When considering locating some or all of your data and applications in ‘the Cloud’, there are a number of questions you should ask of any particular provider or solution.
Security and Data Protection
You must give consideration to how and where your data will be stored when you move to ‘the Cloud’. Some of the questions you need to be asking are:
- Where, geographically, is my data located?
- Is it stored entirely within Australia?
- Who will have access to my data? Some US companies for example may be legally required to provide access to your data even when stored in Australia.
- Do they have a breach reporting policy?
- What kind and what levels of data redundancy do they provide?
- How is my data backed up, and how to I get access to those backups?
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Service providers should provide you with a Service Level Agreement backed by financial penalties for them if they fail to meet the requirements of the SLA.
Ask for a copy of the SLA and pay attention to things like:
- What is their guaranteed uptime? How is uptime calculated? A provider offering 99.95% uptime is still allowed to have services unavailable (not including maintenance) for 22 minutes per month without breaching the SLA.
- What are the penalties and what is the SLA claim process?
- What kinds of events are excluded from SLAs?
- What are the hours of support offered by the service provider?
- How do you access support? E.g. telephone, email, web form etc.
- What are their response and restoration times?
- Do they have a documented escalation process if you are not satisfied with the level of support you are receiving?
You also need to consider your responsibilities under Australian legislation in areas like privacy, archiving and perhaps even taxation.
Some types of organisations have legal requirements around the location of data depending on their classification under the Privacy Act.
Also, consider that some service providers, especially foreign owned ones may have legislative requirements imposed on them by their own governments that may impact the security and privacy of your data.
Microsolve is Here to Help you
Microsolve has many years of experience in delivering secure and highly available hosted services to a wide range of customers all over Australia. Additionally we have helped a number of organisations to understand their requirements for successfully moving to ‘the Cloud’.
Microsolve is Australian owned and operated; our facilities and support teams are all located here in Australia so we are able to address many of the concerns that may have been raised in this article.
We would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how we can help you on your cloud journey – whether you are just starting out or are well established in ‘the Cloud’, we know we can offer value to your organisation and help you on this exciting path.
In this four-part series we will look at:
- Introducing ‘the Cloud’
- How is ‘the Cloud’ delivered?
- Why go ‘the Cloud’?
- Questions to ask about ‘the Cloud’