Cloud Computing for Small Businesses: Choosing the Right Cloud Service Provider

By Erica Bell (Profile)
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Thursday, September 13th 2012
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Unless you’re in IT or have a firm grasp of the ever-evolving tech world, choosing the right cloud computing package can be a challenge. Small businesses are looking to cloud-based systems to save money and they may be right for doing so. However, a lower cost isn’t the only thing to consider when choosing the right cloud computing service provider.

Security

Information management and data security are two of the most important factors when it comes to cloud computing security. Keeping your business’s and customer’s information out of the wrong hands is vital. Because this information is stored online, hackers are a realistic threat. Make sure you choose a cloud computing provider and package that offer security and recovery in the event of a breach.

  • Evaluate the cloud service provider’s traditional security. This means their physical location, risk analysis, recovery plans and everything in between.
  • Make sure all sensitive information is encrypted when being transmitted and that everything is password protected. Strong identity and access management can help your business avoid unauthorized activity.
  • Monitor your accounts. This includes data management to avoid compromised and lost information. Some cloud accounts are free, whereas others aren’t. Credit card fraud can occur if you pay for your service.

Features

Different businesses need different things. The costly aspect of cloud computing comes in the features. From storage to backups, finding the right cloud computing service to meet your needs can mean adjustments and additional costs. Features range anywhere from the number who can access the site to email.

  • Discover your must-have features. If you’re looking to save money on email accounts or integrate software, find the provider that meets most of your must-haves.
  • Find the right package by considering your storage needs. Usually, the more storage you need, the more expensive your cloud system will be.
  • Determine the number of users. Will everyone in your office need access? Some providers offer unlimited access while others bump up costs for each person using the service.
  • Consider the office tools that will benefit your business the most. From automatic billing to scheduled social media messages, different cloud service providers offer different tools to help your business succeed.

As daunting as it can be, choosing the right cloud computing package is something that requires research in order to ensure your business’s information is protected. Saving money may seem the most important factor, but security and data protection are also important because cleaning up after a breach can be costly. Look for features that meet your business’s needs and compare pricing before ever making a decision.