Feb 28 2012

13 Questions Every Business Should Ask Its Cloud Vendor

Avoid leaving things to chance when moving IT operations to the cloud. Be thorough and ask questions.

When migrating technology to a cloud service provider, you have to trust that they will do as well as or better than you can.

“You are taking a leap of faith,” says Laura DiDio, principal analyst at IT Intelligence Consulting. Asking the right questions and getting those answers in writing is critical, she says.

Here are a dozen to put to potential cloud providers:

  • Can the provider offer references comparable to your business?
  • Are strong user identification and encryption in place?
  • Where is data hosted? Consider geographic risks and laws governing privacy rights.
  • Who has access to your data?
  • If you have clients with regulatory requirements, is the provider compliant?
  • What’s the latency of accessing data?
  • What’s the backup-and-restore process in case of a disaster?
  • Does the provider offer a guaranteed service-level agreement?
  • What equipment does the provider use?
  • What other businesses are in the cloud? Is your data totally segmented from theirs?
  • Can the provider raise prices? If so, will it offer a price cap or increase limit?
  • Does it offer an opt-out clause so that if, in the first six months or so, you’re not happy with the service or decide the cloud isn’t right for you, you can get out of the contract without penalty?
  • If you get discounts based on the number of licenses you purchase, can you reduce the number of licenses without penalty or with a reduced penalty?