There’s a very real separation anxiety that comes with surrendering your network to an outside provider; putting the fate of your data in someone else’s hands is, quite simply, a frightening concept.
In fact, this is such a common occurrence that we’ve crafted our cloud migration process specifically to alleviate this fear, and to make the transition as comfortable as possible for those who are used to having their servers right down the hall.
But all that is barely scraping the surface—if you truly want to know whether your data is going to be safe within a cloud environment, you’re going to have to do some digging, and your cloud provider is going to have to do some spilling.
Below we’ll work through the best ways to make sure that your organization’s data is in good hands—even when it’s out of sight.
How to know if your data is safe in the cloud
Here are the main questions you need to ask when it comes to making sure that your data will be properly protected:
- How is your data accessed? Make sure any web access is SSL encrypted. To check, see if the website begins with “https://” rather than “http://” in the URL.
- Is your data being backed up? How? Where? In geographically diverse locations? What is the retention period by file version? By date?
- How do you restore data that has been accidentally deleted or corrupted? Can you restore yourself? Will you need to call in for support? How long will the restore take?
- Does your provider have a history of hacks or outages? What’s their overall reputation? History of uptime? Are there scheduled maintenance windows that require downtime? Do research and ask for references.
- How will you contact your cloud provider if you have a problem? Is phone support available? Just chat? Just email? What is their availability? What’s the average response time?
- Is the data physically secure in a certified datacenter? What sort of surveillance does the datacenter have in place? Access restrictions? Are the servers holding your data in locked racks?
- How healthy is the company itself? Will they still be around in 5 years?
- If you change your mind, how do you get your data off of the system? Will your provider facilitate the transition? Can they bring your network back on-site?
If your cloud provider has not already taken time to work through these questions with you during their proposal process, they should certainly be willing to discuss them with you transparently. (In other words—if you find your provider resisting or becoming guarded with their responses, please take that as a giant waving red flag and head in the opposite direction at a steady clip.)
More than anything, it is critical that you take as much time vetting your cloud provider as you do your cloud solution; technology is only ever as good as the people managing it.
Beyond that, we hope that this list arms you with the tools you need to approach the cloud with direction and confidence. It’s not so bad up there after all.