So everyone is bringing their smartphones and tablets into work, and looking for ways to access their work files. You’ve finally decided it is time to utilize cloud services to provide your company with an anywhere access solution, and just about every service seem to offer the same promises: mobile access, sync, and easy sharing. But some of the recent news about consumer cloud security fails might make you weary. Security and control are still important, and there’s more on your checklist before you can implement a solution in your company.
Here is a list of questions for you to consider or ask your vendor when you are evaluating:
1. Where’s your data?
Your users login to the service to upload files… do you know where they are going? For example, Dropbox and many others use Amazon S3 for storage. Is it important for you where your data is stored? If you’re not in the United States, does your country have specific data sovereignty laws that your company or your customers need to be compliant with?
2. Who owns the data?
Some solutions integrate with other services like Google Docs, and when they do, additional copies of your files are created across other third party clouds. Can you keep track of where all your files reside and who owns the data?
3. Who has access to the data?
Can you track who has access to what files? How about the vendor? Would their employees gain access or expose access to your company’s data and user credentials?
4. How secure is the data, really?
How is your data protected? Is everything encrypted at all times? How about your user IDs and passwords? How does authentication work? Some services only offer encryption when data is in transit, some doesn’t encrypt at all, and most hold the encryption key and has a way of decrypting your content if necessary. What do you need to ensure compliance?
5. How can I manage the data?
How much control do you have? From where data is stored, accessed and managed – do you have full control and visibility every step of the way?
6. How well will it work for my users?
Users just want to get things done. Most users just want a simply way to access files from anywhere, with their own devices, and to easily share files when they have to. Does the solution fit into your users’ existing workflow? Does it support a group/team multi-user environment? Can it support different devices and platforms? It is intuitive or is there a learning curve?
7. How can I manage my users?
Can you use your existing groups and permissions? Can you implement the right policies? Is there a way to easily add or remove users as needed? How can you remove unwanted user or device access to your company data? Integration with your existing AD/LDAP will probably make user management a lot simpler so you wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel!
8. What’s next?
What is on the roadmap for your vendor? What is their focus and will they deliver more value for your company moving forward? Pick the right solution provider who is flexible, innovative and understands your company’s needs so they will work with you.
There is a lot to consider when you’re evaluating different solutions. What are some of your concerns? What are some of the “must have” requirements for your company? Share your thoughts and let us know in the comments below!