Technology can be complex, and there is little point in pretending otherwise.  It is a principal reason why businesses seek out cloud computing in the first place.  They look to add external IT expertise that they would otherwise lack.  Furthermore, a successful cloud strategy depends on a regular stream of clear, relevant dialogue between user and cloud vendor.  The two parties will be consistently working in tandem, so a relationship based on mutual understanding is crucial.  When meeting with IT specialists, however, it can be difficult for business executives to know which issues are the most vital, especially if the cloud expertise within that business is minimal.  Therefore, what are the most important questions that a business should address to make the association work best?

1. What Cloud Services Do You Actually Provide?

This question is not as open as it may initially seem.  It is important to establish the nature of the cloud vendor’s offering, because cloud comes in numerous varieties.  There is, for example, a clear distinction between the “public,” “private” and “hybrid” versions of cloud.  These terms refer to the different properties that a cloud platform can offer, in terms of striking the balance between cybersecurity and access to cloud-based applications.  A cloud provider worth their salt should be able to spin up any of the three.  However, it is up to the user to decide which suits them.

Businesses should also appreciate the difference between hosted IT and the True Cloud, a defining feature of any cloud vendor.  True Cloud offers a faster upgrade process, more reliable uptime, less reliable security, scalable capacity and a flexible application platform.

2. How Secure Is Your Cloud?

This issue will naturally not be far from any business’ mind when considering cloud computing.  Can the new network replicate, or improve on, the protections surrounding onsite servers?  The answer your cloud vendor gives should be unequivocal.  Cloud security should actively improve upon the systems affiliated to onsite servers.  The principle underpinning this is that your potential hacker should not know where your cloud desktop is hedged, and therefore be unable to locate or touch it.

Furthermore, it is sensible to question which Privacy-Enhancing Technologies (PETs) the cloud vendor employs to reinforce standard firewell software.  The principal example of these is encryption, whereby your data is converted into cipher-texts that hackers struggle to decode.

3. What Happens In The Event Of Data Loss?

Of course, no physical server is immune to glitches.  The cloud solution should eliminate server usage on a business’ premises, meaning that access to data will not be compromised by hardware damage.  A business should press their cloud vendor on disaster recovery procedures.  Replicating and backing up data is a crucial factor.  Does the desktop record snapshots?  These are regular scans of the system.  In the event of an attack, the desktop can be easily restored to the last known clean record.  This also allows technicians to date and locate the origin of the threat.

4. What Is Your Pricing Strategy?

Many cloud vendors will attempt to tie their users into multi-year contracts, often in tandem with some standardised application package.  This is unnecessary.  If a vendor has to rely on the small print of a contract clause to keep its clients, it is probably in the wrong business.  The best providers will, as should be standard industry practice, offer a pay-as-you-go structure.  This ensures you never pay for capacity or uptime you do not use, or applications you do not require.

5. Who Will Set Up The System?

The cloud solution should be designed as a bespoke product.  Worthwhile cloud vendors will build these solutions according to an initial consultancy phase – even spending a period working in your business’ office if necessary.  That consultant, along with the service engineer team, should steer the project to completion.  The key to this is communication; your business should have a concerted, fixed point of contact with the vendor.  It is their job to hold your hand and guide through the implementation.

Following that, the vendor should have an education initiative to guide users through the individual installation and log-in process.  This may come in personal, written or video form, but it should be far-ranging and cover all likely queries.

6. What Customer Support Do You Offer?

This is always important, though becomes even more so if your business is a small or medium-sized enterprise.  What level of regular technical support do the cloud vendor’s engineers offer?  You will need this if you wish to add more layers of security, scale up short-term cloud storage, add new applications to the platform or restore the system in the event of network downtime.  Perhaps you will need to rely on them fully, or require them to work with your own in-house IT staff.  It should not matter; the best cloud vendors will construct their operations around your requirements, not the other way round.

7. Can Your Cloud Scale Up To Meet Future Business Requirements?

This is a crucial property of the True Cloud, and the key to ensuring that the cloud solution is a long-term solution.  It is unreasonable to expect the modern business owner to know precisely how many employees they will have in years to come.  For the cloud solution to be good value, it must have a truly scalable capacity.  This saves regular expenses on replacing and improving existing hardware, and allows businesses to efficiently add new users to the company network.  That means that, in short, it provides a technical platform to support commercial growth, far into the future.

 

By clarifying these questions at the start of consultancy with the cloud vendor, businesses can ensure a smooth and fruitful transition to a remote desktop.  This gives workers the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world, through any device, in addition to the advantages described above.  Collaborating, communicating: these are the keys to making the cloud work.

 

 

Viastak work with official partners Amazon Web Services and Citrix to deliver a secure, True Cloud desktop, both in the UK and overseas.  We have an exemplary track record in granting businesses the power to streamline their regular practices through the use of cutting-edge technology.  To find out more, please get in touch.