If you’re a business person in Chicago, you understand the numerous decisions you have to make to propel the growth of your enterprise. One of the critical decisions you have to make has to do with IT and how to ensure that the information or data that your business generates is stored in a secure manner. An effective way to do this is leveraging cloud technology.
In simple terms, cloud computing involves storing, processing, and managing data through a network of servers that are remotely hosted on the Internet. Hosted cloud hosting solutions have gained traction in the business world due to the enormous capacity and considerable security and savings that they offer companies.
When looking for a hosted cloud solution provider in Chicago, there are several factors that you’ll need to assess carefully because picking the wrong provider is not just annoying; it’s also costly for the business.
Below, explore five important tips to help you find the best hosted cloud solution provider in Chicago:
- Be Clear On What You Need
One of the mistakes that businesses make is to research on cloud hosting providers without knowing exactly what they need. Hosted cloud solutions are designed to meet different needs. For instance, there are solutions for cloud-based collaborations like G-Suite, cloud-based CRM like Salesforce, and file storage solutions like Amazon Web Services or Dropbox. There are solutions that support cloud-based apps like Microsoft Azure’s App Service as well. It’s, therefore, important to clarify what you need before you start considering the options available. This will enable you to narrow your search to providers that offer the kind of solutions you’re looking for.
- Pay Attention To The Pricing Model
One of the benefits that hosted cloud-based solutions offer businesses is cost-effectiveness. However, cloud service providers will have varying pricing structures. When searching for a hosted cloud solution provider, opt for those that offer pay-as-you-go plans. This kind of pricing structure enables you to pay just for what you need. This will minimize your cost and reduce wastage because you won’t spend on services that you don’t need. As you search for cloud service providers, be wary of companies that ask you to make large payments upfront.
- Evaluate The Customer Support
Due to the important role that cloud solutions play in storing data, fostering collaboration, and running applications for businesses, provision of technical support is a critical factor to consider. Opt for a hosted cloud solution provider that offers technical support round the clock via different channels, including live chats, phone, and email.
A great way to determine the quality of customer support you can expect from cloud service providers is reading online reviews. Getting a hosted cloud solution provider that offers great customer support like Ntiva will ensure you have a less stressful experience in using the service.
- Check For Cloud Backup
Cloud backup is among the key things any cloud user should consider when looking for a cloud service provider. This is critical because every business holds plenty of valuable data in its server or computer system. As such, businesses need to ensure that they have a backup version in the cloud in case they lose the information they have in their computers.
Even so, backing up business data on the cloud isn’t just for companies that have on-premise data centers. Businesses can store their files in the cloud or even run apps from the cloud. Ideally, opt for a cloud solution that provides enough storage to allow routine backing up of images and files. This guarantees you that in case of any data losses, your business will quickly access the backups and bounce back immediately.
- Consider The Security Of Cloud Solution
When looking for a hosted cloud solution, you need to look at the security measures the provider has put in place to keep your files safe. This is particularly important if you plan to store sensitive data and documents. Remember that you’ll be trusting a third party with your information. This exposes you to significant risk, and it’s important that you develop a good relationship with the service providers prior to utilizing their cloud solution.
The best way to determine how secure a cloud solution is to check its data encryption and user authentication policies as well as its security certifications. In addition, consider checking the regulatory requirements and laws on customer data in your industry to see whether the cloud solution provider you’re considering complies with those requirements.
- Take A Look At Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
The SLAs are agreements between cloud service providers and customers. They often set out the service expectations for customers. When looking for a cloud service provider, it’s important to read the SLA while paying attention to critical service aspects like security practices that the provider upholds and how the provider handles outages, downtimes, and data losses.
- Review Service Information
A good sign that a hosted cloud solution provider offers a service that’s easy-to-use is making information about its service available on its website. For instance, a company can provide useful content to enlighten business users and admins on how its service works by publishing guides, service descriptions, and a help center. With this information, service providers reduce the stress that customers may experience getting started with their cloud-based solutions as well as troubleshooting the issues they may experience from time to time.
- Leverage Free Trials
Before you settle down on a hosted cloud solution provider, you want to test the service and get a feel of what it’s like. The best way to do this is to make use of a free trial version. Doing this enables you to determine whether a cloud solution provider is a good fit for your business or not.
- Consider Load Balancing and Scalability
In cloud hosting, servers can get overwhelmed due to load surges from customers. This leads to downtimes that have the potential to affect your business significantly. You want to utilize a cloud hosting provider that has minimal to zero downtime to avoid being inconvenienced. When evaluating cloud solution providers, it’s important to check how the company balances loads.
One way to tell that a cloud hosting company has a way of balancing load and minimizing downtimes is to find out whether it has complete backup servers to redirect load. In addition to load balancing, it’s important that you consider whether a cloud hosting solution allows customers to scale server capacity whenever they need to. Opt for a provider that offers you extra capacity in case you experience a traffic spike or need additional storage space.
- Talk To Referrals
Even as you read online reviews, it’s important to talk to people who are using cloud-based solutions offered by providers that you’re considering. Asking referrals about their hosting experiences with cloud hosting providers can provide additional insights on what to expect. Additionally, check social media and online community postings to see what customers are saying about the different hosting providers in Chicago. Such platforms can serve as great spaces for identifying referrals to talk to. As you engage referrals, ensure that you ask them for independent recommendations as well as negative experiences they’ve had with providers to guide your decision.
How Does A Hosted Cloud Solution Benefit Your Business?
Cloud technology offers businesses a wide range of benefits including:
Businesses that want to adopt new technology want to use solutions that offer them a good return on investment and value for money. This is precisely what cloud hosting solutions offer businesses. Compared with conventional servers, cloud-based solutions are much cheaper. The cost of using cloud-based technology is far less because businesses don’t have to buy the hardware. This means they don’t incur additional costs like space, power, air-conditioning, maintenance, and physical security.
Cloud-based solutions are easier and cheaper to scale than the traditional server-based solutions. If your business has its own data center that it wishes to expand, it’ll have to invest in the purchase and installation of new servers. While this can be a viable investment in the long run, it can be costly if the need is short-term. Cloud computing comes with an in-built scalability option. If your business requires additional resources due to increased web traffic that was not anticipated, you can increase your hosting capacity instantly. You can also reduce this capacity instantly if there’s a reduction in web traffic after a few days or weeks.
When you use cloud computing, your business is only charged for the resources it uses. If you require additional resources for a short while then you revert to your original capacity, you’ll only be charged for the extra capacity used. Better still, you’re not forced to upgrade to a higher package permanently or get a new server to meet your short-term expansion needs.
- Competitive Advantage
Cloud computing is deployed instantly. This means businesses that leverage this technology are able to access any information stored only instantly. This gives them an edge over their competitors which use ordinary server technology. Cloud solutions are also easier to scale. This levels the playing field for small businesses that are often disadvantaged by big companies that have greater in-house data centers.
- Zero Downtime
As businesses rely on applications to run their operations, experiencing downtime can have a negative impact on them. Server failures can halt operations and result in significant losses. Designed to deliver consistent and predictable performance with zero downtime, cloud hosting solves this problem effectively. This works well because users are hosted in virtual computers that can be migrated between servers whenever a problem arises. This hyper-converged design keeps businesses from experiencing downtime as a result of server or hard disk failure, paving the way for critical applications to run throughout.
Cloud technology also offers businesses unmatched speeds. Because cloud service providers are continually updating their technology, customers are able to access high-performance servers that are powered by superfast SSD drives and powerful CPUs. In addition, cloud technology uses load balancing to route customer requests. This maximizes capacity utilization and speed by ensuring that no server experiences performance problems.
- Heightened Security
Cloud service providers have to comply with various security regulations on customer data protection. These include utilization of robust firewall technologies that come with in-flow virus protection and systems for preventing intrusion. These features are able to detect as well as isolate security threats before they can reach cloud servers. As such, cloud hosting offers better data security than conventional servers. As such, businesses are protected against security threats such as internal data theft, virus infection, and hacking.
- Greater Flexibility
Businesses that utilize cloud hosting enjoy greater flexibility in the way their employees work. Aa an Internet-based solution, cloud technology allows staff to access files from anywhere at any time. This enables them to either work from the office or remotely. Employees are able to use web-enabled devices like laptops and smartphones to access company systems and collaborate with others real-time through virtual conferencing and synchronized file sharing. Increasingly, many companies are utilizing cloud technology to provide employees with flexible working conditions and reduce costs related to office space and expenditures.
When you are looking to find the best hosted cloud solution provider in Chicago, you want a service that works efficiently and saves you money. Cloud-based solutions are ideal for business because they require minimal expenditure in terms of installing servers physically in the office. The solutions are highly accessible because of their online nature. This means data, files, and applications can be accessed by authorized individuals anytime and from anywhere via the Internet.
Hosted cloud solutions are also easy to scale – you can increase your hosting space to meet your business growth needs without much hassle. The seven tips discussed above can help you find the best hosted cloud solution provider in Chicago. Run your options through each of them and pick a provider that best suits your business needs.