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Crucial Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Hosted Desktop Provider

Crucial Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Hosted Desktop Provider

Are you currently looking for a Hosted Desktop provider? To find the right one you must ask the right questions. Asking the right questions will allow you to learn if the provider is a good fit for your company, and avoid committing yourself to a Hosted Desktop provider that isn’t going to meet your requirements.

The questions below will act as a starting point for you to evaluate all the providers you are considering. However, you must take into account the unique requirements of your business before signing on the dotted line.

Do they have experience in your market?

When it comes to your company’s (and customers’) data you cannot afford to take chances, so you must assess the experience a potential Hosted Desktop provider has in your market. This is even more important if you work in an industry that has strict regulatory requirements when it comes to data e.g. legal firms and accountants.

Do they have case studies available on their website? Can you speak to any of their current customers? Do they have any industry partnerships? Assessing this experience will minimise any potential risks and give you a good indication of how well they will meet your requirements.

What is the setup and data migration process?

Before committing to a provider, ensure that the setup and migration process is clearly laid out. Some companies are known to hide fees within proposals, so double check – and if you are unsure, ask.

Also, make sure you know what the schedule for migration will be. You don’t want to be in a position where you are without your IT systems for more than a few days. Ask if migrations can take place at evenings and weekends to minimise this potential downtime.

Where will your data be stored and how is it protected?

The location and security of your potential provider's data centres are crucial. It needs to be clear where your data will be stored and what measures are in place to protect it.

Are your provider’s data centres in the UK? What physical protections are in place to keep your data safe from break-ins and natural disasters? What virtual security measures are in place; firewalls, anti-virus detection, multifactor user authentication and data encryption?

What level of technical support do they offer?

You need to be confident in your provider that if something goes wrong their support team will be on hand to address the issue effectively and efficiently.

How do you get in contact with the support team; email, telephone, online? Does the provider have a guaranteed minimum response time? When are the support team available? Is there an additional fee for the support services?

What are their backup and disaster recovery procedures?

If you accidentally delete a file or there is a critical failure, is your data recoverable? How often is data snapshotted throughout the day? What is the recovery point and recovery time? Making sure your data will be safe is a priority for businesses looking to move to the cloud and a reputable provider will be able to provide a clear data backup plan that ensures your business is safe, secure and ready to operate no matter what happens.

Your potential provider must also be able to explain their disaster recovery procedure. What happens in the event of a major outage or server corruption? How will they minimise disruption? What is the step by step process for getting you back up and running?

Is there a service level agreement?

Most people require a blueprint to start building a new home and similarly would expect a new car to come with a warranty. An SLA serves as both the blueprint and warranty for cloud computing.

Look for the guaranteed service uptime (and ask for any historic downtime) and what compensation is available if this level is not met.

The SLA should provide answers to all the previous questions, but also cover things like; exit strategy, change management and dispute mediation. Ensure you understand everything within the SLA before you sign – again, just ask if anything needs clarifying.

 

Now that you know the crucial questions to ask your potential Hosted Desktop provider, you have increased confidence that you can find a provider that is right for you.

If you have any questions about Hosted Desktop (or any other cloud services) our team are happy to help. Just give us a call on 0800 023 9061 or email questions@itfarm.co.uk

The non-techie’s ultimate guide to Hosted Desktop

Dr James Huntington Managing Director

James is the Founder and Managing Director at IT Farm. His background in Computer Science help lay the foundation for IT Farm to become one of the UK's first Cloud Computing Companies.

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