I know a business owner who refused to store critical data in the cloud — until he discovered the advantages

He wanted the data in his building, on physical machines that his employees and contractors can touch. He thinks his data is more secure that way. 

We understood his concern, but we helped him understand: It’s not always so simple. 

For many businesses, the cloud is a great solution for storing all or some data. 

After we assessed his situation, we persuaded the business owner to move some of his data from his office to the cloud. 

Here’s why it made sense for his business to move to the cloud: 

Cost Savings

In some cases, it costs less to store data in the cloud than on servers you host and manage in-house. This isn’t always the case. But if you conduct a thorough cost analysis, you may discover great savings with cloud storage. 

Compliance

Many businesses must comply with mandated specifications for their infrastructure. The mandate might come from the government. Or a prospective customer might say something like, “We only do business with companies that have SSAE16 Type II certification.” 

Becoming compliant and then managing compliance can be a time-consuming, costly headache. 

Many cloud providers offer set-ups preconfigured to comply with applicable standards. And those providers will adjust their setups to remain compliant as mandates evolve, which leads to the next point…

Ease of Management and Flexibility

Good cloud providers can adjust to your evolving needs quickly. Need a memory upgrade or more storage? No need for a technician to buy and install that hardware on physical servers at your office. Your cloud vendor can take care of that quickly and easily. 

Worried that the servers may go down or get hacked? Good cloud vendors will provide 24/7 monitoring and jump on issues quickly when they arise. 

 

All of the above sounds pretty good. So why shouldn’t you just trash all those servers in the closet at your office and take everything to the cloud tomorrow? 

Here’s the bottom line: 

All Cloud Vendors Are NOT Created Equal

 

If you move to the cloud, you need to be sure your critical data is in good hands. You need the confidence and comfort that comes with trusting your cloud vendor. 

Yes, good cloud vendors can offer you cost-savings, flexibility, and compliance. Less reputable vendors can drop the ball. 

So how do you know? How do you choose a good cloud vendor?

First, work with a trusted technology provider to help you assess your options. At STR, we often help our clients assess whether cloud storage makes sense for their business. 

Here are some tips and questions to consider to help you realize the cloud’s benefits while minimizing the risk:

  1. Choose a vendor who can scale up — or down — as your needs change. Do not commit to contracts that obligate you to a fixed set-up.
  2. Ask the vendor to provide data regarding system availability (uptime) and reliability. If the vendor can’t offer data to show uptime of 99.9+ %, choose another vendor.
  3. Require a prospective vendor to demonstrate specifics regarding security. What systems are in place? What guarantees do they offer?
  4. Can the vendor easily add new services on top of what you originally purchase? What are the terms? What is the turnaround time?
  5. How often will the vendor back-up my data? How and where are the backups stored?
  6. Does the vendor run redundant (duplicate copies) of the server? If one server fails, how quickly can the vendor restore it or fire-up a duplicate.
  7. What guarantees does the vendor offer?

Work with your trusted technology provider to work through all of the above. It takes a little time. But it can be worth the investment.

Whether or not you move data to the cloud, this exercise will leave you more confident that you have the right data storage solutions — in-house or on the cloud.