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When transitioning your business to the cloud, choosing the right cloud provider is critical. If you’re shopping around, it’s important to understand security practices, data privacy, and the operational capabilities of each provider. Ask yourself, what features and benefits will guarantee that you have a successful partnership with your provider. Be sure to do your due diligence and ask these key questions before you make a choice.

  1. Where are your data centres?
    Many provider store data on numerous managed servers in various geographic locations. Ask this question to determine if it aligns with your business goals and addresses your privacy concerns. Understanding where data is located can help you to evaluate risks and benefits around data security.
  2. How do I access my data?
    Ensure that your provider can work with you to develop an access control policy that allows to access to your data whenever and where ever you need it. Because your data is now stored offsite, it’s critical that you understand how to access it at all times.
  3. How is my data monitored and maintained?
    Find out what they have in place for monitoring since your applications should always be online and require regular patching to minimize risks of a security breach. A monitoring system will automatically notify your provider whenever your systems need maintenance support. They should monitor anti-virus, software, hardware, security patching and disc space. You should also have access to audit trails to track and identify any potential breaches.
  4. What about “two-factor authentication?”
    Security should be your primary concern and your provider should be able to demonstrate the measures they have in place. At times, firewalls, encryption and anti-viruses may not be enough. Implementing a two-factor authentication process (using a password and a unique secure code) can add an extra layer of protection. This can significantly reduce your risks of attack.
  5. What is your disaster recovery plan?
    Any provider you choose should offer protection against natural disasters like floods or fire. Make sure your provider offers multiple location redundancy and ask to see their disaster recovery plan. You should know in advance what steps to take in the event of a failure.

These questions should help you to assess and select a qualified cloud services provider. If you currently have a provider, these questions can give you a solid “reality check” for updating your service agreement. Contact us to learn more!

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