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What to Look for When Choosing Cloud Storage Services

Kent Ellefsen

Your data is being underutilized if it is kept in on-site storage. Cloud storage provides greater accessibility and performance at a fraction of the cost. Unfortunately, when you make the decision to shop for cloud solutions, there isn’t a physical showroom to visit and test your options. Even online, it’s difficult to spin up cloud-based storage and metaphorically “kick the tires.” However, there is a criterion your business needs to keep in mind when choosing cloud storage services. Learn about the following points and you will increase your odds of finding scalable and secure cloud services that fit your business.

Integration with Your Current Network

Very few companies (our guess is next to none) are doing their cloud storage comparison without preexisting systems, services, and platforms in place. Though some of the aspects of that infrastructure might benefit from an upgrade, they shouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel to run their cloud solutions.

Exceptional vendors design their virtual storage to integrate with leading market solutions. For example, Active Directory has 95% of the directory services market share, so most cloud storage options are going to be compatible with Microsoft’s directory service. Other elements of your infrastructure will vary depending on how compliant cloud vendors are inclined to be.

That’s why it’s important to audit your existing infrastructure before choosing cloud storage solutions. Which systems will integrate seamlessly? Which systems will require workarounds? Which systems will be completely incompatible with a solution? Conducting this assessment in advance ensures that there are fewer obstacles during implementation – and can even help identify which aspects of your infrastructure are due for retirement.

Ownership of their Data Centres

Data needs to be responsive. Your employees can’t afford to wait around while virtual servers stutter up to speed. Like a top car in the Canadian Black Book, cloud storage is measured in part by its performance and speed. Unless your cloud vendor has direct control over the data centres housing their infrastructure, their SLAs for speed and performance will be wishful thinking at best.

Consider this situation. The cloud storage housing your data temporarily goes offline. If your vendor directly oversees the environment, they’ll have instant notifications and can take quick action to restore access. Cloud providers using a third party infrastructure are dependent upon their vendor relationship. If it’s strong, business continuity will be trustworthy. If not, your data accessibility will be more unpredictable.

There is another layer to this concern: what happens if an entire data center goes down? Are there backups available? Microsoft has two Canadian datacentres, one in Québec City and the other in Toronto, which provide greater disaster recovery protection in the case of a larger catastrophe. Be certain to review the extent to which cloud providers can back up your data or you might deal with the consequences later.

Top Notch Security

There was a record high of 1,579 data breaches in 2017, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center, and cybersecurity should be on the mind of every decision maker. Especially when doing a cloud storage comparison. Always be sure to identify the extent to which a cloud vendor prioritizes security. If they have the same blasé attitude with your data as someone leaving a pie cooling on a windowsill, you shouldn’t be surprised when someone steals it.

When choosing cloud storage solutions, some cybersecurity features should always be on your radar. Does the provider offer two-factor authentication for users? Are there options to employ encryption (when data is at rest and in transit)? Is it compatible with identity access management to inhibit the entry of cybercriminals? Moreover, be willing to ask about their complete solutions to ensure that they value your data as much as you do.

Want further guidance when choosing cloud storage services for your business? Take our Cloud Readiness Assessment

 

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What to Look for When Choosing Cloud Storage Services

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