Cloud based data storage has benefits—but do your homework

Cloud based data storage has benefits—but do your homework

Faced with the need to do more with less, IT managers should consider the cloud as a solution to the challenge of storing ever-increasing amounts of data.

By Al de Brito, Senior Technical Analyst, ContinuitySA

One of the defining characteristics of the Digital Age is the growing mountain of data generated by the legions of machines and people connected to the Internet and other networks. The other, of course, is the realisation that this data represents corporate gold, the repository of valuable information that, just possibly, could yield vital nuggets of competitive advantage.

Regulators have also seen this. Not only do IT managers have to find ways of storing a torrent of data, but of protecting it as well. At the same time, they are under constant pressure to reduce budgets.

Cloud-based technology offers a way to meet both these goals.

The key here, though, is to do your homework properly. First off, it’s important to ensure that the cloud provider offers the right levels of security and appropriate service-level agreements to back up its promises. The organisation itself will remain responsible to clients or regulators in the event of any breach—this cannot be outsourced to the cloud provider.

The next thing to look at is scalability. A cloud solution has to be able to scale up or down as the organisation requires. As important, a governance framework of policies and procedures must be developed to ensure that each business unit archives its data for the time stipulated by any applicable legislation. For South African organisations, the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act is bringing this kind of thinking into sharp focus.

We have always found that a data storage strategy is the essential first step, followed by an implementation plan. It doesn’t end there, though—like business continuity itself, data storage needs to have a life cycle management plan.

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