Today even small businesses are working out of multiple locations all over the globe. It’s never been easier or more efficient. Gone are the days of needing your own expensive hardware and expert IT team to keep it running smoothly because now your team can use the cloud.

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The Cloud enables a team member in the Philippines to access the same files and information updated and created earlier in the day by a team member in the Netherlands. Both team members provide details of their progress for the other and for you to review across multiple time zones and thousands of miles.

With cloud computing’s increasing popularity there is a sizeable cadre of cloud computing service providers for your specific need. With that in mind we have put together a list of the most important questions you’ll want to ask a cloud computing service provider before moving onto their service.

1. How can my team get to their files on the cloud?

Your company will be assigned a specific url or path via an app where they will each be assigned a specific username and password. If that information is entered correctly your team members will be able to access their specific files 24/7/365 from anywhere in the world on any device.

2. What is the process of creating a cloud account?

Typically, you’ll be directed to your dashboard where you will start creating accounts for your team. Some service providers will have a representative help you go through the setup process while others will provide you with a link to a “How To” page or maybe a video. If you are not tech savvy you will get a better use out of a service that helps you set things up allowing you to ask questions along the way.

3. How reliable is your service?

Nobody likes being shut out from their work. Cloud outages are frustrating, costly and a reality of the technology. If you encounter a service provider who tells you that they are “never down” go to the next name on your list. Reputable firms will post their history online.

Nobody likes being shut out from their work

4. Can I get more cloud space as my business grows?

As your business grows the amount of storage and space you need will also increase. Make sure the provider you choose will allow you to add space and user accounts. Find out what the charges are for additional storage space.

5. What if the unthinkable happen: a crash, data loss, etc.?

Most businesses who are considering a cloud computing service provider are expecting their data to be safe. Rightly so. But what if your cloud provider somehow deletes or loses your data. How will they right the wrong? Be certain to ask them for their policy regarding data losses in writing. Will they compensate you for losses? What backups does the company have in place to reduce risk? Don’t be afraid to ask or think you are asking something out of line. Be direct and find out if the company has ever encountered such a situation and how it was resolved.

6. What security measures do you take?

You only need to look at the news and headlines to know that security is a major concern for storing your data. Any reputable company has several security measures in place that are standard to their operation including security audits, anti-virus protections, firewalls, encryption and the authentication process.

7. Who at the company will have access to your data?

It is not uncommon for a cloud provider to also have access to your files. Because of that it is important to know who they employ and what kind of background check they implement to protect their clients.

It is necessary to ask the questions and get the answers so you can make the best decision regarding a cloud computing service provider.