Looking for a Cloud Provider? Ten Important Questions to Ask the Provider as Part of Your Due Diligence

By: John Foster

 

When you are making the decision on picking a cloud provider, there are some important questions you should ask according to industry experts. The following are ten questions you should ask any cloud provider you might be considering:

Are you a reseller of cloud services, or do you own the equipment you provide the cloud services on?

If it’s someone else’s infrastructure, you may not have a good feel for who is responsible for service and support.

Where will my data be located?

There are a wide range of cloud providers these days, and you don’t want your data in someone’s basement.    Ideally, your information will be stored in a safe location that’s remote from your own location, so it’s not subject to the same regional risks.

What are the specs of the data center you operate out of?

This would include physical and electronic security measures, redundancies, etc.  You might want to consider dropping by for a visit.

What is the average total downtime for the services I’m subscribing to?

The provider should be able to tell you how often during a particular period of time their services are unavailable. A relatively low percentage is always best.

What can go wrong during installation or migration?

This could range from problems with Internet connection, to data loss or incompatibility.  It is helpful to find out the problems that previous users have faced.

Are you sharing hardware resources between clients?

You want to know whether your processing is being dedicated just to you, or if it’s being shared out among all the provider’s customers.

How much Internet bandwidth is needed for the solution to perform correctly?

Make sure that you know the figure per user. Also check with your Internet service provider to know what both your upload and download speeds are.

What is the recovery time if the systems hosting my data are completely destroyed? 

Also ask what kind of secondary backups they have, how often they’re made, and how often they’re tested.

Is my data automatically redundant across multiple data centers?

Knowing this will give you a good idea of their backup and security procedures.

Do you have documented data security policies?

Knowing what kind of formal security policies they have in place will give you an idea of how secure your data is from the provider’s own staff.

 

If you get good answers to these questions, you should be well on your way to making an informed decision picking your cloud provider.