Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Any Cloud Services Provider

Are you taking your enterprise content management (ECM) solution to the cloud?

Or maybe a better question is, “Have you considered taking your ECM solution to the cloud?”

If you have, chances are you have questions that center around one word: trust.

A proper cloud ECM provider will not shy away from direct conversations with you regarding trust.

So ask. And make sure you’re comfortable with the answers. And then ask a few more questions before selecting a cloud-based ECM provider. Questions like:

1. Who has access to my information and how are changes to my solution securely managed and audited?

Whether you manage your own servers or take advantage of cloud services, you need to know that your data is secure. For example, you should be able to verify that no unauthorized access has occurred inside or outside of the cloud application. In general, you want to make sure that content is secure from administrator access; it’s your content and only authorized individuals should have access.

Are there proper change management procedures? Do you have visibility into audit logs? Do you have encryption options that prevent anyone anywhere from viewing your content except through the application and with proper authentication? Does a trusted third-party auditor assure that the controls and processes to protect your data are followed? These are things you need to know.

2. What is the service providers’ data protection strategy?

Data is your most important asset. Your cloud provider should take both strategic and tactical steps to ensure your data is protected. This means redundant copies, multiple geographic locations, storage system security, online storage, and data integrity. You should ensure any cloud provider you evaluate offers this level of data protection.

3. How is multi-tenancy handled?

One of the great benefits of cloud providers is shared resources, which create valuable economies of scale. But, question how your solution is logically separated from other customers in the cloud environment. Do you share memory, disk space or databases with their other customers? Your cloud ECM provider should keep each customer separate in its own dedicated space.

4. If I use the service, am I locked in?

As your business changes, so should your IT strategies, and you should have the flexibility to modify your IT strategy to meet those business needs. Ask every cloud provider you consider questions about the use of proprietary file formats, the ownership of your data, and the ease of migration to another solution, vendor or both. Also, find out if you will maintain ownership of your data. In the event that you request for your data to be extracted and delivered to your organization, your provider should be able to easily do so.

5. What is the service provider’s financial status?

This one is pretty straightforward. Only vendors with solid financial footing should have the duty and privilege to store your content. If the vendor has a shaky financial past, there could be a higher risk that the company could fold or change hands, possibly resulting in the unavailability of your critical business content. Make sure the vendor you choose has a history of stability and can prove its viability in the market.

By asking these questions, you’ll develop a clear idea of what each cloud services provider has to offer. And, as you continue to ask questions, you’ll begin to develop trust with one of those providers – and that’s essential for the success of any cloud strategy.


Glenn Gibson is Director, Global Technology Evangelist at Hyland. With 20 years working in the IT industry, he’s collected several certifications over the years as a VMware Certified Professional, Citrix Certified Administrator and Microsoft Certified Professional. As a self-proclaimed “presentation junkie”, he is very passionate about everything that goes along with public speaking, and has picked up a few awards along the way too. A native of Scotland, his passions outside of work include all things Scottish; kilts, bagpipes, whisky, (real) football and is often heard beating a drum or two in his spare time.
Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson is Director, Global Technology Evangelist at Hyland. With 20 years working in the IT industry, he’s collected several certifications over the years as a VMware Certified Professional, Citrix... read more about: Glenn Gibson