IaaS (infrastructure as a service) is a vital convenience available to small and medium-sized businesses today. Organizations that put their operations on such remote services are able to run services at full scale while making do with modest investments in computing power and support expertise on-site.
With all their storage and number crunching done remotely on the computers and networks of the cloud computing service that they subscribe to, these businesses are shielded from the messy details of enterprise hardware and software maintenance and upgrades, load balancing , backups and security. There are also far lower costs involved. Not only do businesses not need to make up-front investments, they are spared the expense of IT experts on the payroll, as well.
Deciding on a cloud computing service isn’t easy. While there are major names in the IaaS space, they are not all suitable for every business. It can take some effort to know how to evaluate an IaaS service for your business.
How easy is the service to use?
While you could certainly look up reviews for the top IaaS services, ease-of-use can be hard to determine without some legwork. It’s important to try to obtain references, so that you can speak to actual clients.
Nothing’s more important than customer service
When you decide to put your entire business into the hands of a third-party provider, you want to know that every problem that turns up will be solved painlessly. Not only do you want customer service that speaks your language well, you need to see a great attitude, as well. Experienced businesses never pick a cloud provider without researching employee satisfaction levels on various forums on the Internet.
How robust is their infrastructure?
A business that hopes to provide your organization with infrastructure needs to be well-equipped. You need to ask probing questions. Who provides their Internet connections, how much redundancy do they have, how quick is their data replication between data centers (it should be in the low milliseconds), how well-trained an AS400 expert will you get, and do they meet the compliance standards that you are clients look for — FINRA, EC, PCI, HIPPA, NIST and ITAR, among others. If your business runs on a non-compliant cloud service, it could drive customers away.
What kind of security is in place?
You don’t want to be stuck with a business that doesn’t invest in the latest security standards. Not only could poor security mean disruptions to your business, it could put your customers’ information at risk. It’s important to ask questions about the extent to which data encryption is practiced.
How easy is it to get out?
When you get into a relationship, you also need to plan for a way out. In the event that you should begin to regret doing business with the cloud company that you’re with, you want to know how easy it can be to take your data out, and move it to a competitor’s servers. Ideally, you want the process to be practically automatic.
It’s a huge step to trust a company to take over your business’s IT needs. Some research is essential.
William Noble has a job in cloud computing and is a techy guy at heart, with a background in programming. He writes for business and technology based websites on a range of topics.