1. Where will my data be located?
Your information should be stored in several locations with instant failover in areas remote from your own location so it’s not subject to the same regional risks as your company. While a provider should not disclose the exact physical location of their data center, the organization should be able to assure you your data is safe with general information of that nature.
2. Are you sharing hardware resources between clients?
You want to know whether your processing is being dedicated just to you, or if it’s being shared out among all the provider’s customers.
3. What are the specs of the data center you operate out of?
This would include physical and electronic security measures, redundancies, and so on. You don’t want to experience outages or security failures.
4. How much Internet bandwidth is needed for the solution to perform correctly?
This is one of the most crucial questions to ask — and you want to make sure you know the figure per user. You’ll also want to check with your Internet service provider to know both your upload download speeds. Slow speeds and limited functionality should not be a challenge.
5. Is my data automatically redundant across multiple data centers?
This will give you a strong idea of their backup and security procedures and their ability to recover from a total data center loss.
6. What is the recovery time if the systems hosting my data are completely destroyed?
Don’t forget to ask what kind of secondary backups they have, how often they’re made, and how often they’re tested.
7. Do you have documented data security policies?
Knowing what kind of formal security policies they have in place will give you an idea of how secure your data is from the provider’s own staff. It’s not uncommon for a client to ask for a SOC report.
8. What is the average total downtime for the services I’m subscribing to?
They should be able to tell you how often during a particular period of time — annually, over three years, over five years, etc. — their services are unavailable. It should be a relatively low percentage.
9. Do you outsource your help desk?
Is it offshore? Outsourced? Will it give you the support you need on the schedule you need? Obtaining your cloud services through a knowledgeable local company that provides the work themselves and with more than one certified network engineer is ideal.