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How to Vet Your Cloud Communications Provider

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How to Vet Your Cloud Communications Provider

May 07, 2014
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

In a market where cloud computing is no longer the lofty aspirations of some wanting to buck the system, the adoption of innovative technologies is taking shape. Companies large and small are adopting cloud computing as a strategic move to innovative, streamline operations and reduce the cost of doing business. In doing so, they also have to vet managed service providers, a process that can often slow deployment.

MSPmentor recently published a piece on how best to weed out the providers who over-promise and under-deliver. The key is to ask questions according to your needs. MSPmentor’s list focused on several, originally suggested by Let’s borrow from this list and evaluate how it applies in your own environment.

Security – While companies increasingly trust the idea of cloud computing and cloud communications, they still have concerns about access to their information and their networks. They key is to ask the MSP how your data will be protected, whether it’s sitting on a server or in transit from one point to another. It’s important to know who will have access to it and how others are kept out.

Location – Knowing where your data will be kept is another important point. The cloud is often perceived as this abstract thing, but we know the data is actually residing somewhere physical. Gain a better understanding of the type of cloud involved. If the public cloud is at play, you need to know the exact location of your data at all times. This includes instances of disaster, so ask about the business continuity plan.

Breach – You aim to cover security in the first conversation, but you do also need to ask the question as to what happens in the event of a breach. Keep in mind that nothing is ever 100 percent secure and a vendor who makes this promise is one to avoid. It’s important to know their strategy for handling a breach to ensure minimal damage and optimal recovery.

Separation – Not all relationships last forever and you may decide that your cloud communications provider is no longer meeting your needs. Know what your options are before you reach this point. Ask the questions before you sign a contract to ensure you’re not locked into a long-term agreement, that there are no fees for separation and that your data is easily transferable.

From this list of four, you can add your own questions to address key points that may be top of mind. You may want a direct contact each time you call the company or an itemized invoice each month. Whatever your requirements, lay them out ahead of time and vet MSPs according to these requirements. In doing so, you’re likely to have a much better cloud communications experience.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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