How much do you really know about your cloud environment? Are you handing over valuable business data without fully understanding where it’s going, how it’s being supported and who’s looking after it?
When you invest in a physical IT infrastructure you're likely to spend a fair amount of time researching your options - assessing vendors, testing software, sourcing and buying hardware or choosing the right hosting or data centre partner. But do you put this same amount of time and effort into researching your cloud hosting options? Or do you base your decisions around cloud purely on price and features?
What questions should you be asking your cloud provider so that you can be sure that your business critical data is in the safest possible hands?
Where exactly is your data?
It’s likely that you will be dealing with a cloud provider, rather than the actual data centre that your data is sat in, so do you know which data centre your cloud provider uses? Where does your data reside and is there any possibility that it could failover to alternative locations? Do these data storage locations meet with any legislation you have to adhere to?
How resilient is the cloud platform?
Have you asked questions about your provider’s uptime track record, the resilience and level of redundancy in the data centre? What steps have been taken by the data centre provider to avoid human error (which is the number one cause of unplanned IT outages), and to protect against fire, theft, flood and security breaches?
Have you thought about physical security?
When we think about data security we tend to think about it from a digital perspective and the dangers of cyber crime, but the physical security of the data centre that houses your cloud infrastructure is just as important. You should look for a wide range of security controls including on-site manned security, 24-hour CCTV monitoring, biometric scanners and swipe card access, and perimeter defences such as fencing,
infra-red tripwires and mantraps.
What happens in an outage?
What is the hosting provider’s uptime SLA? What technical controls are in place to ensure this is met? At the hosting platform level, what kinds of redundancy measures and resilience features will protect your business from the effects of downtime? In case of power outages, what level of UPS redundancy is available from the data centre? In case of network outages, how diverse are the network connections to and from the data centre? Does your cloud live in an area with a high environmental risk profile? Would it be possible for you to retrieve your data in the event of an outage?
What levels of support are available?
Having access to support can be critical in order to solve performance and availability problems within the shortest possible time frames. Ask about support hours, which support channels are available (phone, email, support tickets), whether or not their
helpdesk is UK based and if you’re moving from another provider, what kind of migration support is available.
You can find further reading on the types of discussions you should be having with your cloud provider, by downloading our free whitepaper - 10 questions you should be asking your cloud provider - which you can download here.