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Published on August 30th, 2012 | by John I.

Tips for Choosing a Cloud Computing Vendor

More small businesses are turning towards cloud computing as a solution to reduce costs, improve scalability and improve customer response time. However, most businesses have no idea how to go about launching a cloud computing system. If you feel your business can benefit from cloud computing services, you should consider hiring a vendor.

Make Sure the Systems Are Compatible

Many cloud computing vendors don’t offer solutions that are compatible with your current IT infrastructure. Make sure that you have a good idea of what kind of solutions you are looking for and how easily they can be integrated with your existing technology.

Location

Where is the vendor located? The best cloud computing vendors are still located in the United States, although vendors in Europe and Asia are becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, you should also consider the location of your vendor relative to where your servers are located. Communications can be delayed if your vendor is located on the other side of the world. If your servers are located in Asia, then a vendor in India or Hong Kong might be a better fit than a vendor in the United States.

Make sure you understand the risks associated with transferring data through the cloud. If you are transferring data between continents, then any number of physical problems could interfere with communication. Data can only travel so fast and cables may be damaged or disrupted. Several undersea cables have been lost which in the past year, which demonstrates the risks of exchanging data between Europe, Asia and the Americas. You will probably be safer if you choose a cloud company based in your own continent.

Understand Pricing Structure

Cloud computing may be more affordable than many of your alternative solutions, but you will still need to pay for it. Make sure you fully understand the pricing model of the vendor you are working with. Some vendors won’t charge for their basic services, but can charge hefty fees for additional features.

Make sure you know what features you need (such as the number of users and the amount of storage space you will be using). Some vendors may be cheaper if you are looking for a more basic plan. However, they make most of their money off the backs of their larger customers. As you send out inquiries, make sure you tell each vendor exactly what you are looking for so you can receive an accurate quote.

Quality of Service

Many people turn to cloud computing as a tool to save money. Although choosing a discounted company could be a great way to cut costs, you shouldn’t base you decision on cost alone. Consider how scalable the services are and what benefits they can provide.

You should also understand the terms of the contract and what they intend to offer you. Know what they can guarantee in terms of how long the servers will be up for or what other promises they can make.

There are plenty of cloud computing companies to choose from. Make sure that you understand the factors that you go into choosing a good vendor, because they aren’t created equally.

Kalen Smith is a technology and entrepreneurship writer with Trend Micro. He writes on Why Trend Micro provides various cloud solutions for its clients.



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