By 2019, 90% of global mobile data traffic is expected to be cloud-based! The appetite for cloud is growing and the hospitality is one industry, which is at a tipping point in terms of cloud adoption. If you are ready to get serious about becoming a cloud-based business, here are ten essential questions that should be included on your list to ask your potential cloud provider.
- Costs: What service is actually being purchased? what is the pricing and total cost? While yes SaaS is based on a pay-as-you-go subscription model just double check what exactly is include in that subscription i.e. data size, data usage, number of users etc.
- Data Ownership: If you have being following our blog series you would know the answer to this from our previous post. I.e. you own your data. It’s very unusual for any vendor to insist that they retain ownership of your data. However there is no point presuming that it the case and its better to ask and confirm that be left caught out. Our advice is, clarify any doubt or ambiguity over data ownership from the outset and insure the finer details are added to the contract.
- Data integrity: What controls does your provider have in place to ensure that the integrity of your data is maintained? i.e. you need confirmation of the controls or measures they have in place to ensure that all data that you input into any system is complete, accurate, and reasonable. The same can also be said for the processing and the output of the data.
- Date Security: This is a fairly typical question that should be asked; how secure is my data? But this answer should include details on encryption policies for data transfer and storage, data backup SLAs, data loss protection, service and systems in place to prevent and protect from data loss? How secure is the data from a security breach? Any reputable cloud provider will have no reservations over discussing the security measures they have in place to ensure their customers’ data is safe 24/7.
- Data migration: How easy is it to move to another supplier? You might think this is bit of a redundant question as you hopefully are on the path to choosing the right supplier. However for whatever reason you may have to or want to change to an alternative supplier in the future. It’s probably a question few companies ask but it’s better to do the due diligence now – until it’s too late.
- Compliance: You are probably aware of any compliance issues that are particular to your industry. More than likely your cloud services provider should be able to store your organization’s data according to your compliance or business needs but there is no harm in verify that they can comply with these regulations.
- Uptime: What uptime does the provider commit to? Most providers will guarantee 99.9% uptime; however, read the contract. Does this uptime include scheduled maintenance? If uptime is detrimental to your business and a deciding factor when choosing vendors you can check the cloud provider’s history of uptime with current or previous clients and also include with financial penalties in your contract should they fail to meet their uptime standard/ guarantee.
- Backup and Recovery: If the vendor’s data center goes down what is the backup and recovery plan? The advance of cloud is data is backed up on a regular basis with many failovers in place. However it is good idea to have an understanding of what business continuity plans your provider has in place i.e. should the center go down how long will it take the provider to get your data back up and running? An hour or 2 days?
- Service and Support: Now it might seem silly to ask a service and support question, as the word “Service” forms part of the acronym SaaS but its important to understand the vendor’s SLA. Your service-level agreement should outline the expected performance; help desk response, availability, accountability and uptime and specific performance benchmarks. Ask to see a typical support contract, whether there’s a cap on hours and overage fees and references for the SLA history.
- On-boarding: What is the on-boarding procedure? Many businesses moving to the cloud have little or no experience migrating and need extensive assistance. If this is the case for your company ensure that there is an on-boarding process and continuous customer support. You don’t want to sign a service contract only to find you are left high and dry to navigate uncharted territory on your own.
Though SaaS is not a panacea, hoteliers can benefit by migrating to the cloud. With SaaS your provider takes on the challenge of keeping you up-to-date with the technology arms race; but before making any decisions re SaaS purchases ensure that you ask all the right questions to get the right solution for your business.