Shopping for a cloud service can be a tiresome business. How do you know which one to go for? Is the cheapest option always the best? Due to the sheer number of cloud software on offer, it can even become overwhelming. Don’t worry, though, as there are some simple things to look out for when browsing different offers. Here’s what small businesses should consider when shopping for cloud services.
How Secure it Is
Before deciding on a cloud service, you should know what measures they use to ensure your data is fully protected. Do they use firewalls? How do they authenticate user access? These are things to consider before putting your money into software that’s storing your sensitive data.
Consider using CASB for better protection from your cloud services. That way, you receive an extra dose of certainty when it comes to your data’s security. If you’re curious about a cloud access security broker, have a look at Proofpoint.
How You Will Access it
You want to ensure whatever cloud software you choose is easily accessible for the whole workplace. Whether a team is collaborating on a project or you are sharing a file with an employee, it should be simple to do so – even for the less tech-friendly of the bunch. That way, you know that everyone can get on board with the new software without too much interruption.
The Cost of the Service
One of the biggest factors you will likely take into consideration is how pricey the cloud software is. As a small business, you’re likely on a strict budget, so look around for great deals.
It’s not just the price you should take into consideration when questioning the value of it, though – you should also compare the cost of the service to the services it offers. One cloud computing service might be tempting because of how cheap it is, but it might not offer the same level of protection as others.
How Easy it Is to Change Plans
You don’t want to be stuck with a cloud service that doesn’t accommodate growth. Scalability is particularly important for small businesses, as you never know when you might see a rise in profits and need a business overhaul. Likewise, you might go through a dip one year and need to change your cloud plan to accommodate that. So, when browsing for cloud software, make sure you find out how easy it is to change plans.
The Customer Service Support
You need to know how you will manage if the cloud software plays up or stops working. In the event you need help or have some questions, the customer service support should be there to sort your problems out as soon as possible. For this reason, you must check what their support is like before investing. While you can get a good idea of this on their website, it’s also a good idea to check customer reviews, as many customers often talk about the quality of customer support in their comments.
Where the Data Is Stored
Many people view the storage of data as some abstract thing, but in reality, it is stored in a physical location. Before choosing your cloud software, then, you should check up on where the data is physically stored. Is it in the same country as you? If not, you might want to check if any laws will impact the access of your data. Is it in a place where natural disasters happen frequently? If so, you might want to reconsider, as this could impact the safety of your sensitive data.
The Service Level Agreement
Before making any decisions, you must look at the cloud service level agreement. It is a contract that will tell you about each parties’ responsibilities, the warranty, and the guarantees they offer. It should also tell you the response time for systems failures. You will learn a lot in this contract, and it’ll make you make the right decision.
Help Offered When Switching
It’s not just the customer service you should look out for – you should also look into how much help is offered when switching, as it isn’t always straightforward. Does the cloud provider give help switching from one to the other? Will your team have assistance when figuring out how it works? This is crucial to know, as you could be left in the dark if there’s no guarantee of guidance in the early days of use.
If it Provides Collaboration Software
Not every small business requires collaboration software, but if yours does, then consider whether or not the cloud provider you’re going with offers it on the side. That way, you won’t have to pay an extra cost to gain access to collaboration tools. That is especially helpful for businesses that employ remote workers, too, as you’d be able to team up with anyone from anywhere in the world.
Shopping for any software as a small business should take some real thought. After all, if you’re going to put your hard-earned money toward something, it should be something that boosts your business and helps you achieve your goals.