Data Protection Series: Best practices for putting data in the cloud

John Sharpe

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Tape as a storage medium is cost-effective and reliable for long-term retention, but managing and recovering the data from those tapes can be labor-intensive for companies managing the process themselves. Many businesses have decided to put some of their data in the Cloud for that reason, but best practices for keeping data safe before, during and after this process are not always followed.

When choosing a vendor to help you manage your data both on tape and as you put data in the Cloud, look for the following attributes:

RELIABILITY: Security and speed across the entire process, guaranteed SLAs

COMPLIANCE: The ability to continue to use low-cost tape-out for remote archiving/ long-term retention, while utilizing the Cloud for information you need to access more quickly

COST: Capacity-based subscription pricing that is driven by optimized secure multi-tenancy

VISIBILITY: The knowledge of what data resides on which tapes and a vendor that allows you to restore when you need to, removing the need for legacy backup applications

Cloud-Based Data Replication

You probably have a wealth of backup data stored across multiple copies. This can complicate your move to the Cloud. However, the data from one backup to another is highly redundant. If you have 100TB of data to be backed up, only about 2TB or 2% changes from backup to backup. Instead of backing this 100TB over continually, why not just back it up once and then only backup the changes to that data after the first time?

Cloud-based data replication allows you to fully protect your data offsite in a secure, compliant data center. This simplifies recovery and keeps your data safe and intact for the long term. Reliable, high-speed connectivity, when paired with de-duplicated data replication requires less network bandwidth and offsite resources—providing gains in storage efficiency. Cloud-based data replication gives you confidence that your data is both effectively protected and readily available in a recovery event, along with the peace of mind that you can recover at lightning speed.

Tips for Putting Data in the Cloud Safely

Individuals and companies are putting more and more trust in the Cloud, despite the fact that online hackers have been busier than ever. It’s important that you keep safety in mind when moving from tape to cloud storage, including the global data privacy legislations that have been put into place and how they may affect your organization.

  1. Understand the cloud storage in which you’ve invested. Once you’ve chosen a secure cloud storage provider, make sure you read your user agreement and SLAs to completely understand the product and how it will affect your organization’s retention policies and compliance efforts, as well as transfer and access times.
  2. Store as little sensitive information as is necessary for compliance purposes. Move all of the data you don’t need quickly to your tape archive so that it’s offsite, offline and out of harm’s way.
  3. Use an encrypted cloud service. There are some cloud services that provide local encryption and decryption of your files in addition to storage and backup. This means that you can both encrypt your files on your own system and storing them safely on the cloud. This plays well with “zero-knowledge” privacy plans, which allow no one to have access to your employee and customer files—even server admins and service providers. Internally, you should ensure your data is encrypted properly.
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