Top 10 Mistakes Enterprises Can Make When Moving Data into the Cloud

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Top 10 Mistakes Enterprises Can Make When Moving Data into the Cloud

by Chris Preimesberger

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Implementing an Infrastructure that Doesnt Fit Your Cloud Needs

One size does not fit all. Companies should not always build an entire application infrastructure in the cloud. You must decide if the cloud will be used for primary data or secondary data. It often makes more sense to use cloud storage services to transparently extend or protect an onsite infrastructure.

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Not Verifying or Auditing the Security of Your Cloud-Based Service Provider

It's important that a cloud storage provider has outstanding security within its own network and infrastructure so it can guarantee that no user can access another user's data without explicit permission from the owner. Your data should be encrypted from the moment it is created in your network, protected during the transmission through the Internet and stored encrypted in the cloud. How do you ensure your provider is covering the bases? Look for SAS-70 Type II certification.

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Using Internet Bandwidth Inefficiently

Data deduplication and compression maximize bandwidth. Enormous savings can be achieved by combining these techniques. Adding to this is what Gartner calls "hybrid cloud computing," or what i365 calls cloud-connected storage: a copy (or cache) of the data is maintained at your local premises for the fastest possible access. If it should be damaged in a disaster, it can always be rebuilt from the cloud, but under normal circumstances, some local data helps balance cost and speed effectively.

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Not Having Backup and Disaster Recovery Plans

If you've decided to protect your data in the cloud, can you also protect your applications? Protecting your data in the cloud is imperative; however, it is not enough if your apps and servers go down. Using a disaster recovery service will allow you to deploy applications on an outside infrastructure specifically configured to your needs. It is also important for you to know how your provider is protecting your data against a disaster. Are they replicating between sites? Make sure you have these answers as you construct your DR plan.

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Getting Trapped Paying Hidden Fees

A cloud storage service provider should base its pricing on how much storage capacity a business has used, how much bandwidth was used to access its data and the value-added services performed in the cloud such as security and deduplication. Many service providers offer "low prices" but fail to include basic services, so hidden fees add up quickly. Some common hidden fees to watch out for are connecting fees, maintenance charges and data access charges.

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Not Knowing Where Your Data Is Actually Kept

Many cloud providers may not offer specific locations for where a customer's data will reside and will claim that "location-less" clouds are a benefit. The actual physical location of data is very important for compliance; if you are utilizing cloud storage for your disaster recovery plan or attempting to pass strict security audits, then the location of the data and the mechanisms defined to make that data accessible can be critical.

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Selecting a Vendor on Name Recognition Rather than Service Quality

As the benefits of this technology become increasingly apparent, many new vendors with limited experience are emerging on the scene. Choose the wrong provider, and these benefits can very quickly disappear. Companies must bear this in mind when researching a potential cloud storage vendor and ensure they have a well-researched plan of action when choosing a new provider. You also need to know whether you want your data on a shared or dedicated infrastructure and should look for providers who can offer both.

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Failure to Establish a Process to Ensure Your Vendor Honors SLAs

All too often cloud vendors make promises on service levels and do not follow through with these agreements. Customers often rely on the vendors to deliver and measure the uptime, but this is not always the case. Companies need to take control and make sure their cloud needs are being met by enabling a management tool that will measure service uptime.

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Ignoring Cloud Management

The beauty of cloud computing is the cost savings, flexibility and only paying for what you need, but this means you need a process in place to make sure you are using cloud technology as efficiently and smoothly as possible. The benefits don't happen on their own. Set up a protocol for periodically checking how much service you're using and how you could be working more efficiently in the cloud. This translates into reduced costs and paying for what you really need and use.

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Choosing Cost Over Service

Make sure your provider has experts you can reach live 24/7 to guide you through any issues you encounter. The provider should offer full consulting services from designing the solution, to implementation, to live support in emergencies. Also, make sure you know who is ultimately responsible for any glitches. Are you dealing with one vendor or multiple? In the event you need your data back quickly and your Internet connection may not be fast enough to enable rapid data transfer, you also should look for a provider who can ship your data overnight on a physical storage medium.

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