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Selecting a cloud solutions provider takes more than a quick Google search. Here are eight questions to ask to make certain the provider is the right one.

  1. Who owns the data in a cloud collaboration solution?

Once both employees and vendors begin sharing drawings, plans, photos and contracts all on the same platform, it is important that it remain clear who maintains the rights to the data. In this case, it should be the construction company. This allows companies to plan in advance for any potential litigation and understand how their cloud vendor will respond to e-discovery and subpoena requests, minimizing delays in the construction process. If this component is missing, shop around.



  1. Who can access the data?

Be clear on the process of assigning permissions and access rights when evaluating a vendor. The owner of the data should have full control of this; it should be easy to manage and crystal clear in the user interface to avoid potential sharing of confidential information. With a high stakes construction project, sometimes the simplest mistakes can cause major delays or even exposure to legal issues.



  1. How secure is the data?

The importance of security is hard to overstate, as companies experience denial of service and a variety of other cyber attacks on a regular basis. Find out whether the company has a team in place to monitor and respond to cyber attacks and conduct an audit of the processes in place. Not only does an outage of the system ripple through the project, delaying the general contractor, design team and everyone else involved, the loss or leakage of data could have a negative impact on the construction company’s image.



  1. How long has the vendor been around?

A typical construction project can last years, so make sure the cloud solution partner will be there until the end and beyond. Important questions to ask are: Do they have a legal team and can they fight for the company in the event of litigation? Can they stand up to the discovery requests of the largest companies in the world?



  1. How do they migrate the data out if necessary?

Make certain there is flexibility to seamlessly migrate the data out of the cloud solution system and into another one while preserving one of the most important aspects of the data: versioning. A typical document can have more than 100 versions for a medium-sized project and potentially many more. If looking back at a document from 10 years ago, it is easier to view one document, not 100 documents.



  1. What are the backup and recovery measures?

The successful vendor has to be able to guarantee 99 percent uptime while the product is running, as even 1 percent of downtime costs construction projects huge amounts of time and money. Check to ensure they have multiple data centers running and can easily shift things around if one of them goes down.



  1. Is there continuous product development?

When buying a laptop, people know they are getting a software product inside that is constantly being reviewed and updated. Just as this expectation is important to consumers, it can be vitally important to the software used on a project. If that software only runs on the current version of Windows, it won’t last the test of time. Check out the track record of the product and ask about the development pipeline before committing.



  1. What is their product support?

Remember, buyers don’t just buy a product, they buy a relationship and a service. Make sure there is a sales rep and service available throughout the life cycle of the product. Consumer have options and construction companies should as well.

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