Being an entrepreneur means making decisions. Decisions about finances. Decisions about projects. Decisions about personnel, and decisions about technology. IT can be a challenge to navigate if you’re not well versed in the every-changing universe of technology, and even for those with savvy and knowledge, it can still be tricky to make a decision that requires long term investment.
Moving into the cloud makes sense for a lot of companies in a lot of ways. Cloud-based anythingcan reduce headaches and complications. It eliminates the need for multipleback-ups and accessibility issues can be quickly resolved. A cloud-based hostcan also reduce hardware costs and maintenance issues.
But choosing the right cloud host isn’t as simple as picking one. There are thousands of possibilities, and they all offer different levels of service and storage. Finding the right cloud-based host requires careful consideration.
1. Know what you need.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the possibilities of a cloud-based server if you don’t first identify what it is you actually need. How much customer support? How much storage? What specific applications are you looking for?
2. Know what you want.
Once you determine your minimum level of requirements, think toward the future. What do you want moving forward? Is there room to scale your business in the future if you choose to? Is there a new feature you’d like to have as an opportunity for growth?
3. Choose a pricing structure that suits you.
Pay-as-you-go pricing is appealing. It allows you to try out a new cloud-based host without making a long term commitment. On the other hand, making sweeping changes to your technology platform can be expensive and time-consuming in its own right so paying once up front gives you confidence that you can maximize potential in one place for a set period of time.
4. Read the fine print before paying.
Before paying any money, be sure you know what you’re looking at and what you’re actually getting from the company. What you think about something isn’t always what you get, so reading the details before signing up can save you headaches later.
5. Consider backing up to the cloud.
A cloud host should allow plenty of storage that allows you to routinely back up files and images so that if something does happen you have confidence that business can continue quickly with just a mild hiccup.
6. Keep security a priority.
Your data, your client data and your files may be sitting in the cloud, but they should be safe up there as well. Review the security protocols carefully and look for options to increase security should you determine that one level simply isn’t enough.
7. Examine service level agreements with a critical eye.
What are you paying for? The service level agreement or SLA will tell you exactly what you can expect from the company. A robust agreement may cost more, but it might be worth it to prevent headaches and smooth a transition. Look for details about how the company handles data loss, outages and potential downtime.
8.Review customer support offerings.
Does the company claim to offer support around the clock? What kind of support? A “24/7” level of support can mean someone is available to talk on the phone or via messenger every hour of every day or it might mean that you have an email address or comment box to use should need the arise. Only one of those options should bring you peace of mind.
9. Read the reviews.
What to know more about a company? Check out what others are saying. There are review websites all over the internet that provide independent user reviews about experiences. Read reviews on the actual company website cautiously, and instead focus on what people are saying in areas the hosting company can’t control the message.
10. Examine documentation.
What documents can you find on or about the company? Are there guides, examples, how-to posts and other resources available to users? A hosting company without any sort of documentation or information available should make you skeptical. What is the company hiding? If you are allowing a company access to your most important files and protocols, shouldn’t you know all about them?
11.Be cautious about discounts.
If a company is offering an outrageous discount, you likely want to walk away. Big discounts when competition offers little or no money off is a sign that something may be off with the company. A reputable company that checks out in all other areas might have a seasonal sale from time to time, but a company offering huge cuts on prices, especially a new company, might be a front for something shady.
12. Look for tells in product offering.
You can tell when a company is operating in the gray area of honesty when they make promises that they probably can’t keep. If offerings appear too good to be true, you should probably walk away. “Free unlimited bandwidth” for example requires a serious hardware commitment. It should cost more – not be given on every minimum level contract.
13. Ask for referrals.
Reviews can provide some insight into the experience of others, but the best option is to simply ask others you trust about their hosting experiences. Check into your local community through forums or groups on social media. Ask for recommendations or for negative experiences to help guide your choice.
14. Take your time.
Choosing anything for your business should come with a waiting period. Making an important decision in a split second is dangerous and can create tremendous hassles down the road. Take your time to think critically about what you’re signing up for and what it will look like down the road.
15. Consider all players.
Unless you are a company of one, your decision is going to affect others as well. Check with your workers and personnel to see what their thoughts might be about making a switch. They know their jobs best and might have ideas or opinions you didn’t even know to consider.
A good cloud host can minimize headaches and give you significant peace of mind. Anything that saves you time and money has value to an entrepreneur, and cloud hosting is definitely one area that has tremendous possibilities. Once you make the switch, you can enjoy streamlined processes, improved accessibilities and lower costs. Just be sure you do your due diligence ahead of time to choose the right host.