11+ Mission Critical Questions to Ask Before Buying Cloud Storage

As the world moves towards a more tech-savvy future, the hype surrounding technological advancements is primarily based on cloud computing with an increased need of undertaking mission critical tasks. For many, there is a dire call for data storage scalability as more and more developers, program and project managers, administrators, engineers, IT oriented businesses, and many more join the cloud data space bandwagon.

Even though it’s a beneficial solution in terms of attaining a scalable and “anytime, anywhere” accessibility data storage system, it can also be detrimental to successful adoption of a solution if proper evaluation is not done prior to buying the cloud storage service.

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To ensure you make the right choice when buying cloud storage so you can fully realize its benefits, this paper highlights 11+ best mission critical questions to ask if you ever need to move your data to the cloud.

  1. Does the cloud storage have a “trial before you buy” program?

It’s such a simple question, right? Well, one of the exceptional features of cloud computing is that you can request for a trial period before enlisting yourself or enterprise to their cloud storage solution. One you’ve asked this question and the cloud storage provider can award a trial period, you can try and experiment with all you can within the trial package period. By testing the concept first, you are better placed at making the right decision as well as determining if the service will take care of your mission critical storage demands.

  1. What are the cloud storage costs and price protection?

Cloud storage comes with their associated costs depending on usage, efficiency and scalability. The subscription costs will therefore determine the efficiency of data access and scalability which will directly impact your mission critical requirements. It’s important to choose a cloud storage that is within the spectrum of your data storage demands such that it can lower overheads and operational costs while serving the underlying purpose.

Public clouds are generally cost-friendly but they may present higher security risks for crucial data. Still, there are hybrid and private cloud storages that charge affordably and also delivers just fine. This must also include a long-term price protection policy so you are not exploited when there is need for scaling.

  1. Are there similar successful deployments?

Most cloud storage providers have a good front page, but the proof is within the content of the book. When you consider buying cloud storage, there’s nothing more satisfying than having the awareness that you’re not the first enterprise or organization to have moved data to the cloud.

Search for the most appropriate examples of practical evidence as well as return on investment and scalability proof points. Customer references can equally prove useful. With this information, you’ll be able to tell if the vendor will essentially cater for your data storage demands.

  1. What are the operational transparencies?

As much as it may seem odd, cloud storage providers at times overlook the service bit of the entire service support system. The instance you move your data to the cloud, you get both professional services and access support. However, you don’t get the recommended mission-critical software unless you demand it.

If the data storage services you are targeting demands more scalability and heightened security protection, it is paramount you ask for operational transparencies before buying a vendor’s cloud service. These should include aspects such as performance management, operational and monitoring management, and capacity management processes.

  1. Is the offering on multi-tenancy or single-tenancy basis?

Multi-tenancy refers to a cloud system that can run multiple customers within a shared infrastructure environment while single-tenancy runs a single infrastructure environment for every user. Irrespective of the many security myths regarding multi-tenant and single-tenancy environments, you can benefit in a number of ways from both systems.

However, this must be a critical evaluation point before buying cloud storage. It is believed that the homogeneity brought about by multi-tenancy approach creates several operational and cost advantages. At the same time, some believe it also comes with reduced efficiency and increased security risks.

On the other hand, single tenancy is associated with increased customization to suit user needs together with reduced system risk. Overall, there are better and worse advances when it comes to cloud data risk management, therefore, either choice is worth exploring as part of your mission critical cloud storage assessment.

  1. Are there offerings for contractual flexibility?

With data storage, the future is never known as it is constantly subjected to scaling up and down depending on usage demands. In this sense, you must highly consider if there are offerings for contractual flexibility to cater for rapid elasticity as well as unpredictability. Even though the cloud storage vendors will occasionally support such instances, a massive scale of cloud storage services don’t commit to such unpredictability – especially in terms of pricing.

This must be a key consideration to ensure your mission critical operations are running throughout regardless of service consumption, innovations, and new software alignments. The questions one should ask here include: is there a provision for standard annual termination for convenience? Is up and down usage-level alignment allowed? and is there periodic rollover usage to cover seasonal peaks?

  1. What are the critical compliance and security requirements?

Compliance and security are core priorities in assessing cloud storage providers. Once your data is on the cloud, you are liable to your staff, customers, regulators, and business counterparts. Therefore, unless a cloud storage provider has an all-encompassing and technically sound approach to a security plan, you should never consider using such a provision for cloud storage.

It will only subject you to a series of compliance and security challenges and in the end; it will negatively impact business success. The mission critical questions to ask here include: what is the provider’s capability and policy for data protection? How does the provider meet market-specific compliance and security standards? and What are the standards for cloud drive encryption and data governance?

  1. What is the data loading efficiency?

Data loading efficiency should never miss on the list of mission critical considerations when evaluating cloud storage. This is so because data loading efficiency or rather speed is one of the biggest cloud storage concerns. From initial load to sync and migration, slow lead time is a huge inconvenience. With slow lead time, it implies daily operations will be to a minimum. For instance, it can be very cumbersome to execute big data and database analytics. For overall speedy operations, data loading efficiency must be a consideration.

  1. What is the end-user required skill set?

Running a cloud including storage needs some new skills. It may seem unimportant, but it ought to be a vital question before buying cloud storage. Any new software stack means training and the requirement of new skills. Furthermore, the data has to be management which will definitely require data management skills.

For instance, one of the key management considerations is encryption, creating and auditing data governance among other crucial security skills. Different cloud have their special ways of setting up severs and associated security, so some end-user expertise will be a definite requirement.

  1. Does the provider have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan?

Before buying cloud storage, matters regarding disaster recovery are paramount. A cloud storage service should be specialized in handling data losses in case if any disaster and it should be done in real time. It is a mission critical question because it determines how fast your business or operations will be up and running in case of an actual disaster.

This makes disaster recovery very important and some of the key questions should include: does the provider have a disaster recovery plan? Is the disaster recovery plan tested on regular basis? Hence, any sort of disaster should never impact operation or business continuity.

  1. Is there robust integration?

It is emphasized that within the cloud computing domain, nothing is impossible – particularly in integrating various services such as data synchronization. On this account, it is common to find that less mature cloud storage vendors may not have the most robust integration capabilities.

If you anticipate moving your data into the cloud to enhance your business capabilities and operational spectrum, it’s imperative to choose cloud storage solutions with robust integration capabilities that may not limit your mission critical activities. Besides, mission robust integration allows for much more flexibility while saving cost.

  1. Can the service be customized to meet my needs?

The question here is, Can the service be tailored to meet your storage needs? Well, data management and integration processes often need substantial implementation services to meet the specific demands of particular data or business information. In order for your unique needs to be met, the cloud storage vendor has to provide configuration capabilities that can be customized. Still, the possibility of total configuration capability customization is impossible, but some degree of configuration can easily help in managing your data to offer perfect business solutions.

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