More businesses are making the switch to online cloud storage. It offers endless data capacities, security, and file sharing. But, before you select just any cloud storage provider, there are a few things your business needs to consider. Not only do these things help you find the right provider, but they can protect your data and possibly even save your business some money.
1Pick a Vendor that is Industry Certified –
You have to protect your customer data and you may be required to do so under specific government compliance regulations. So, if you are required to be HIPAA compliant, your cloud storage provider must offer HIPAA compliant storage too. MozyPro, for example, offers HIPAA compliance.
Your vendor should also be in compliance with the new security regulations, including SSAE 16 (which recently replaced SAS 70). SSAE 16 is a standard used by companies that need extensive data security.
2Look for Vendors that Cater to Your Industry –
Your industry has specific needs, such as a medical industry needing to protect patient data, while a financial company needs to protect their clients’ bank and account information. It is best if you find a cloud storage provider that caters to companies in your industry. Not all cloud storage companies are created equal, and by using a vendor that specializes, you will have a provider with a keen understanding of the layer of protection your company needs.
3What are the Bandwidth Limitations?
Will you be using your cloud storage for a backup? If so, you may encounter bandwidth limitations. Some companies put a cap on bandwidth, which means you can only backup so much data at a single time. Worse, if you need to recover lost data, you may not be able to access it over the web; because you may max out your bandwidth. SpiderOak Business, for example, does not limit you on bandwidth.
4Encryption Considerations –
Unbelievably, not all business cloud storage companies offer encryption. And, there are some companies that offer minimal encryption. Review the security each company offers and see how their security compares to other cloud storage providers. Also, remember if a company can encrypt your data, they can decrypt it. So, pick a provider that has a good reputation, does not have a history of data breaches (in or out of the company), etc. CrashPlanPRO offers 448-bit Blowfish encryption.
5Read the Service Level Agreement –
Service Level Agreements or SLAs outline what the cloud storage provider must give your company, guarantees they are offering, availability of their data systems, and their response times for security issues or service outages. Review the service level agreement very carefully before committing to a provider’s contract. There may be wording in there that allows the provider to provide less than what they are actually advertising.
6Know the Real Price –
The price advertised and the price you sign up for is not the price you may pay. Not only is there tax and other fees the company can tack on, but if you go over bandwidth or storage, you may be charged an additional storage fee. Review pricing very carefully and see how much you are really paying each month before signing up. Also, realize that some companies advertise a “monthly” rate, but you are actually required to pay for your service in annual installments – not monthly.
7Do Not Buy Too Much Storage – Add It as It’s Needed Instead –
It is easy to buy more storage than you need. While you know you will eventually add more than what you have now, there is no need to buy it all upfront. Instead, go with a provider that allows you to scale your storage to your needs – adding additional storage as it becomes required, rather than having you purchase more than is necessary now.
8Last, Consider Recovery –
If your computers or in-house servers crash, how hard will it be to retrieve your information from the cloud storage provider? Do they have instant recovery online? Do they send you hard copies? Depending on the amount of data, you may need a hard copy over online recovery, because otherwise it could take days to download and install.
Shailynn is a word slinger, chef, Pinterest addict and adult coloring book collector. As our Operations Manager and Senior Researcher/Editor, you will find Shailynn busy finding new companies and topics to research, but also handling the crazy day-to-day on the backend – and by crazy…we mean all of us.
She attended the International Culinary Institute, where she studied pastry arts and she worked as an executive pastry chef before hanging up her chef’s hat and decided to work from home as a writer. She is a fanatic for a great cup of coffee or wonderful glass of wine!
Shailynn is a mother of three and married to a handsome firefighter.