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Seven questions to ask your cloud hosting provider

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Cloud computing provides the SMB and the Enterprise space the ability to create virtual machines on the fly that provide functionality on par with a dedicated server. This means small to mid sized companies no longer require an in house server room and the associated cost of hosting on premise or in a colocation facility. Cloud computing provides business with the ability to virtually outsource certain process thus saving the company thousands in labor and electricity.

For example it can take days to get the parts, assemble and configure a new server required for a project. With the cloud employees can simply log into the cloud and create a virtual machine in minutes.

The demand for the cloud has created an avalanche of cloud hosting companies. Not all cloud hosting companies are equal. Before trusting your companies’ data with a cloud hosting provider do your due diligence. The consequences of hosting your data with a company that is out of compliance can be catastrophic. Companies searching for a cloud hosting provider are often inundated with marketing hype.The purpose of this document is to empower companies with the right questions to ask when seeking a cloud hosting provider.

1. Is your datacenter SOC compliant?

Anyone can rent space in a colocation facility and start a cloud hosting company. Ask the prospective cloud hosting company if they are SOC compliant. A SOC2 compliant data center provides assurance that your data is protected by a facility that follows a set of pre-defined policies set for privacy. For more information on SOC compliance visit the American Insitute of CPAs at www.aicpa.org

2. Is there a contract?

Some cloud hosting providers require long term commitments. The whole purpose in using a cloud hosting solution is to have on demand services. Make sure your cloud hosting provider provides services on a month to month term. Ask your prospective cloud hosting provider if you have to sign an annual contract. If you have a project that is going to last for a month there is no reason to pay for a year. Paying on a monthly term can save you thousands by not being locked into a binding contract.

3. Who has access to my data?

Ask your cloud hosting provider if they outsource their technical staff. In addition to asking about outsourcing ask what their screening process is for new employees. Data stored in the cloud often contains valuable intellectual property. Nobody should have access to your data without your permission.

4. Is your support 24/7

The cloud is 24/7 so support must also be 24/7. It is imperative that you have access to your data at all times. In the event that you don’t have access someone has to be available to assist you immediately not when it is convenient for them. Ask the cloud hosting provider if they have hands on support. Do not put yourself in the position where you are contacting a support staff that does not have access to your hardware. If your cloud hosting provider does not have 24/7 hands on support find another company.

5. How much do you charge for bandwidth?

The most overlooked aspect of cloud hosting costs is bandwidth pricing. A cloud hosting offer may appear attractive until you factor in bandwidth. Ask if there is a cost for incoming and outgoing bandwidth. Ask how much bandwidth is included in your plan. Do you have bandwidth overage charges and if so how much?

6. Do you offer backups?

The whole purpose in the cloud is to have access to your data from any location at any time. Make sure to ask your potential cloud hosting provider if they offer a backup solution. There should not be a single point of failure. A true cloud has redundant power, redundant Internet connections and all data is stored on multiple servers. Make sure you have backups of the backups. The whole process of backing up data can be automated and it can literally save your business.

7. Is this a cloud solution or a VPS?

This question will provide you with the ability to cut through all the marketing hype and get right down to brass tax. A VPS is similar to an apartment building. The hosting company takes a single server and divides it into multiple units. After dividing the server into units it rents each unit. If the server goes down so does everything on it.

A cloud hosting environment that is setup correctly is setup on a completely redundant infrastructure. This means redundant power with fully redundant generators. Multiple uplinks along with redundant switches and storage. Your company's cloud be built on server class hardware not cheap commodity hardware.

Moving your I.T infrastructure to the cloud can be a daunting task. CARI.net has been providing cloud hosting services for over 15 years we just called it something else back then. Don't trust your I.T infrastructure with just anyone. Go with the only company in San Diego with the experience and knowledge you deserve.

To reserve your no cost cloud consultation visit www.cari.net/cloud-hosting/free-cloud-consulting.html

To schedule a phone consultation simply call 858-974-5080 ex 100.

*****

Submitted by Mike Dowdy, vice president of sales for CARI.net, Southern California's leading cloud hosting provider.

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User Response
1 UserComments
Grant Bentley 10:17pm October 30, 2012

Mike, Thanks for providing a good overview on the decision criteria for selecting a computer hosting company. The next element is probably for the client to determine if they are looking for a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution or a Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. A hosting company limited to Ping, Power and Pipes will find it hard to compete with speciality cloud service providers that combine on-demand server and storage capacity with popular enterprise software applications and a roster of implementation consultants.

Leave Your Comment

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