Cloud storage has become a popular way of side-stepping the need for expensive memory and storage hardware on business sites and many companies are opting for cloud storage solutions for their data. The cloud also offers many SaaS (Software as a Service) options to reduce the amount of software stored on on-site equipment. But before moving to the cloud there are a number of things to consider.
Ownership and responsibility
Who actually owns the data stored in the cloud? And who is responsible for it? Cloud storage makes use of networks of servers that providers use to store data and these servers can be over a large area, sometimes not even in the same country.
The creator or collector of the data will retain ownership and is responsible for the data but it can fall under the jurisdiction of the country in which it is stored. Differences in legal frameworks governing the management and storage of digital data may have an impact on the data owner.
Saas will usually be owned by the provider but a customer may provide the software to be hosted on the cloud service.
Because it still uses hardware such as servers cloud storage isn’t 100% reliable. Some providers may claim that it is but servers can break down and networks fail. Even brief interruptions can cause difficulties and however small a number can result in significant amounts of ‘down time’ over a year. Choosing a provider that can realistically give an assurance of close to 100% reliability is worth investigating in detail.
Clearly reliability is key when considering Saas provision. If software is not available because the cloud provider’s service is interrupted, then whatever work needs to use the software won’t get done until it is back online. Whilst Saas is accessible on any device with an internet connection it is only available if the connection exists.
It is impossible to think about reliability without considering the risk of data loss and data recovery. Careful consideration needs to be given to additional data storage. There are services that specialise in data recovery such as can be found at http://www.hard-drive-data-recovery.co.uk/.
As with any other means of storage cloud security is only as good as it is set up to be. There has been some bad press for the cloud due to weak password security issues so when choosing a provider it is important to look for a security package that is as good as, if not better than on-site storage security. This as absolutely vital when dealing with sensitive information.
As with any IT package good support from a provider is essential. When choosing a provider consideration should be given to how much support will be needed and a provider chosen who can meet that need.
Businesses needs grow and change and any cloud provider chosen must be able to keep pace with those needs. Providers need to be flexible and responsive to change and requirements in a timely way.