Moving business functions to the cloud, such as email and document storage, can result in cost savings. The workflow will be quickly done, and there will be no need for in-house IT people or infrastructure. Remote employees can also use the cloud to report for duty, access critical information, and communicate online.
The opportunity to focus on the business at hand while the cloud-based service handles such bothersome IT matters as security, maintenance, backup, and support. It is possibly the most significant benefit for small businesses.
Choosing one of the many organizations that offer an ever-growing menu of cloud computing solutions can be difficult. Here are 6 key questions to ask when screening potential providers to find the best fit for your needs:
1. What kinds of cloud-based services do you provide?
According to Nicholas Bessmer, author of Cloud Computing for Small Business, “knowing what your cloud computing needs are will define the type of service or services you choose” (Amazon, 2013).
For online document, photo, and video storage, there are software-based cloud options like Dropbox. QuickBooks is an online accounting program from Intuit. Salesforce is another option for online customer relationship management (CRM).
If you require more than simple data storage, several providers provide general-purpose cloud computing services. For instance; IT networking infrastructure with on-demand access to virtual servers, apps, and software. IBM SmartCloud Enterprise, Amazon Web Services, and GoGrid are among them.
2. How do you set your prices?
According to Mike Foreman, a general manager of AVG Technologies, an Amsterdam-based internet, and mobile data security firm, you should only pay for what you use.
Also, hefty upfront expenditures aren’t typical for reliable cloud companies, according to Foreman. From the start, the pricing structure should be pay-as-you-go, with the ability to add services as needed. Depending on the seller, fees might be charged hourly, monthly, semi-annually, or annually. Depending on a company’s needs, cloud computing services can cost as little as $1 per month per user or as much as $100 per month per user and above.
3. What kind of client service do you provide?
According to Bessmer, technical help should be provided online or via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.
When you phone the customer care line or utilize the live chat option, you should also ask about the typical response and resolution times, as well as whether you’ll be dealing with qualified engineers or customer service representatives reading scripts are all factors to consider.
4. Is your cloud scalable enough to suit my company’s requirements?
As your company expands, so will your cloud storage requirements. Find out what additional storage capacity and other services can be offered over time and for how much to ensure you’re choosing a flexible cloud provider. You’ll want to make sure that adding new members to your account is simple if you plan to grow your staff.
5. Have you ever had any downtime?
When a cloud provider is inaccessible to users through the internet for an extended length of time, this is known as downtime. The best answer to this question is, of course, never. Even the most well-known cloud providers, such as Amazon, encounter outages from time to time, as it did recently during a Netflix outage.
6. How will I get everything set up?
After you’ve chosen a cloud provider and created an account, the next step is to log into your user dashboard. And then, begin configuring your account and adding users. According to Bessmer, certain cloud businesses will assist you with the installation and setup process, while others, such as Amazon and Google, only provide online introductory recommendations.
To identify the ideal solution for your company, we recommend delving further and learning more about each provider’s offerings. This method will also aid in the development of the evaluation questions.
The advantages of conducting vendor due diligence greatly outweigh the hazards of the unknowns. To boost the likelihood of successful collaboration, optimize value, and reap the full benefits of the public cloud, it is critical to plan for the CSP selection process.
Align is a Microsoft Gold Partner and Tier 1 Cloud Solutions Provider. We have a lot of expertise in providing customers with Public Cloud Services and Managed IT Services.