Address Risks of Cloud Storage before Making Switch

As cloud data storage becomes more ubiquitous, you may be considering migrating many of your company’s storage functions to a cloud service.
Going with cloud storage can save you money in terms of data storage and hardware, but there are also issues you need to consider, particularly:
• Accessibility
• Dealing with data loss and recovery
• Escrow agreement with provider
• Continuity after termination
• Ability to handle advanced workloads

First and foremost, you should not focus exclusively on cost as it is just one parameter you have to consider when initiating a cloud service. One of the most important issues you want to explore and secure is business continuity.

Security of information is the first and foremost concern for most companies that are moving to a cloud solution.
A recent study found that it is the biggest concern for 30% of corporate IT decision makers. You need to ensure the cloud provider has a strong, secure server and that if your provider encrypts your data, then logic dictates that it can also decrypt it.
Some companies are going so far as to demand that people in sensitive positions at the cloud provider have undergone background checks.

Data loss and recovery
You may be considering outsourcing your data management to decrease risks associated with disasters and data loss.
You should identify in the services agreement all of the expectations for data availability in the event of an outage.
It is not enough to identify the service provider as the responsible party when it comes to data. What’s more important is that the contract contains remedies if the provider fails to produce the required backups or data during an outage.

Escrow agreements
What are your options if your cloud service provider goes broke and shutters? You need to have an avenue for continuing your operations in that case.
One way to ensure continued data access is to insist that the necessary source code or other operational data is kept in escrow. The enterprise can then retrieve the source code or the data from the escrow holder in the event that the service provider stops providing services.

Continuity after termination
Many customers are surprised when they terminate a hosted or cloud services agreement and experience difficulty retrieving their data in a usable format without paying substantial fees to the service provider for transitioning the data to a new provider, or back to the customer.
Continued access to data can be a critical requirement for most businesses, so your agreement needs to address this issue.
During your vendor selection process, you need to discuss your expectations for transitioning of critical data and that the issue is included in the agreement. The discussion should include whether the vendor will return all of the data, the format the data will be in when it is returned, and the cost, if any, to return the data.

Advanced workloads
You can move e-commerce applications, content management systems and custom business applications to a cloud vendor to ensure smooth and efficient business management.
So before choosing, you should look at the following before deciding on a cloud vendor:
• Reliability: Reliability is a major concern when it comes to big data or crucial business information you want.
• Customer-driven approach: While choosing any cloud service provider, make sure of its customer-driven approach through its 24X7 support system.
• Easy management: A cloud service provider should have an easy management system for its IT staff to manage and control efficiently.
• Transparency: Be clear about and ensure transparency in terms of the managed service level agreement, pricing plan, security, data policies and terms and conditions of a cloud service vendor.
• Integration: You need to find a cloud service vendor that can provide easy integration of existing network resources into the cloud apps server.
• Network ownership: The cloud vendor you are choosing for cloud transformation of the enterprise business must have a robust and secure network to deliver network connectivity efficiently. Make sure your service provider owns this entire cloud infrastructure.

Because the use of hosted and cloud services is increasing in the marketplace, companies need to evaluate each of the business continuity risks inherent in a hosted or cloud services relationship. The ability to discuss and potentially minimize the risks can increase the likelihood that the relationship will be a successful one for both the customer and the vendor.

For additional peace of mind, contact us about data breach insurance.