6 Things to Consider When Using the Cloud for Data Storage

Posted by Dustin Smith, Chief Technologist
October 21, 2014

While cloud computing solutions might have been an interesting novelty several years ago, today it’s relatively commonplace for people to use the cloud for data storage. Although, that’s not to say that every IT department knows how to use the cloud for storage effectively. In fact, in this regard, cloud computing may still be in its infancy.

When done correctly, using the cloud for data storage can result in gains in efficiency, convenience, and cost savings. Let’s explore some things to consider when exploring the cloud for data storage.

1. Plan for the unexpected. The only way your data will be secure in the cloud is if you plan for contingencies. Disaster recovery planning starts with asking the right questions to your cloud provider.

  • What happens when the cloud goes offline?
  • How will you be notified when the cloud goes offline?
  • How is the cloud restarted? Manually or automatically?
  • Is load balancing provided?
  • How are data backups done?
  • Do they have a disaster recovery plan?
  • How do they communicate outages?
  • What is their track record for uptime?

BONUS:   Here are 30 questions to ask when turning to the cloud.

DOUBLE BONUSHere’s a financial comparison of public versus private cloud computing solutions.

 

2. Understand the legal implications of a data breach. Not all data is created equally. If you store personal data such as social security information, credit or financial records, or health records there will be legal ramifications from a data breach. It’s best to understand exactly what data you’re storing and what the law says regarding the storage of that data.

 

3. Think long term. Your data storage requirements today maybe A, but in the next year or two they could be A x 10. Data has a tendency to multiply and depending on applications you’re using, the data points, or your sales growth, your data needs tomorrow might be exponentially greater than what they are now. You need to build in growth scenarios and plan accordingly.

 

4. Establish data use policies. This is somewhat related to point number two above, but you cannot give equal access to all data. Salary information, for example, should only accessed by certain departments or personal, while other employee records should only be accessed by executive management.

 

5. Factor in time and bandwidth requirements. Moving large data sets doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. If you need to move 1 TB of data, it can take hours or days depending on your bandwidth connection. The total amount of data in play needs to dictate your connection speeds.

 

6. Look internally first. If your IT department is not taking advantage of server virtualization, you may already have the server capacity to house data. Granted, there may still be a need for a backup solution, but server virtualization can free an amazing amount of data storage capacity, helping you make your existing server footprint work harder and more efficiently.

Using the cloud for data storage can be a great way to gain efficiencies, improve performance of your existing IT infrastructure, and save money, but it needs to be done right. Second chances when it comes to data storage are usually fraught with negative implications. Take the time to do your research.

About Dustin Smith Throughout his twenty-year career, Dustin Smith has specialized in designing enterprise architectural solutions. As the Chief Technologist, Dustin is responsible for the strategic direction of aligning the company’s growing consulting services with the client challenges he finds in the field, and he works closely with his regional architects to design new programs to address these issues.

Filed Under: Cloud Computing

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