over the past few years for a number of reasons. The implications for simplicity, enhanced productivity and accessibility are a given. But with such a range of providers and services, deciding on where to invest is no mean feat.

Opting to move your business operations to the cloud can do wonders for an organisation. It can help significantly reduce costs, remove the need for in-house IT experts and substantial hardware, and improve security. It can also dramatically enhance workflow due to better accessibility and collaboration between teams..

There is also the added benefit that it actually compliments remote working. In an era when geographical flexibility is become more and more feasible (and attractive), technology that facilitates it is a must. Cloud-based technology empowers remote workers. Cloud platforms allow for remote accessibility of key information and helps enable collaboration.

Why use a Cloud platform?

What makes cloud platforms so attractive for medium sized businesses is that they work to enable growth within an organisation by eliminating the need to focus on time consuming and potentially stressful concerns such as security, maintenance and backup. Cloud computing means that professionals can rest easy and concentrate on what matters, knowing that  IT support is ready and on hand when it is needed.

If you’re in the market for a cloud platform, there are a few things you should consider before investing:

Which cloud services are you likely to require in the long term?

Understanding which types of cloud services that they provide will obviously be important. But you shouldn’t just look at these services from the point of view of what you need right now. Consider what services you are likely to need access to further down the line when growth permits. You may be able to find a provider who offers these services as add ons. For example. basic data storage is great but is there a chance you may require cloud computing services such as IT networking infrastructure in the future?

How easy is setup for your needs and what level of customer service can be expected?

An easy setup process should be desirable for any cloud service. The ability to easily configure your account for your organisation is essential. Customer support should be first rate as you will be trusting a substantial amount of your data with the platform. Be sure to understand and acknowledge the level of technical support alongside the average response time for customer service.

Do they have a poor history of downtime?

Cloud outages are not only disruptive but they can also be very expensive. Cloud providers that repeatedly experience periods of inaccessibility should be avoided, so be sure you know the downtime history of each cloud provider you consider.

How is security monitored and measured?

Clearly security should be top priority for you, as it should also be for the cloud provider. Be sure you know where the data centre is and how safe and protected it is. Take time to read and understand the supplier’s security standards for customer access and privacy.

How do the company address potential data losses?

This is a worst case scenario, but you need to know how the issue of data losses will be rectified. What systems/agreements do they have in place that mitigate the risks of data loss and how would they compensate for data losses? Ensure you ask questions about what provisions are in place to mitigate against potential data loss as this has major implications for the ability of your business to continue trading should such a loss be incurred.

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