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ERP on the cloud: What to ask prospective providers

The most common concerns about cloud computing resilience can be overcome by researching cloud providers before signing up. We asked the interviewees what customers should ask providers to ensure resiliency. This is a shortlist of their responses, using Eval-Source’s ERP Cloud Computing and SaaS Buyer’s Guide as a reference.

What’s your track record? While cloud continues to mature, it’s moved from ‘explore’ to ‘deploy’ mode. There’s an abundance of case studies, so look for a proven deployment history, methodology, credentials and references. These should satisfy you the provider has a reputation for security, performance and reliability.

Can I pilot this before committing to the long haul? Where possible, try before you buy. A pilot, trial or proof of concept helps you to understand performance levels.

Can you integrate network delivered services with my onsite infrastructure? Make sure you can still leverage the best of your existing infrastructure assets.

Where will my data reside? Find out where your data will be located and whether there’s local support and accountability.

Are my applications running on exclusive or shared architecture? Look at the type of cloud: is it a multi-tenant (one-to-many) or a single tenant (one-to-one) model? Each has advantages, risks and trade-offs.

What’s your business continuity plan if the primary data centre is cut off? Understand your data’s risk profile: if your business would potentially cease operations if you lost it, ask if it provides an option for onsite and offsite replication. Look closely at the risks – and true costs.

Where is backup data stored? Find out when the provider last tested its DR. Ask to see the results.

What does the SLA say about uptime and downtime? If there’s any lack of clarity, seek an explanation.

Which carriers supply internet connectivity to your data centres? What’s connecting you to the cloud is important. Make sure it’s a resilient network, with a provider that can keep its systems available and secure.

What happens when there’s an outage? What type of data protection services does it provide to mitigate the risk of data loss?

This article was originally published in iStart Technology in Business magazine

ERP Buyers Guide