Four Things to Consider when Choosing a Cloud Hosting Service

As your company continues to grow, its needs evolve. This is a normal and expected part of business. Unfortunately, it can also be quite costly. Your IT resources will likely be among your most costly areas of internal support. You’ll need to invest in staffing, hardware, software, and training for your employees should they be using uncommon solutions such as a custom CRM or bookkeeping solution. Perhaps one of the greatest advantages to come along in the past fifteen years has been the proliferation of cloud-based services. Not only are consumers taking advantage of these resources which greatly reduce the strain on local machines, but business as well are benefitting in a number of ways from the added security, accessibility, and budgetary advantages of offloading some processes to the cloud. Unfortunately, not every cloud hosting provider operates equally. Some cut corners where they really shouldn’t, and others might be slow to respond to issues. You need to search for a provider that is there when you need it and available to help your business regardless of the time of day. Here are four things to consider when choosing a cloud hosting service.

Cost

Let’s face it, every business has to operate at a profit. Even non-profit organizations have to keep their numbers out of the red as much as possible or face potentially having to shut down. With any company, big or small, you have to take costs into close consideration with any expenditure. The choice to forego local servers and infrastructure in favor of a leaner and more comprehensive cloud solution is often a very cost-efficient move. There are, however, some business out there that make a great deal of profit by inserting hidden fees and other unnecessary costs to what appears on paper to be a reasonable hosting plan. Pay close attention to what you’re paying for, and ask all the important questions of the sales representative before agreeing to a contract. While you generally get what you pay for, sometimes what you end up paying more for is runaround. At HarborCloud, we tailor pricing to meet the needs of an individual business. This helps customers avoid falling into the overpriced one-size-fits-all solution many providers push on their clients. You are able to ask and receive clear answers to each one of your questions form a live representative prior to making a commitment.

Flexibility

Let’s say you sign on with a provider only to discover that your original agreement isn’t enough to cover the needs of your business. Do you pay an arm and a leg for the next step up? Do you suffer through an inefficient solution today that was initially intended for your company as it existed yesterday? Flexibility means being able to add and remove users in minutes rather than days and reconfigure your service to meet your needs as and when they present themselves. Some businesses spend years at a plateau before suddenly growing twofold in a matter of weeks. It happens, and you should be penalized for experiencing growth. If you need to add or remove applications to an existing account, this shouldn’t be a difficult process. A single phone call is all it should take to get your company up and running with minimal setup or hassle required. Scalability is an essential benefit to moving your applications to the cloud, and your provider should be able to promise continued support regardless of your organization’s growth or usage.

Reliability

Does the hosting provider guarantee a certain amount of uptime? What does that provider do for you when it goes down for hours, or even days? HarborCloud promises 99.9% uptime to its customers, and that’s not a promise many cloud providers are willing to make. Your cloud-based applications should be available to you any time of any day throughout the year. If you need to log in and make adjustments at 12:01am on New Year’s Day, it should be there for you. Modern businesses don’t always run on the same schedule as their IT department, and you should expect the best from a service that focuses entirely on making your data available when and where you need it. Should something go wrong, a good cloud provider has trained IT professionals available around the clock to resolve any issue as it occurs. After all, this is why you opt to bring your applications to the cloud in the first place. You should have a hassle-free IT experience during any time, day or night.

Technology

Anyone can set up a server and claim to have a great cloud solution. The difference is in the technology these companies use to back their product. Do they stick to any standards or utilize and industry-leading platforms to make life easier for the customer? Do you have to jump through hoops just to sign in to your account and get to work? At HarborCloud, we’re proud to partner with Citrix to make XenApp 6.0 available to our customers. This is the most expensive solution a provider can use, and it’s coupled with some of the best HP Blade Servers you’ll find in any data center today. Not all providers offer the same platform, and you should expect quick and easy access to your applications from any workstation or system you need to. A comprehensive cloud solution means having excellent software and hardware available to you no matter how big or small your account might be. Cloud-based applications only work if they respond as quickly as locally hosted ones. The cloud should put your company at an advantage, and that can only happen of the company providing your service is willing to put in the work to do so.