By Bruce Hall, Director of Managed Services and Senior Consultant
Cloud backup (BaaS) and disaster recovery (DRaaS) seems to be “top of mind” for many organizations these days. Businesses are seeing the cloud as a cost-effective data protection alternative providing secure, off-site storage with built-in disaster recovery and business continuity. Cloud backup can be a good option to protect remote and branch offices, mobile devices as well as enterprise data that resides within the data center. Done right - it can offload IT staff from tedious (and error-prone) backup tasks, reduce costs and, most importantly, ensure fast, complete and accurate restores when needed.
Should cloud backup be on your radar screen for 2013? Security concerns have been the primary reasons IT leaders have held back on the cloud (in general) and for cloud backup. Vendors have been working feverishly to close security gaps and eliminate the vulnerabilities. Their efforts have surpassed the expectations of many industry analysts and companies of all sizes are discovering that cloud data protection can actually be even more secure than their current data protection processes. So, what should you look for in a cloud backup solution? Make sure you thoroughly investigate how the cloud provider manages data security, encryption and key management. It is important to know who will be responsible for encryption keys and be sure that you ultimately own the data and know exactly where it is being stored. You also should check to see whether or not the provider offers a key management tool. Third party security validations are very important, namely the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2, which is a U.S. government computer security standard used to accredit cryptographic modules. Choosing a cloud backup solution that maintains the NIST FIPS 140-2 certification is important to provide the peace of mind that your sensitive data is secure.
The cloud is not going away. It will be a useful tool in IT’s arsenal providing scalable storage capacity and simplified management at a reduced (and fixed) cost. Once you are assured that your data will be safe, compliant and easily accessible, you can move forward to map out a strategy to determine which applications are the best candidates for the cloud and which type of cloud is right for you. Don’t let security concerns of the past get in the way of putting this on your 2013 agenda.