Highly flexible and scalable storage is one of the cloud’s strongest selling points. And as recent data shows, it’s only getting stronger. According to an IDG survey, data storage is neck and neck with analytics as the the number one cloud application for 2017 and onward. 21 percent of respondents said they anticipate data storage and management being a top priority for their cloud adoption needs. We’ve compiled a list of tips and best practices for hybrid cloud data protection to help.
The hybrid methodology further enhances the cloud’s potential by giving companies the power to leverage vendor solutions and on-premise systems for maximize flexibility. When everything is firing on all cylinders, it truly is the best of both worlds. However, achieving that harmonious balance is easier said than done as far as data protection is concerned.
Comprehensive disaster recovery solutions like ShadowProtect have taken the hassle out of backing up your data and applications. Actually managing those backups is where things start to get complicated. Today’s IT environment is incredibly complex as very few organizations keep data in one place. Even the smallest firms have their information stored across a mix of local machines, virtual machines, mobile devices, and cloud servers. Simply keeping tabs on that data and making sure it’s included in the backup schedule can be quite the hassle for IT personnel.
To complicate matters, some of the most basic data security technologies lack compatibility with cloud environments. Encryption is a prime example. Cloud encryption has long been a contentious issue, not for lack of capability, but data management concerns. Should data be encrypted before uploading to the cloud? How will that data be administered once uploaded? Does the vendor require access to encryption keys? And if so, what new risks will that access invite? These questions and others make encryption one of the biggest challenges to data protection in the cloud.
Hybrid Cloud Data Protection
Roadblocks may appear, but they don’t have to completely derail your path to optimal data storage. The following pointers will help you overcome the hurdles and enjoy effective data protection in the hybrid cloud setting.
Plan Before You Deploy
Since we’re talking hybrid environments, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is deciding exactly which data should be hosted in the public cloud, and which data should remain in-house. Some organizations are understandably more comfortable keeping any information bound to compliance regulations inside the data center. Others don’t mind housing the most confidential of resources in the public cloud, regulated data included. No matter where mission-critical data resides, on-premises on a dedicated appliance or in the cloud, make sure both sides are prepared to deliver the protection your informational assets demand.
Intelligent backup systems may aid you in the mission of discerning which data needs backing up. Innovative vendors now use sophisticated data analytics technology with their backup and recovery systems, so that the job of IT admins becomes easier every day.
Review Vendor Security Features
Tough to have faith in a service provider that doesn’t have their own house in order. At the very least, prospective vendors should operate from state of the art facilities equipped with features designed to safeguard customer data from known and emerging security threats. More importantly, their infrastructure should fully comply with the security standards that have a direct impact on your business. A vendor’s commitment to protecting their own IT environment says a lot about their ability to protect your data.
Create a Comprehensive Encryption Strategy
Most of the big cloud service providers offer encryption to protect data at rest on their servers. That’s fine and dandy, but there are several reasons to apply the clamps before even send it to the cloud. For starters, it safeguards your data from prying eyes as it travels over the network. And as long as the decryption key is in your possession, only you or your staff can access that information. Sure, the vendor must do their part, but this is your data we’re talking about. Shouldn’t you be wholly responsible for protecting it?
Consider Data Retention
Retention should weigh heavily into how an organization approaches data protection in the cloud. Maybe there are customer records or other information that must be stored according to specific industry regulations. Taking a chance and not planning for data retention can lead to some hefty fines. Make sure you not only know how long a vendor will retrain that data, but how they will go about disposing of it as well. The disposal component is an important point to note because it provides insight into how your information will be handled in a worse case scenario. If the vendor goes out of business, you need to know that your data will be properly discarded in the process.
Backup Cloud Data
File syncing and sharing services provide an easy way to store documents, photos, and videos. I’m often the first to recommend Dropbox or Google Drive to a PC user solely relying on their hard drive for data storage. While they offer some level of protection against on-site disasters, in no way should they be viewed as a replacement for traditional backups. A good hybrid cloud data protection strategy will ensure that your data is accessible come rain, sleet, or cloud breach.
The ongoing quest for flexibility has us steadily moving data from one independently managed environment to another. In the process of providing superior convenience, this environment has only increased the importance of hybrid cloud data protection as cybercriminals now have multiple attack vectors at their disposal. We’re never 100 percent safe, but if there is a such thing as peace of mind, a multi-layered data protection strategy is the only way to find it.