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Why is cloud-based data protection not always a good thing?

What are the top five reasons why cloud-based data protection is a bad idea?

Over the last several years, it has become popular to use the cloud for data protection. Even so, cloud-based data protection is not always the best idea. There are at least five different reasons why.

1. Security of your data
Probably the number one objection that is raised to cloud storage is the potential for security breaches. If data is stored in the cloud, that data exists outside of your data center and you do not have direct control over the way that the data is protected. This opens up the possibility that your data could be exposed due to a security breach.

2. Privacy
Another reason why some organizations have avoided cloud-based data protection has to do with concerns over data privacy. After all, what is to stop the provider from reading, or even using, your data? There has been at least one documented incident of a cloud storage provider mining customer data for email addresses to use in its marketing efforts.

3. Ongoing cost
An important factor that must be considered is ongoing costs. Cloud service providers typically charge their customers based on the amount of space that is consumed, and on the I/O load that the customer produces. These costs never go away. If an organization copies a file to the cloud, the cloud provider is going to charge the organization for the space that that file consumes, month after month.

4. Long recovery time
Another common objection to the use of cloud-based data protection is the amount of time that it can take to recover from a disaster. In all fairness, there are providers that offer instant recovery capabilities. And many organizations use a hybrid cloud approach with an appliance on-site for recovery with data replicated to the cloud. However, if a restoration has to be made from the cloud, it will be slow because of Internet bandwidth limitations.

5. The cloud provider can become a single point of failure
Cloud-based data protection might not be ideal if the cloud provider is a single point of failure. In all likelihood, the cloud provider uses redundant hardware to protect your data. But what happens if the provider goes out of business? If you are going to use cloud-based data protection, don’t make the mistake of putting all of your eggs in one basket. Use the cloud as a supplementary solution, or store your data across multiple clouds.

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This was last published in September 2014

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Well, all of the postulated reasons to be wary of cloud data storage have been asked and answered over the year. Encrypt what needs to be encrypted. Data storage costs continue for both on and off premises data storage. Data recovery can be expedited. You need a plan to deal with or work around a failed provider.