Business Peace of Mind: Factors and Features to Look for in a Cloud Hosting Provider

Cloud Technology is the New Business

Most companies know they need to switch over to cloud hosting, but they’re hesitant to do it because they don’t know what features to look at. Here’s some advice to get your started looking at areas that matter.

Hardware

After contacting a hosting provider, one of the first questions you should ask is “what hardware are you using?”

Now, every hosting provider is going to tell you that they have the best hardware. But, you should confirm this independently, either by researching the hardware yourself or asking for third-party guidance on hardware solutions suitable for your company.

If the server’s aren’t new out of the box, that’s not a good sign – especially if they are a new company. It means they’re bootstrapping it but don’t have enough cash to really get off the ground, so they’re buying or building old hardware and hoping clients won’t notice.

That’s a data integrity problem waiting to happen.

Security And Compliance

Another thing to look for is quality security and compliance measures built into the host’s infrastructure. If your company needs to have a certain minimum level of security or compliance in place, make sure your hosting provider can accommodate that.

For example, health care service providers, and anyone that does business in that space, or is connected to health services, needs to comply with HIPAA – especially when sensitive health and personal information is being transmitted.

But, not all hosting providers are set up to secure personal data in a way that would be compliant with the law.

Make sure your host can handle your compliance needs before you sign up, because the liability falls back on you.

Technical Support

Not all cloud hosting providers have cost-effective tech support solutions. If you have your own IT department, it should be able to communicate directly with the IT support at the host. Services, like IBM cloud hosting make this easy, and are a very cost-effective solution for established small, medium, and larger companies.

Reputation

Your reputation matters. Referrals are one of the best ways to find a cloud host. If you can’t get a personal recommendation, however, hitting up forums and combing through Q&A sites might help you narrow your choices a bit.

Ideally, you want to be working with the best companies in the industry.

Contracts and SLAs

Does your host sign an SLA for its customers? If not, you might want to pass on it. SLAs are important when you need specific guarantees about uptime, compliance, and IT service. The only way you can be assured that you’ll get what you need (legally) is with a contract. If it’s not in a contract, assume you don’t get it.

Automatic Transition Handling

Moving from an on-site or traditional hosting provider to a cloud hosting provider can be very disruptive. The new host should be willing to help you out with this – the best ones automate the process for you.

At a minimum, the new host should do extensive testing in advance to ensure that all of your applications and files will make the move and won’t be corrupted or damaged in any way. Data migration should be done carefully with a minimum of disruption to daily operations.

If your business is down for more than a few hours, it really puts a strain on the company’s operations. Being closed for a day or more is simply out of the question. Finally, make sure that you have a direct support line just in case you have any questions or unexpected problems do arise.

Shirley Polk has occupied a number of senior roles within the IT industry. She always enjoys sharing her thoughts online based on her experience. Her ideas and tips have been posted on a selection of different websites.