Asia's Source for Enterprise Network Knowledge

Sunday, April 30th, 2017

Storage

If the cloud fails, are you covered?

The cloud is the new reality. If they haven’t already, most organisations today are either in the process of adopting or planning to include the cloud as part of their data storage and protection strategy. By 2020, Gartner predicts that a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-Internet” policy is today.

The benefits are obvious: lower storage costs, less time required to manage under-utilised infrastructure, and greater agility for IT resources to keep up with the constantly changing needs of the business. Companies, as a result, can easily leverage data residing in the cloud to support business insights, legal or compliance requirements.

Yet, despite all the hype, things are not always rosy when moving data into the cloud, as failures and accidents do occur in the cloud too.

The cloud is not fool-proof

With the recent Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage in Australia paralysing companies for hours, one thing is for sure, the cloud is not fool-proof.

In today’s data-driven environment, the repercussions can be damning as companies are prevented from accessing business-critical data and applications. On top of that, what if data stored in the cloud was to become corrupted or compromised in one location due to human error? That error may be duplicated in the other locations as well. Data could also be accidentally deleted from the cloud. Since the average cost of downtime is about $100,000 per hour, or even as high as $1.6 million per hour for certain organisation, how can companies protect data and ensure business continuity when storing information in the cloud?

Take the cloud into your own hands

In designing a strategy to ensure data in the cloud is protected and recoverable, here are some tips to minimise the impact of cloud storage outage or failure.

Prevention is better than cure

When you store everything in the cloud, you run the risk of losing it forever. The best way to sidestep this is to regularly back up what you store in the cloud, just as you would on-premise. Snapshot technologies are quickly becoming the go-to method for application and data recoverability as they minimise impact on uptime and performance. Besides, most public cloud providers support snapshots, replicas and simple snapshot management of applications.

While the cloud is pretty secure, there could potentially be times when data and information fall into the wrong hands. Encrypting highly sensitive data before storing it in the cloud is a necessity.

Good visibility across network infrastructure

Given the amount of data generated and stored in multiple locations today, ensuring tight control and good visibility across your network infrastructure helps to secure the speed, agility and accessibility required for data recoverability. Organisations can adopt a single platform approach that provides a holistic view across stacks of on- and off-premise infrastructure. Data, as a result, can be accessed and leveraged consistently across the enterprise. Only then can companies truly begin to capitalise on data as an asset.

Poor management and protection of data across physical and virtual infrastructures would not only drive up storage costs, but also take up time and effort to maintain the storage infrastructure or recover data in times of cloud failures or outages – instead of truly reaping value from the data. As you develop your road map to cloud adoption or update your storage strategy, consider these tips and you’ll be able to effectively leverage the cloud with greater confidence.

Matthew Johnston, Area Vice President, ASEAN & Korea, Commvault