When it comes to finding the right cloud service provider (CSP), there are a lot of factors to consider. Not only do you need to make sure that the one you choose can meet your specific needs, but that they also have to offer quality customer support and security. In this blog post, we will discuss five important questions you should ask a potential CSP.
1. What cloud services do you provide?
This is the first and most important question to ask when looking for a CSP. After all, if they can’t provide the services you need, then they’re not the right provider for you. Be sure to ask about all of the different types of services they offer, as well as any specialties they may have.
Common cloud services include:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) – provides you with the infrastructure necessary to run your applications and services in the cloud. This can include things like storage, networking, and computing resources.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) – provides a platform for developing, testing, and deploying your applications in the cloud. This can be a web hosting platform or a database management system.
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – provides you with software applications that you can use in the cloud. This can include solutions like email, productivity, and collaboration tools.
- Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) – provides a way to create and store copies of your data in the cloud.
- Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) – provides a way to recover your data and applications in the event of a disaster.
- Security-as-a-Service (SECaaS) – provides you with security tools and services to help protect your data in the cloud.
You’ll also want to inquire about the details of each service they offer. For instance, if you’re interested in a BaaS solution, ask the provider about their backup methods and how often they perform backups.
It's also important to ask about any add-on services or features that may be available. For instance, some CSPs offer managed services, which can be helpful if you don’t have the resources or expertise to manage your cloud environment on your own. Other providers may offer a self-service portal, which can give you more control over your environment.
2. What is your pricing structure?
There are a variety of pricing models for cloud services, so you’ll need to ask the CSP about their specific pricing structure. For instance, some providers charge hourly, while others charge monthly. Some providers also offer discounts for long-term contracts or for prepaying for services.
Ideally, you should look for a CSP that offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, with the ability to scale up or down as needed. This will allow you to pay only for the services you use, which can save you money in the long run. You should also inquire about any minimum usage requirements or monthly fees.
Finally, be sure to ask the CSP if there are any hidden fees or surcharges. For instance, some providers charge for data transfers or for storage beyond a certain capacity. By asking about these fees upfront, you can be sure that there are no surprises later on.
3. How secure is your environment?
Security is a critical concern when it comes to cloud computing. After all, you’re entrusting your data to the CSP, so you need to be sure that the CSP’s cloud environment is always secure.
Ask the CSP about their security measures, both in terms of their software and their physical infrastructure. For instance, ask about the firewall and encryption technologies they use. You’ll also want to know about the measures they take to protect their data centers from physical threats.
Choose a CSP that has ISO 27001 certification, which is the international standard for information security management. This certification will give you peace of mind knowing that the CSP has been independently verified to implement robust security measures.
4. What happens if my data is compromised?
It’s also important to ask about the CSP’s policies and procedures for dealing with data breaches, including how they would handle an incident and how they would notify you if one were to occur.
A CSP with a robust incident response plan is your best bet, as they will have a well-defined process for dealing with data breaches. This usually includes steps for containment, eradication, and recovery. The CSP should also have a plan for notifying you of the incident in a timely manner.
It’s a bonus if the CSP also has insurance to cover any damages that may occur as a result of a data breach. This can help minimize the financial impact on your business if your data is compromised.
5. What service level agreements do you offer?
Service level agreements, or SLAs, spell out the level of service you can expect from the CSP and what happens if they fail to meet those expectations. For instance, the agreement may specify the uptime of the CSP’s services or the response time for customer support. A good CSP often has more than one tier of SLAs. That is, they offer a basic level of service with a lower price tag and a premium level of service with a higher price tag.
The type of SLA that best suits you will depend on your business needs. If your business can’t afford any downtime, then you’ll need a CSP that offers a high uptime guarantee. On the other hand, if you can tolerate some downtime, then you may be able to get by with a less expensive CSP.
In any case, be sure to read the SLA carefully before signing it. Pay attention to the details, such as what is covered and what isn’t. Also, be sure to ask about any penalties that may be incurred if the CSP fails to meet their obligations.
By asking these questions, you can be sure to find a CSP that’s a good fit for your business. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, as the best CSP should be able to provide satisfactory answers. Remember, you’re entrusting them with your data, so you need to be sure that they can provide the type and level of service your business needs to be successful.
Get in touch with outsourceIT today to see how we can help you with your cloud computing needs.