3 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Cloud Storage Provider [Guest Blog]

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In the latest installment of the HOSTING Guest Blog Series, we welcome Sarah Patrick of Clutch. Sarah shares her tips for evaluating cloud storage providers. Interested in sharing your cloud expertise with HOSTING readers? View our guest blog guidelines for more information.

The cloud is a blessing to small businesses looking to cut costs. On-site servers cost thousands of dollars upfront and even more over time, with maintenance and electricity expenses. Connecting to another server through the Cloud allows you to trade in those expenses for a more affordable access fee.

For small business data storage needs, it is clear that the Cloud is the way to go. The only question is, which of the many cloud storage service providers is best for your small business needs?

Not all Cloud providers are equal. While HOSTING, Dropbox, Box, Amazon Cloud Drive, GoogleDrive, Microsoft OneDrive, and iCloud, to name a few, enable basically the same capabilities, there are distinct differences that likely make one a better fit than the others.

So, how do you select the best possible service for your small business? Here are three questions to ask when identifying the cloud storage service that is right for your business.

1) What tasks would my small business use cloud storage to complete?

Before committing to a cloud storage provider, it is necessary to prioritize the tasks that cloud storage could make more efficient and less costly for your business.

Many small businesses initially embrace cloud storage due to its file backup capabilities. Prioritizing file backup makes reliability an important feature for small businesses to consider.

Perusing comprehensive client reviews and ratings of various cloud storage providers will help small businesses home in on the traits and features that make a specific service more reliable than the other.

Other characteristics to consider include specialized capabilities, such as allowing users to display files for uninstalled, and customer satisfaction ratings.

2) Does adopting cloud storage require compliance?

For the 61 percent of small businesses functioning in an industry that requires compliance such as HIPAA for healthcare and PCI for companies that accept credit cards, security is a top priority.

Violating compliance standards can lead to costly consequences. For example, if a hospital’s security is breached and protected health information (PHI) is compromised, it could face up to $1.5 million per violation in HIPAA fines, in addition to potential legal fees from a class action lawsuit.

Last year, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center faced a record-breaking $4.8 million HIPAA fine, and a couple months ago, Cancer Care Group, one of the country’s biggest radiation oncology practices, paid a $750,000 HIPAA fine after widespread non-compliance was discovered.

Avoiding these regulatory nightmares requires a cloud solution that can keep your data secure.

3) How much does data cost? How easy is it to alter the data plan?

While many small businesses may be able to use a free plan for cloud storage at first, if growth is a goal, it is important to understand the prices associated with expanding your data needs.

Small businesses can evaluate a cloud storage provider based on the amount of free storage space it offers. On the other hand, if business slows, it does not make sense to pay for unused storage space. In this scenario, the ease with which the cloud storage provider allows a user to adjust its data price plan is important to consider when selecting a service.

Careful consideration of these three factors – prioritization of tasks, need for compliance to a standard, and cost of data –  will facilitate the selection of a cloud storage service that is the right for your business needs.

Considering cloud storage? HOSTING can help. Our team of certified cloud experts can help you understand your options and select the right managed cloud storage provider for your business. Contact us anytime to discuss your specific needs with a certified cloud professional.

About the author

Sarah is an analyst at Clutch. As a member of the marketing team, she conducts research that aims to help businesses and consumers select and use IT services and software. Clutch is a Washington, DC-based research, reviews, and ratings platform for B2B. It identifies leading software and professional services firms that deliver results for their clients.

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