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10 Questions to Ask Your Cloud Services Provider

By Kaleigh Alessandro,
Thursday, February 9th, 2017

When evaluating a cloud services provider there are a lot of factors to take into consideration: features & functionalities, security protections, provider experience, and industry certifications just to name a few. We've identified some of the most important questions today's investment management firms should be asking cloud services providers during the selection process.

Five or seven years ago, these questions would probably be fairly basic in nature. Does the infrastructure isolate individual client environments? (Yes). Can the cloud environment scale to meet a firm's growing resource needs? (Yes). In 2017, we can safely assume you understand the basics of the cloud, so the questions we've identified move beyond the basic and focus on critical infrastructure, security and support questions your cloud provider should be able to address. hedge fund cloud computing

Top Ten Questions to Consider:

  1. I'm most concerned about the security of my data. What types of security layers do you employ across the cloud platform and your broader organization to guarantee the safety of my firm's information?

  2. Does your cloud leverage proactive security technologies such as intrusion detection and prevention, next-generation firewalls and regular vulnerability assessments and/or penetration tests?

  3. Does each layer of the cloud infrastructure feature an N+1 configuration to tolerate any single equipment failure and ensure high availability?

  4. What features and functionalities are included with the cloud service (beyond basic email, file services and storage)? Do you provide clients with value-add features such as two-factor authentication or enterprise collaboration tools at no additional cost?

  5. What investment and trading applications do you support on your cloud? How do you handle migration of data and applications from one cloud to another?

  6. How will the cloud enable my firm to control costs moving forward? Beyond the monthly per-user cost, what will our financial expectations be? Who purchases/owns the cloud equipment - the client or the provider?

  7. What certifications does the cloud itself hold as well as the data centers where equipment are stored? Is the cloud SOC 2 certified? Do data center facilities meet industry-grade SOC, SSAE, and/or ISO certification levels?

  8. How do you manage access control to your cloud and what type of security monitoring practices are in place to prevent internal and external compromise?

  9. What is your support model like for your cloud? Do you have a 24x7x365 Help Desk to troubleshoot remote issues? Do you charge a fixed fee for onsite support when dispatching engineers? Is the provider responsible for all proactive maintenance and updates?

  10. Is the cloud infrastructure backed by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that ensures top performance and uptime?

Plus, here's more education information on cloud for investment managers:

Why Asset Managers are Moving to the Cloud

Editor's Note: This article has been updated and was originally published in July 2011.
Photo Credit: Flickr

Categorized under: Cloud Computing  Trends We're Seeing 

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