At the Core
30 July 15

Checks And Balances: 4 Ways To Trust A Cloud Provider Without Ceding Data Control

Across the business world, numerous tech leaders have come to realize in recent years that they can gain both productivity and data security by leaning on cloud infrastructure providers. Turning to the cloud can have a revolutionary effect on business. It helps professionals on a daily basis to store, manage and share their data easily. Meanwhile, the cloud also helps protect companies against disaster scenarios.

"Data control is especially important when it comes to disaster recovery planning."

There's a fine line, though. Every business wants to enjoy all the benefits of working with a cloud provider, but they also don't want to cede too much control of their data. They want every single file to be available at the click of a mouse (or the press of a smartphone button) whenever they please.

Data control is especially important when it comes to disaster recovery planning. If something goes wrong and your files are in jeopardy, will you be able to access them quickly, or will you encounter unexpected issues with your cloud provider?

According to a ProfitBricks blog, this is a problem that comes up frequently. Shannon Snowden, senior technical marketing architect at Zerto, says that many organizations put themselves in a difficult position – they're using the cloud for managing their data, but they don't have a good plan in place to react to disasters. What happens, heaven forbid, if they need to access their cloud service but it's unavailable?

"When facing the scenario of the cloud being unavailable, many organizations don't have a good answer and find themselves at the mercy of a completely external organization for their sustainability," Snowden noted. "Additionally, depending on how they initiated the cloud service, such as a shadow IT operation, the organization may not have the basic information available that is necessary to contact the cloud provider, escalate tickets, or conduct a failover test operations."

You'll want to test, test and test again.You'll want to test, test and test again.

Fortunately, there are ways to address this problem. What follows are four strategies for enjoying the benefits of secure cloud backup but also staying in control of your data at all times.

Learn the ins and outs
The first way to address potential cloud issues is to learn in advance how your application works and how to recover data when it's unavailable. It's amazing how any problems can be solved simply through good awareness and preparation.

Develop a business partnership
Responding to disaster scenarios needs to be a carefully coordinated effort between your business and your cloud provider. You should work to develop that partnership. For example, you should establish strict service level agreements with your provider so that both sides know what's expected of each other.

Consider the failover option
In simple terms, failover is a backup operational mode that involves running your system through secondary components. Can your cloud apps be failed over? Will this run through your default data center, or temporarily through another cloud provider? Have a plan ready.

Conduct regular testing
If the failover course of action is part of your plans, be sure to test your procedure regularly and identify any potential hiccups. Your goal should be to minimize the length of outages and to verify that every stipulation of your service level agreement can be met.

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