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What Small Business Owners Should Know About Cloud Hosting

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Web Hosting Geek

Although there continues to be a lot of buzz surrounding the benefits of cloud hosting, Amazon’s recent cloud outage rattled nerves and left many business owners that depend on cloud hosting platforms to support online ventures very apprehensive.  With popular sites such as Reddit, Quora and HootSuite being knocked offline during the cloud outage, Amazon definitely suffered the consequences of the unpredictable outage, however was able to recover.  It’s vital for businesses depending on cloud hosting services such as those offered by Amazon to take a pragmatic stance and understand the cons of cloud hosting that are intertwined with the pros.

Attentiveness to Cloud Hosting

While many in the web hosting industry swear that cloud hosting is the next best thing since sliced bread, the simple truth is that the hosting environment isn’t fail proof.  Although cloud hosting tends to be more reliable and offer impeccable redundancy rates, business owners need to take into consideration that it’s not an immaculate hosting solution.

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In the case of Amazon’s cloud outage, business owners utilizing the cloud services failed to take advantage of the provider’s geographic redundancy, which otherwise would have prevented valuable downtime as a direct result from Amazon’s outage.   It’s essential for business owners opting for cloud services to always remain attentive to new and existing features offered by the provider as well as monitoring network uptime to prepare contingency plans if the server(s) goes down.

 Ensuring Compliance

Cloud hosting providers are not exempt from adhering to specific compliance requirements.  This is especially true for those businesses that handle sensitive data such as credit card information, medical records, or financial transactions.  Providers are entirely responsible for the unambiguous regulations that govern specific data.  For example, a cloud provider hosting confidential software should have the appropriate certification verifying their respective systems meet the necessary requirements.  Ensuring compliance isn’t option; it’s mandatory.

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Criteria Checklist

It’s particularly important for small business owners to create a checklist of specific criteria that their cloud hosting provider should meet.  Such criteria should be based on server reliability, security, and compliance.  Also, it’s imperative to have a contingency plan devised in the event of an unforeseeable outage.  Developing a backup plan is vital for those sites that depend on online sales as a source of income.  For business owners considering moving physical infrastructure to a cloud platform, it’s recommended to opt for a provider with more than one data center in the case of natural disaster as well as human error.

Negotiating Service Agreements

As tantalizing as it may sound, cloud providers can’t guarantee that their service won’t go down at any given time.  Usually such alluring appeals are found nestled deep within the service agreement detailing the provider’s level of service.  Many business owners are duped into signing the agreement under the terms of minimal penalties applicable for downtime on behalf of the provider.  This means a server could be down for an indefinite amount of time with no reimbursement of lost sales; therefore, it’s essential to negotiate the terms of the agreement to allow for credit or free service if the provider fails to deliver hosting services for an extended amount of time.  Remember to get it in writing; otherwise it’s a lost cause.

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Predicted Market Saturation

As with the infinite number of shared hosting providers saturating the market and devouring competition, expect the same growth forecast among cloud providers.  With the growing number of cloud providers, choosing one that best accommodates hosting needs is becoming more difficult with all of the available choices.

Small business owners should do their homework before selecting a cloud provider to secure a host that meets, or exceeds, all of the criteria on their checklists to ensure the best cloud services to meet a diverse array of needs.


1 Comment

  • Avatar edward ugowe says:

    Dear Sir,

    TechieLab is a newly established mobile solutions company based in Nigeria. Our vision is to become a leading distributor of both mobile content and mobile downloads (audio and video) to customers in Nigeria.

    We need a mobile solutions provider that can host our content and provide us with the technical support to give our customers the ability to download our content after they have paid for it.
    We currently have an array of content, and we could be up and running in a couple of weeks once the solution you propose is suitable. Please advise us on what solutions and services your organization can provide with regards to our business case.

    Thank you.

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