Think You’re Choosing a Safe Cloud Provider? Read These Decision-Making Tips First
Evaluating the security and reliability of a cloud service provider is much like assessing the safety of your home. For example, if you neglect to put locks on a window or door, then it is an open invitation for undesired entry. A cloud provider that does not follow the appropriate security, disaster recovery, and data protection protocols could be setting your business up for failure. The cloud has continuously been refined to provide better service and security; however, not every provider follows the same standards or procedures.
Public cloud services, while common, use the Internet to facilitate connections and security policies. However, private clouds offer the ability to gain increased security through a dedicated Virtual Private Network (VPN) or other more advanced security measure. Besides deciding between a public or private cloud, other aspects must also be evaluated to ensure you are making the most secure and reliable choice for your business.
Start with Security and Authentication
Items to assess before using a service might include finding out who manages the data infrastructure and what security measures have been implemented. Security will be important regardless of how the service is used. This makes the answers to the following questions an imperative contributor to your end decision:
Do they manage their own data storage or is it maintained off-site by another provider?
Can the provider offer a private cloud with enhanced security features (VPN, etc.)?
Have they met all compliance requirements?
What types of authentication are used by the service?
What measures have been implemented to avoid service availability disruptions?
A private cloud environment managed onsite by the provider delivers a more secure service, as improved access and management policies may be implemented. This is because the connection is facilitated via VPN or other more secure measures rather than simply over the Internet.
Private cloud services are at less risk of being compromised, as they use multi-factor authentication methods that are built straight into their service. They also fully encrypt all content and use centralized security policies for remote or local devices to deliver enhanced security.
Decision Factors Beyond Security
Outside of the above considerations, you must evaluate additional elements to ensure that the offered services match your specific technical and performance needs. If they are relying on another cloud provider to deliver their service, you might be setting yourself up for disaster! Careful evaluation is critical to ensuring your business does not go down in flames with an unreliable provider. Additional factors to evaluate might include the following:
- Degree of Transparency
- Compliance Measures
- Industry Experience
- Reliability & Availability
- Scalable Operations
- Quality of Service (QoS)
Transparency is essential if you require the service to be capable of placing your logo and information on the service for customer viewing. Implemented compliance measures will affect overall security and other important elements of the service. The provider should have measures in place to prevent critical outages, meet growing service demands, and to offer the service or support your company needs. The key is taking the time to understand who manages everything and to ensure the right policies are in place for secure, reliable service.
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