While some critics would have you believe otherwise, cloud computing is not a fad. It is here for the long haul. Odds are, your business is already using cloud services without realizing it. However, many businesses start using cloud services without having an adequate understanding of their data needs, budgetary resources or the ability of a specific cloud provider to meet business needs. Let’s dive into some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your data by using cloud-based services.

Cloud Computing Tips and Tricks for Businesses

  1. Assess Your Data Needs – The great thing about cloud service providers – whether you’re using software, storage or infrastructural resources – is that you only have to pay for what you need. For instance, if you’re a small business, odds are you’re not going to need an enterprise-level storage cap. Assess your real day-to-day data needs and seek out an adequate amount of cloud storage.
  2. Budget Carefully – Consult with your IT staff, or a cloud-computing consultant on some specific budgetary needs. Again, this goes back to not getting more than you need.
  3. Get a Handle on Your Data – Once you have a cloud storage service in place, get a handle on your data. This means knowing exactly where your data lives in the cloud. If you have multiple cloud services in place, make sure you have a system in place for knowing what data is stored in each service.
  4. Find a Cloud Hosting Provider – Find a reputable cloud-hosting provider. Cloud hosting gives you the power to host and manage your virtual machines (VMs) in the cloud. You can even run and operate your Microsoft SharePoint in the cloud. That is, you can have the benefits of SharePoint without all the backend administration costs.
  5. Public or Private Cloud – This is something you’ll need to decide early on. There is no shortage of convincing arguments on either side of this debate, and make no mistake, this will be a debate in your IT department.
  6. Backup Everything – While this seems like a no-brainer, many small to medium sized businesses overlook the need for third-party backups. The bottom line is you can’t predict when a data disaster will strike. Ensure you have a third-party backup system in place, and that you can recover those backups in a timely manner.
  7. Take Security Seriously – Security is the issue du jour in the cloud computing and IT circles all over the world. With the rise of data breaches in recent years, your company will need to have a security policy in place. With that security policy, make sure your cloud provider’s data centers have high levels of security and data encryption.
  8. Research Cloud Service Providers Before You Commit – Not all cloud service providers are created equally. Do a good amount of research before choosing a cloud provider. Just as you would with a potential employee candidate, get some client references from the company. You should also get some real-world data that proves their ability to handle your data needs.
  9. Ensure Your Provider Offers High Availability – High availability is also a crucial aspect of any cloud implementation plan. No company of any size can afford any amount of downtime. Get some background information on the cloud computing provider’s history with downtime and high availability. Get some guarantees in place.
  10. Test, Retest & Test Again – Lastly, once you have you cloud computing services test everything before you go live with all of your hosted data. Be as thorough as possible. Test multiple times, if needed.

Make the Cloud Work for You

In short, know your data, research potential cloud service providers, back up all of your data offsite, budget wisely and test your cloud solutions before you deploy them. The reason why some businesses experience trouble in the early stages of cloud implementation is because they don’t do the legwork. Work smart.