How to Choose the Best Cloud Service Provider for You
Cloud storage services are popping up everywhere for storage tasks such as storing music to large corporations using them as the sole place of storage. Not all cloud services are created equally so finding the right one for you is very important before you trust your information to a cloud storage provider. After all, this is your private data no matter if it’s simply your music library, home photos or medical records.
Do Your Homework
Do your homework before committing to a cloud service provider. Find out about the types of technology they use to keep your service up and running. Get references from others who have used the company or companies you are considering. Ask about how their experience with the service has been and if they are not still with the service, ask why.
Terms of Service
The provider you choose should have all the terms of the service easy to access and read. Make sure you read everything, including the fine print before committing to the agreement. Sometimes cloud providers do not guarantee your data or the security of it when you read the fine print. There’s nothing wrong with getting out the magnifying glass for making sure your information is safe.
You should be allowed 24/7 access to your data. If the provider has a reliability of less 99% or better for being up and running, find another company. While glitches do happen on occasion (this is technology after all) the company should be reliable on you being able to get to your information.
Give It a Test Drive
If the cloud service provider has a free trial offer, try it out. If they don’t offer one, ask for it. Upload a few folders and files to find out how easy the interface works. Play with it; this is the opportunity to “break” it, so make sure it works in a manner that works for you. Try downloading your files and folders; paying attention to if it was easy to return your data back into your care. Some companies make it difficult to get your data back, which can make it hard if you decide to change services or stop using the cloud.
Pay Attention to the Details
Notice the upload and download speeds. Time is money and some services will give you a slow upload service and then offer to upgrade your service for a faster one in order to get more money out of you. Also, pay attention to your agreement and the options you agreed to, otherwise you might be getting an extra bill for services such as going over your limits.
Security and Compliancy
Check out the security and make sure the cloud service will keep any data you upload compliant with any laws and regulations such as HIPPA or SOX regulations. Your cloud service should have no problem with this but some services do not guarantee compliancy; go with one that does even if you don’t have data needing those kinds of protection. Chances are the services that don’t provide that kind of protection are not secure enough and reliability is questionable.
Access and Backup
Find out if the company has a backup service in the event one of their locations goes down or is lost for any reason. Without a backup, you could lose everything. You also want to find out about the cloud’s access controls and how easy they are to use. It’s preferable they are easy to change and have an admin option in the event you give access to other people that needs to change at times.
Cloud services for the majority of data storage are the wave of the feature because they are more affordable buying large storage options that you have to upkeep and maintain. Established companies offer less risk than new ones for keeping your data safe. Do your homework and make sure the cloud service provider is reputable, offers the right options for you and join the rest of the world in “the cloud.”
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