By guest author Thom Miranda*
Are you one of the exploding number of small firms storing data in the cloud? Consider using redundant resources before putting all your eggs in one (cloud) basket.
A few months ago, a fairly significant cloud provider, Nirvanix, informed users they were going to be shut down, and told them they had to migrate their data out of Nirvanix before the end of the month.
Lots of their customers reportedly had major headaches trying to get their data out, even though the deadline was extended up to the end of the following month. This was not the local Mom and Pop shop: Nirvanix had clients including some of the nation's top media companies such as Fox or NBC Universal, storing up to petabytes of data.
...For customers in a hurry, contracting space with a public cloud is much faster than deploying a public cloud. Public cloud providers like Amazon have the capacity in place to take large data stores with little advanced notice. However, for sensitive data, or data for which performance is an issue, a public cloud may not be the first choice.
And don't feel too comfortable that it couldn't happen to you: do you really know where your data is?
It pays to know where your cloud storage really sits: lots of smaller cloud companies contract out the work to big ones like Nirvanix. Is your tech shop down the street or your trusted cloud provider really providing the servers and infrastructures themselves, or are they contracting the 'real' storage out to one of the big companies. Ask your provider: and see if they are redundantly using different facilities for mirroring your data and/or are they geographically mirroring your data to widely separated facilities to forestall your headaches from regional power outages, earthquakes or other natural disasters. One server in some company's basement can be just as vulnerable as relying only on a server in your office or home.
And finally, the best words of wisdom from the article:
Shame on customers and partners who did not have an extra copy of (their) data.
Occasionally revisit your cloud operations and your disaster recovery plans. Make sure your providers can tell you in plain language where your data is and how it is being redundantly protected. There are not-too-expensive things you can do yourself to protect your business. But do it now, before the unexpected occurs.
* Thom Miranda, an attorney and certified software consultant for law office systems, is CEO of Miranda Legal Systems in Minnesota. A graduate of Boston University Law School, Thom has an educational background in economics and physics. He is an active member of the Minnesota Bar Association Practice Management Section and speaks at Continuing Legal Education (CLE) and other industry events, and has worked for the US Senate and private industry.