What Do I Need To Know To Buy Cloud Services?

Get Clear on Cloud Services

cloud-servicesCloud computing isn’t just a new fad – it is revolutionizing how businesses operate.

Everyone is talking about “The Cloud,” we know. We also know that cloud computing is a nebulous term. So we put together this handy guide for you to reference when you are talking to a provider about cloud computing for your business.

Is my business a good fit for the cloud?

The cloud can work well in almost any industry. The key is understanding your business requirements – so this is the first thing you should discuss with your provider.

For example, if your business is healthcare, you may require a HIPAA-compliant cloud solution. Or if your business is retail, a PCI compliant cloud solution may be required. These are common requirements, but it is critical to know that your cloud provider can meet them.

That said, some types of business processes are not a great fit for cloud solutions. Heavy video editing or large computing of CAD drawings would be difficult and may not be cost-effective to implement in the cloud.

Sometimes a hybrid approach is best. For example, a business might use SalesForce as their cloud CRM solution, Fluid Cloud for their core business servers, and keep their high-end processing (like video production) in their office.

Bandwidth is also an important factor in deciding if your business is a good fit for the cloud. Your cloud service provider can help you determine if your bandwidth is sufficient, or if improvements need to be made before migrating to cloud computing services.

What questions should I ask when I talk to a cloud service provider?

1. Definition Your provider should be able to define cloud solutions to you in relation to your everyday business needs. They should also work with you to define a plan to get there, then implement your plan and provide ongoing support once your cloud services are set up.

True cloud solutions are tailored for each customer. Your provider should help you customize your solution based on what your actual business needs are and align with your future business goals as well. That way you mitigate the risk of under- or over-building your cloud solution, making your investment much safer.

2. Security Security is a major concern for any business, which is why we have designed our own Fluid Cloud solution with more robust security than any single customer could deploy on their own. Your provider should always put security at the top of the priority list when implementing your cloud solution.

And if the cloud goes down, your provider should have backup options in place so you still may have access to all of your cloud-based tools and data. The Fluid Cloud was built from the ground up to be fully redundant. Clients have the option of choosing how much redundancy is required for their business, such as enabling offsite backups – which means data is safely stored in multiple locations, so when one location goes down, data still accessible in the other locations.

Ask your provider what redundancies are built in to keep your business secure and operational. At Fluid, our cloud infrastructure is in an SSAE 16 compliant data center with multiple redundancies. To offer even broader service to our clients, we are adding a second data center by the fourth quarter of 2013.

In plain English, that means our clients’ cloud solutions have “five 9s” of uptime: 99.999%.

3. Software Licensing Software licensing in the cloud can be very confusing. Although ultimately you are responsible for ensuring you are compliant, it’s your provider’s job to help you stay up to date on all of the requirements.

Your provider should find the best software licensing option to meet your immediate and future business needs. The cloud has provided more options for software licensing than ever before, so crafting a customized solution that keeps you in compliance should be part of any cloud solution package you buy.

When you’re ready to talk about cloud solutions

Find a provider who will learn your business, provide education and information, and has the engineering and customer service processes to provide support after the initial setup. Our team at Fluid IT Services has designed and built a cloud solution from the ground up that is customizable, reliable and secure. Want to talk to us about the Fluid Cloud? Contact us today.