We are witnessing extensive adoption of cloud computing in almost all verticals and categories of industries. It is observed that every organization is moving either part of entire IT infrastructure to cloud for gaining operational agility and resource scalability and flexibility of business processes.
Significance of assessing features of cloud storage
Before moving your data to cloud by associating with the right online data storage provider, you are advised to clarify different aspects of cloud storage and cloud data recovery.
Cloud storage offers an efficient and cost effective data storage alternative to legacy methods that involve data center services. Data generation has been witnessing an exponential growth with availability of huge amount of digital information in the form of videos, emails, images, and documents, to name a few. Amazing popularity of cloud storage can be attributed to it remarkable cost efficiency as compared with traditional methods of data storage.
One must not adopt cloud storage without understanding individual needs that can range from simple data archiving to a high availability and high performance resource for data storage. This type of analysis about one’s data storage needs is extremely vital because not all cloud storage providers are offering same set of services.
Therefore, you need to search for the right Cloud service provider as well. Hence selection of right storage option and choice of the appropriate cloud storage provider are the two important criteria while moving your data to cloud.
Security and privacy compliance
Your proposed cloud storage service provider must follow stringent adherence to the security and privacy needs of your industry. These can be related to PCI or HIPAA guidelines.
Compliance with the latest regulations including SSAE 70 that covers finance related public sector data. It also spans other industries that need to maintain integrity and security of data.
Choosing an industry specific provider
There can be no two opinions about justification of selecting a reputed and established cloud service provider. All the same, you can get far better services if you happen to entrust your mission critical data to a provider that has a proven expertise of dealing with your kind of business or category of industry.
Cloud storage market has entered an era of specialization. One can choose a provider that has gained exclusive expertise of serving a particular industry domain such as healthcare, finance, production, entertainment, and so forth. These cloud data storage providers have developed special abilities to understand data storage needs of clients.
Consider bandwidth and data transfer capability
Many organizations leverage cloud to support their data backup strategy. In such situation, you must find out bandwidth limitations in terms of initial backup that could involve voluminous data or subsequent need to restore extremely large amount of data.
In a cloud storage operation, data needs to move out from local area network of clients into wide area networks, thereby leading to substantially greater requirement of bandwidth at higher costs.
Data backup and restoration must be supported by service provider with bulk transfer capability with optimum bandwidth provisioning. Bandwidth limitations can severely impact the time required for moving the data and ranging between minutes and days. Therefore, you need to assess bandwidth limitations in terms of time, potential, and costs.
Understanding data protection arrangements
Your business critical data has to be protected with help of robust encryption prior to transferring the same into cloud environment. It is commonly implemented practice of many service providers to offer encryption at server side, however you must perform encryption at your end for seamless data protection.
You need to understand that if your service provider has ability to encrypt your data then the same argument can be extended to state that your data can also be decrypted by the same service provider. Ideally your data needs to be encrypted every time it is being sent out to any offsite location and that also includes cloud.
Importance of studying SLAs
Ideally, service providers offer Service Level Agreements that provide assurance of applications and data being hosted by them. This must also include seamless availability of systems and data, response times for resolving security matters that are associated with normal as well as specific issues.
Users are also offered choices of service levels of data storage. You need to make sure that the storage services are backed by on demand scalability for uninterrupted availability. The storage of data should not be affected due to upgrades or maintenance activities. In short, the Service Level Agreements must cover guaranteed availability of systems as well as data.
Vital questions to ask cloud providers
You need to know the length of period for which the provider is operating the business and also availability of service locations in terms of own data centers facilities, CDN networks, and more. This information can be useful for your future expansion plans. It is also vital to know frequency of security audit and the related documentation.
You can also ask for a comprehensive plan that provides details about how the vendor proposes to save costs in comparison with your existing storage infrastructure and details of how the vendor is planning to resolve issues that are being faced by you in existing storage environment.