Cloud providers use data centres to house their services and resources. With a hosted desktop, all the data, files and programs you need to run your business are stored on servers at a secure data centre. Your desktop uses the internet to connect to those servers and deliver everything you need to your devices.
With more and more businesses leveraging the cloud to extract quantifiable value from big data, it won’t be long before the majority of organisations move all (or most) of their data to cloud servers. Not least because they provide high levels of availability, performance at scale, deployment flexibility, and control. But choosing the wrong provider can be devastating for your business. So, what do you need to ask your hosted desktop provider before making the leap?
How secure is it?
Businesses can be wary of putting sensitive or business-critical data into the cloud. So it’s vital that your provider makes security a key priority.
Both physical and digital security should always be of utmost concern. This includes things like fire detection and suppression systems and Iris recognition entry systems. Of course, cyber-attacks happen, and a strike can occur anytime, anyplace, so firewalls are also necessary to reduce the likelihood of hackers and viruses reaching your business over the internet. Despite the headlines, in almost all cases, where a hack has happened it has been down to a poorly designed and maintained security system – not the weakness of the cloud. So, make sure your provider is equipped with enterprise-level firewalls to provide sufficient levels of protection.
Two Factor Authentication (2FA) also provides an extra layer of security to protect your all-important data. This comprehensive solution confirms the identity of all your users and ensures the health of their devices before they connect to your applications.
The good news is that with robust cloud encryption now available, storing data in the cloud tends to be safer than storing it onsite. Significant investment would be needed to make an onsite solution match the security and reliability of the cloud.
Do you have ISO27001 accreditation?
Reputable data centres will have ISO27001 accreditation. An industry benchmark that every provider should adhere to, ISO27001 ensures compliance with an internationally recognised best practice framework and ensures you are working with a trustworthy provider, committed to safeguarding your data.
Do you meet industry-specific requirements?
Some industries have additional and specific security standards that must be adhered to. Depending on the industry, this could include requirements around the design and maintenance of the data centre (e.g. 24-hour CCTV monitoring, etc.). It is crucial to ask your chosen provider whether they can help you to meet these standards and prove their own compliance. For example, solicitors must check that any provider will help them to achieve Outcome 7.10 of the SRA Code of Conduct.
What services and apps do you offer?
Different cloud providers offer different services and apps. It’s vital that you appoint a provider that meets your needs. At Cloud Geeni we offer the complete Microsoft suite of products to help you get the most out of your chosen technologies. What’s more, your users will enjoy access to all the business applications they need, from anywhere, on any internet enabled device. And, by moving your applications to the cloud you’ll benefit from an increase in productivity and be better placed to embrace innovation and facilitate business growth.
How will you migrate my data?
It’s vital that there isn’t any impact on your business operations when moving to a cloud-based server. Make sure your provider uses proven methods to keep everything up and running during this process. Your new cloud system should be able to run parallel to your legacy one until the process is complete, and you should only move when you have tested your new solution and confirmed you are happy.
What happens if you lose my data?
Any cloud storage you use must offer best-in-class backup and recovery processes. So if a failure occurs, it’s never a problem. Ask your provider what procedures they have in place to ensure there is no loss of service and no downtime. At Cloud Geeni we provide a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
Where is the data centre based?
As businesses become more aware of their obligations with regard to the Data Protection Act and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the location of data centres has become increasingly important. Look for a provider that offers UK based data centres with stringent processes for dealing with information.
What happens if I need more resource?
You don’t want to worry about limited resources. Instead, you need a provider that makes sure you have everything you need, as and when you need it. There should be virtually no limits on how much power, space and memory you can use. So, if you experience a period of high demand, you’re always covered. Likewise, should that demand drop off, you should be able to scale back to suit. You should never have to pay for resources that you don’t need.
What level of customer support do you offer?
Ask how customer support is made available and how long it takes before issues are usually resolved. You should also enquire about the knowledge and experience of the customer support staff. With the peace-of-mind that experts are looking after your data 24/7, you can be confident that your business-critical information is always being taken care of.
How much does it cost?
Look for a provider that delivers a managed service for one affordable monthly fee. Free from the hassle of buying, managing and upgrading your own server, with no costly hardware to purchase or maintain, switching to a cloud-based hosted desktop service will reduce your IT investment costs and boost your bottom line.