“The Cloud.” It isn’t always the easiest concept for people to understand. Where is it? What is it? Is it safe?
Even the most seasoned businessperson may be flummoxed by just how data can be secure when it’s just out there, somewhere. But they shouldn’t be. Business leaders need to be armed with questions when working with an IT consultant and walk away with the facts they need to make an informed decision about cloud software.
Great cloud software can allow a business to be more secure, efficient and effective. When weighing the decision of how to use it, business leaders can drop these questions on vendors to gain more information.
- How will you secure our data? Just as the security of your physical location is important, your data storage should be protected vigilantly. Be sure to ask any potential cloud storage vendors what measures they have in place to secure your information. Essential security measures include: Anti-virus detection, data encryption, firewalls, multistep user verification and regular security audits.
- Are your data centers protected from theft and natural disasters? Let’s face it, unplanned calamities can happen at anywhere and at any time. A quality cloud storage vendor should not only be prepared to withstand unforeseen events, but also meet industry standards, such as the Statement Standards for Attestation Engagements 16 (SSAE16). To earn SSAE16 approval, a cloud company’s system and data must meet a higher criteria of customer privacy, data center physical security and data redundancy (i.e. data that is stored in several areas).
- How easy is the cloud software to use? For smaller businesses without IT staff, it’s important to remember that your chosen cloud system will be installed and used by people at all levels – from novice to professional. If the program is difficult to access or it takes too many steps to store and retrieve information, there can be a negative impact on your staff’s willingness to adopt the new system and overall organizational productivity.
- What customer services are offered? Technical problems can arise at any time, even when using the best cloud systems. For this reason, your vendor should have assistance available online or by phone 24 hours a day, every day. The level of assistance is also important, as there are times you may need to interact with a knowledgeable engineer, not a customer service representative following a script.
- Are there frequent downtimes in the cloud system? One of the most important benefits to cloud storage is that it enables you and your employees access to needed files from any internet connected device. If your chosen vendor experiences frequent downtimes, it can make it difficult for you to access information when you need it most. Some cloud storage providers will post their downtime history online. However, if yours does not, be sure to ask.
For businesses that need to do more with less, the cloud is a game changer. Understanding the cloud on a basic level allows leaders to make informed decisions about the role it can play in their business. If you’re looking for better insight, more engaged clients, faster innovation, consider exploring cloud solutions to move ahead of your competition.
These are just some highlights on what the cloud offers. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate it alone – at Amshot, we help our clients vet software providers to make sure they’re choosing the right option for their business. We also support software and train users. We look forward to discussing the specific areas where technology will add value to your business. Contact us here to start the conversation.