Section 2

When Your Company Is In The cloud, Nail Your Contract To The Ground

Chances are, you and your business are engaged with the cloud. Services like Dropbox are cloud-based, for instance, and easy to use. Your business, however, likely needs access to greater storage and technology than you can receive from a simple download.

Moving to the cloud means you don’t have to maintain your own servers and you can quickly upgrade storage and other services. If you aren’t using the cloud yet, you probably will be soon.

According to industry prognosticator IDC, about half of IT spending in 2018 will be to access the Cloud, increasing to 60% of all IT infrastructure spending and 60% to 70% of all software, services, and technology spending by 2020. Deloitte says that spending for cloud-based data centers, software and services will reach $574 billion by the end of this year.

Hiring a provider of cloud services shouldn’t be a snap decision. It requires investigation of a vendor’s best practices and will probably also require changes in your business practices. Both are needed to help ensure your vital information is not lost or stolen.

Here are some things to consider when you shop for a cloud provider.

Make sure the company has strong security. A good defensive position includes strong identification measures for all users. The company must be able to limit access to your information to a minimum of its own employees as well as ensure that only your own authorized employees can get to stored data. Its cyber security measures should be able to detect activity by potential hackers and prevent the intrusion. There are several industry and government standards that indicate the provider follows best practices.

Although you will probably never see the servers that store your data, the company should be able to tell you how it is protected from physical attack and what will happen in the event of a power outage in the area. A history of the provider’s reliability will help you decide whether it does a good job in this area.

Although we mostly take for granted that information will be encrypted, ask for details about how private information is protected.

When you migrate to the cloud, your company is also responsible for protecting your data.

The most important consideration is to continue to create and follow rules about who can access company information, and at what level. Your provider can offer the best protections in the world, but they are useless if your own protections are lax.

You are also responsible for understanding the contract you will sign with the provider. Be certain about pricing and ask questions about set-up costs and long-term billing. Seek clear language about what the provider will do in the event your data is stolen, lost or accessed by unauthorized users. And understand whether the provider is using proprietary technology that would make it more difficult for you to switch to another company.

The cloud is the future and it can benefit you with limitless storage and services. You must do your due diligence to ensure it is affordable and safe as well.