Finding the Right Solution

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2010-02-04 Print this article Print


Finding the Right Solution

There's more to finding the right cloud storage provider than just looking for the lowest cost. What matters more is that the cloud storage provider meets your needs. You need to make sure it is able to work with your company's enterprise environment, that it meets your security requirements, and that it is going to be in business in the long term.

It's important that any cloud-based storage service you choose is easy to use. These services are designed to have little or no impact on the IT staff. In fact, one of the primary markets for cloud storage is companies that have no IT staff. To be useful, setup and operation need to be as close to automatic as possible.

Iron Mountain, for example, delivers a preconfigured appliance to customers to manage the storage. Other services provide a client software package that performs automatic online backup. In each of these examples, the data is encrypted before it leaves the computer where it resides and rides a secure, encrypted link to the storage facility.

Make sure the company you go with stores data in functional, enterprise-class data centers. This will not only help ensure that your data is safe, but will also serve as a reliable means of disaster recovery.

You also need to ensure that your storage provider meets all of the regulations that apply to your organization in regard to data storage. This means, among other things, that you need to ensure a level of encryption appropriate to the sensitivity of the material being stored. You need to know that the storage site for your data will meet compliance requirements, and your auditors must be able to confirm this. The storage provider must be willing to have auditors appear on-site and see for themselves where your stuff is being stored, and confirm that it's safe and that the physical security standards are up to snuff.

In some cases, you must be able to prove that your data isn't being transmitted or stored outside specific political jurisdictions. For example, sensitive data from European customers must reside in servers that are in Europe and must not travel outside Europe on the way to being stored. Likewise, some types of data in the United States must reside in and be transmitted only in the United States.

Perhaps most importantly, you have to make sure your organization is ready for the cloud. You need enough bandwidth to handle storage, you need to know what you have to store and how much of it there is, and you need to know what level of performance you require.

Contributing Analyst Wayne Rash can be reached at

Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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