Cloud computing can be considered as a sort of family style buffet restaurant. Although everything may look appetizing, not everything that is out there beneath the heater lamps is going to be a good decision for you individually. Organizations of different sizes may want different things. Very young companies and startups may want easy to eat options like macaroni and cheese, whereas older groups may find that cuts of steak they have to personally order are a little more appetizing. The appetite of an organization for better information processing and data analysis will likely be the major factor in how much of the cloud to get, but all of those little nuances will change the kind of cloud that they order. Finding the right server and getting them to bring you exactly what you want for your organization comes down to knowing yourself and your company’s palette.

Finding the right level of service
Most important of all when finding a new provider is getting one with a service level that works with your agency, according to Cloud Computing News. Cloud Service Level Agreements let everyone involved know what they should expect from each other. If your provider is reluctant to give you a CSLA, you should walk away from the table. Contractual relationships when dealing with this kind of massive data are excruciatingly important and can cause you a lot of difficulty if not nailed down early.

While you are trying to find the best CSLA for your organization, check with your provider on issues of compliance, security and support. What kind of technical support do they offer to their clients? If you call them in the middle of the night will they answer or will you be listening to a dial tone? Do they offer security or encryption on your data while it is hosted on their server? What about while it is in transit? Are they compliant with HIPAA if you are a medical organization? All of these questions must be hammered out within the first round of negotiations, before you even begin to talk about what you will individually need from their side.

Can you leave?
Being stuck in a service level you don’t want to be in anymore is a lot like being stuck in a summer camp you don’t like. The rules seem arbitrary and stifling, you can’t contact for help outside of your organization, and it’s difficult to send information. Part of your plan with a provider should be a way for you to return information to your servers, or to another cloud organization, so that you can save your data. Especially for federal agencies that are interested in cloud computing software, being able to keep information is a must.

Gather your team
Make sure that all parts of your organization that will be involved with the cloud transition are present for when you make your move. Your head of IT is an obvious pick, for example, but if it will meaningfully impact your internal production line you may want a few managers from that department too. If software will effect how secretaries or receptionists do their jobs, it would be good to have at least one as a delegate so that everyone understands what people in the company need. A group that offers a sub-par dialing service, for example, may frustrate anyone working a front desk job to no end.

Consider these questions as you move ahead into cloud computing for your business. While cloud computing software can be incredibly useful to a company, you must be able to tailor it to your needs in order for it to be worthwhile.