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Data Protection: Ten Must-Haves in a Cloud Service Provider

JackieSu ‎10-10-2013 12:00 AM - edited ‎02-20-2015 12:35 PM

The Gartner Symposium 2013 is happening in Orlando, Florida (the home of Disney World) this week.  Gartner talked about how IT can and must demonstrate business value and contribute to sustainable enterprise transformation in the digital world. And I couldn’t agree more.


Enterprises ready to move to the cloud have the opportunity to obtain great benefits from a simpler, less expensive, yet more powerful process.  By outsourcing data protection to a trusted, proven cloud service provider, they can free up IT time and resources and focus on strategic tasks and realize true value.


A key step in actualizing the many benefits of cloud-based backup is choosing the right cloud service provider.  Here are some characteristics to look for in your selection process:


  1. Track Record: The cloud service provider must have a proven history of extensive experience managing customer information and protecting that information for the long term. Look for consistent longevity in service and a superb reputation in the marketplace.
  2. Physical Security: The physical data centers of the service provider must represent the highest levels of security against both intrusion and acts of nature. Does the vendor rent or own these data centers? Does the vendor have strict policies in place for anyone who might have access to your data? Look for vendors who make security their highest priority.
  3. Data Security: Data security is more than encryption. The service provider must demonstrate the strictest processes and technologies to safeguard your data, including written policies for proactive monitoring, data encryption in transit, encryption during storage, encryption key escrow management, controlled access, and verification of data integrity.
  4. Geographic Availability: The service provider must operate multiple mirrored physical data centers in geographically separate areas, to satisfy compliance and access concerns. A worldwide presence helps customers with international offices to achieve efficient recovery, support local needs, and meet local regulatory requirements.
  5. Data Availability: The ability to access and recover data is crucial. Redundant facilities must be in place to guarantee the availability and recoverability of data. Furthermore, recovering data from the cloud must be a simple and reliable process. The vendor must demonstrate the ability to restore data even if your encryption key custodian leaves your company.
  6. Scalability: The service provider must be able to accommodate the growing and difficult-to-predict data storage needs of mid-sized enterprise customers, using built-in technologies for deduplication, storage, and data transfer. In addition, retention choices must be flexible enough to manage capacity, costs, and regulatory requirements.
  7. Optimization: The service provider must offer solutions to enable you to efficiently and rapidly restore data – from a single file to an entire site failure – under your constraints of capacity and bandwidth, and meet your RTO/RPO requirements.
  8. Flexibility: The service provider must be able to support your own needs and approaches to retention and configuration. Choices for backup and archiving should include many options, such as:
    • On-premises (licensed)
    • Disk-to-Cloud (hosted)
    • Disk-to-Disk-to-Cloud (hosted plus onsite appliance, a.k.a. hybrid-cloud)
    • Other flexible Options such as partial on-premise + cloud, remote managed service, and/or appliance (Turn-key deployments)
  9. Simplicity: The service provider's solution must be easy for you to set up and use, with automatic set-and-forget operation that requires no training. The service should be fully managed, with proactive notification.
  10. Minimizes Risk: The service provider's continuous backup technology and mirrored data centers must minimize your risk of data loss, as well as your cost of downtime in an emergency.


If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to download this complimentary whitepaper, Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor.


So, what’s your cloud strategy?  Where are you in your cloud adaption process and how has it been working out for you?  Share your story with us. 

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About the Author


Su serves as Director of Product Marketing for HP Connected Backup and LiveVault, and has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software including SaaS, data protection, and information management & governance. She is based in Northern California.

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