So many small businesses realize how useful cloud technology is for them and they want to learn how to choose the very best cloud service provider. Unfortunately, in most cases the review done of the service providers and especially their security practices is not at all comprehensive. This is a huge mistake.

You want to be 100% sure that the cloud deal you sign is one that guarantees data security and that offers the services and features you are interested in. You would not gain much if you get layer 7 load balancing or other advanced features and security is not guaranteed. Always choose based on the following aspects to locate a service provider with proper technical expertise that you can trust.

As you focus on analyzing what the service provider gives you, be sure that you look at these seven features:

  1. Risk management, planning, governance and organization – Considered service providers need to have a good management structure that includes formalized analysis processes and risk management strategies should always be in place.
  2. Documented procedures and policies – Cloud service providers have to include these and review them and/or update them annually. Also, employees should go through formalized training in order to be up-to-date with all industry technology changes.
  3. Logical security – The only way in which access should be allowed has to be done through established procedures and policies, all while making it easy to reassign or terminate employees that would have to get revoked access. Offered control should be available for remote and internal access. Also, administrator IDs have to be managed based on a proper documented policy, highlighting specific rules for physical and virtual access to stored data.
  4. Data integrity – Cloud service providers have to always prove that enough IT security procedures and policies are in place and that they effectively operate. Procedures and policies need to be communicated, approved, updated and reviewed every single year or more. That does include retention policies and data backups.
  5. Environmental And Physical Security – Physical IT asset access should be properly handled so documented policies need to be in place. Security controls have to exist at all facilities. This does include on-site security, CCTV, card key access and everything else that might be added. Physical access for the co-location hardware that is maintained at owned facilities is also necessary. Environmental safeguards are also highly recommended for data centers and NOC.
  6. Service Level Agreements – Cloud service providers need to be able to highlight that SLAs are used with clients and that enough control is in place in order to monitor and track all services offered. Controls put in place need to easily track all modifications happening for the setup of the client.
  7. Financial health – Last but not least, a good cloud service provider has to prove that it is currently in a healthy and stable financial situation. Demonstrated profitability is a must in the last 6 months or there should be at least enough capital in place to prove that stability exists even if profitability is absent.

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