Shopping for a new data storage provider is a daunting task. There are numerous providers and you want to make sure you choose the right one to protect your company’s data.
Our advice? Determine your data storage needs before reaching out to providers. You can avoid headaches and frustrating negotiations by ensuring you properly plan and think through capacity needs and performance requirements.
Once you’ve done that, here are some questions you should consider asking each individual provider to determine the best fit for your cloud storage needs:
1. What is this going to cost?
You deserve to know exactly what you’re paying for. And if a provider isn’t being transparent, that should be a red flag. Each cloud service provider bills differently – and it can get complex, so ask for a complete breakdown. Some may vary by storage tier. Others may charge on a per-gigabyte basis. Will there be an extra charge for data transfers, uploading and downloading or accessibility? Consider setting up a limit with your provider that will prevent cloud storage use from exceeding your budget.
2. Where will my data be stored?
You should know exactly where your data is going once you hand it over. Get details on the storage space and access requirements. Who will be able to access it and when? Talk through your options when it comes to private or public cloud, on premise and hybrid storage options. This information should align with your data strategy and check off all your boxes you determined before even reaching out to providers.
3. What if I’m unhappy with my provider? How easy is it to switch?
We’ll get to the point: You don’t want to be stuck. If your data storage provider doesn’t have multiple cloud provider options on hand, you need to make sure it’s the crème de la crème of storage companies. Otherwise, keep the doors open and your options flexible. In fact, using multiple cloud providers within one data storage provider can help mitigate risk while keeping things organized.
If you do decide to switch, ask what that process likes like. Will the data storage provider help migrate and convert if necessary? Will you be on your own? While you’re on this topic, ask what happens if you want to get your data out completely and ensure you can avoid changing software, schedules or processes when moving providers.
4. What security measures are in place?
Get into the nitty gritty details here:
- Determine what methods, systems and processes are in place to protect your data both digitally and physically.
- Discuss security regulations and requirements and make sure the provider is compliant. For example, if you’re in the medical field, make sure the provider can meet HIPAA Or if you work with EU companies, are they GDPR compliant?
- What method of encryption is used? Who will have access to the data?
- Who is responsible for what? Is the provider solely responsible for its infrastructure?
Asking these questions will give you and your company peace of mind and save you from future stress if a breach occurs.
5. What happens in the event of a data breach or natural disaster?
Confront them with the tough questions. In the off-chance scenario that a data breach occurs, how would the provider respond? What’s their business continuity plan? This will be a test to make sure they have a recovery plan in place – no matter the circumstance. If they don’t have plans to back up your data or help your business run in an emergency, you may want to look elsewhere.