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Cloud computing offers many benefits, and minimum downtime is one of the best ones. Technology has enabled service providers to ensure that there is no stoppage of any kind. In fact, most companies are so confident about the capabilities of cloud that even the most lenient system administrator would account for a miserly 5 minutes downtime in a year. Users expect cloud services to run continuously without any disruption, and there is enough reason to back up such high expectations. However, minimal downtime is just one of the many critical parameters that you should look for when selecting a cloud service provider. The other equally important consideration is how much data security the company can offer.

Since data is critical for any business and is often very sensitive, data security is topmost in the minds of business owners when they select cloud services. How well service providers can offer data protection is a major concern. Most companies offer service level agreements (SLA) that define the deliverables regarding security protocols followed and available levels of uptime. However, this does not help to alleviate safety concerns because the protocol does not delineate the security measures taken to protect data that every user would like to know.

While the SLA might include compensation clause in case of security breach, it is more important to ensure that the breach does not occur at all. Asking pertinent questions about data safety is the best way to understand what kind of security you can expect from the service provider. Read on to know about the points to investigate when selecting service providers for cloud services New Jersey.

Data centers and data protection levels

Different service providers use various types of data centers depending on the users’ needs, security level, and the priorities of the service provider. You have to choose from four types of data centers such as Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4.

Tier 1 data center consists of non-redundant components, and there is only one link for its servers. It is similar to the file server that runs on a personal computer that does not have multiple connections to the internet and no redundancy, and neither does it have any heating or cooling system. It is only capable of running a program within a network.

Tier 2 data centers have all the features of Tier 1 with added redundant capacity components that protects data during drive failures. Besides including all features of Tier 2, Tier 3 data centers have multiple uplinks and dual powered equipment. Tier 4 data centers have the highest level of security which in addition to all the features of its predecessors have fault tolerant components that include servers, uplinks, storage, chillers and heating, air conditioning and ventilation that can ensure 99.999 percent uptime.

Service provider’s compliance certification

Many companies have to complywith various regulations and industry requirements and follow strict processes that the cloud service provider must be capable of supporting. Check if the service provider is capable of supporting your compliance needs by asking for certifications as proof of their capabilities. From SOX compliance to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards ( PCI DSS), and from  Health Information technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HiTECH) to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, companies have to fulfill several requirements.

Scrutinize the disaster recovery plan

Although companies may have their own data recovery strategies, and each of them may follow some methods of protecting data by arranging for suitable methods of backup, the role of the cloud service provider to protect data remains more relevant. You must find out what kind of disaster recovery plan they have so that you are aware of the location where the data is kept in case of any eventuality. Know about the location of the data centers to find out the protection method. Ask them to demonstrate how they back up data every day to ensure that they replicate data in several data centers to ensure business continuity.

Method of data isolation

Unlike traditional hosting service where you can physically segregate data from other servers and assign server specific security protections, it is not possible to physically separate data when using cloud services. However, you must know about the method of isolating your data from that of other clients by following virtual machine security so that other users with whom you share the server are not able to breach the defense. Storing data on different locations ensures that data is always accessible from some source when others fail.

Data encryption policy

Password protection is not enough to prevent hacking into stored data. A breach can also occur when transferring data, and the accepted practice of data protection is to adopt end-to-end data encryption by the cloud service provider. Find out if the service provider follows data encryption policies that ensure that the data is encrypted on the sender’s side and only the recipient has the key to decrypt it. Either the policy should allow you to encrypt data before sending it to the cloud with the key management responsibility resting on you or you can get it done by a third party provider.

Auditing and monitoring internal networks

You should be able to use your own tools to monitor and audit the cloud-based data, or in case the service provider does not agree to it, they must offer alternative services that would be satisfactory to you. Audit trails help to detect potential breaches, and the service provider must have written policies and procedures (SOP) about monitoring access by user and documenting it. It prevents unauthorized access to data and you are sure that only authorized persons use the data.

Besides enquiring on the above points, an inspection of the data center, if allowed by the cloud service provider, would bring more clarity.For your requirements in cloud services, log on to https://americantechpros.com/ to experience the most transparent procedures that would make you confident in dealing with the right people.