Like many companies, yours probably stores at least some of its business files, documents, and information in ‘the cloud.’ This is the widely used term referring to the seemingly infinite data storage capacity of the Internet.
Using the cloud generally means lower IT costs, because you do not have to deploy a lot of expensive hardware and software on-site and it is scalable. In other words, you can easily expand or diminish your data storage capabilities as necessary. Most cloud services also feature automatic backups and updates.
These inherently great features do not necessarily guarantee you will get a good return on investment. To make the most of the cloud, you will need to identify and follow some best practices. Here are two to consider.
A carefully vetted provider
Moving from on-premises, server-based data storage to cloud-based data storage requires a different mindset. You’ll be unable to physically look at and touch a server box and say, “That is where my data is stored.”
This makes it critical to choose a cloud services provider you can trust and build a strong relationship with as a true business partner. Ask potential providers for the names of two or three of their clients you can speak with about issues such as level of security, responsiveness, and technological sophistication.
You need to pinpoint your recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives (that is, the most critical data points for your business) concerning the backup and recovery of your data in an emergency. Be sure you have clearly communicated these to your cloud services provider.
Your provider should be able to work with you on an individualized basis to ensure that your objectives will be met. You do not want to find out during a crisis that you have lost mission-critical data.
If you have not ventured into the cloud yet, give it some consideration. These services are becoming increasingly common. And if you have, be sure you are getting your money’s worth.