Public Clouds: Threat or blessing for backup and recovery?


More and more businesses are using the Cloud as a work space, and although the Public Cloud is not lacking in benefits, one can not say it is the Fort Knox of platforms when it comes to data protection.

It is easy to see the appeal of using the Cloud to store and manage data as it is cost effective, easy and quick to set up, requires no maintenance or does it require a business to become entangled in long term contracts, it provides high flexibility without redundancy and takes a business global in minutes, among other benefits.

Therefore, it is no surprise that last year, RightScale revealed in their sixth annual State of the Cloud Survey that companies typically run 79% of their workload on the Cloud (41% in the public cloud and 38% in the private cloud). Enterprises run 75% of workloads on the Cloud (43% private and 32% public). Small to medium businesses run 83% of their workloads in the Cloud (50% public and 33% private). The survey was compiled using information that was collected from 1002 IT professionals on their use of Cloud infrastructure

With such a high amount of information and data being processed through the Cloud, companies, businesses and enterprises alike should be concerned about the security of their data. It is a mistake to take the benefits of the Cloud as a foolproof strategy to protect your data and not follow up with data protection that can keep up with the Cloud migration.

Here are five common reasons why the Public Cloud may not be as secure as you may think, and why you should still implement a BDR strategy:

Due to the multitenancy of public cloud platforms, private information is at risk of leaking to a ‘neighbouring tenant’, that shares the same computing resources.
You may still be at risk, therefore, it is important to know what virtualization tools your vendor is running to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of virtual exploits.
The no maintenance benefit can be great, but it also means you have limited control and do not have any choice with regards to any small or big changes made to the software or hardware as it is owned by the Public Cloud. This also applies to authentication, authorisation and accessing processes.
Service interruptions do happen even though a vendor may reassure you that they have fantastic fault tolerance. Availability can still be an issue and opens up the risk of loss of data.

Cloud vendors are known to put clauses in their agreements that changes the ownership of the data over to them. This grants them greater legal protection should something happen but also allows vendors to search and mine their client’s information, sometimes for a profit.

The Public Cloud can be a blessing and does pose its threats, however, the biggest threat is not having a data protection strategy that works with your Cloud services. Using the Public Cloud is not a sufficient backup and disaster recovery plan, as history shows that the redundancy infrastructure used by Cloud vendors can fail. For example, in 2015 Google lost some of their client’s data.

Another reason why a sufficient BDR strategy is key is if a business wants to efficiently implement ‘Bring your own Device’ strategies in the workplace. Cloud services successfully allow for businesses to implement ‘BYOD’ strategies, however, these devices have higher specs than those of the company’s devices and the security and protection needed to safeguard a company’s data on these devices can be overlooked. This increases the risk of the data ending up in the wrong hands.

This is the reason why more and more companies are creating BDR solutions for hybrid and multi-platform cloud services, which require a different approach then traditional solutions as there are different risks involved.

A BDR solution that will protect you against the risks opened up by the Cloud should include global data visibility for anywhere, anytime backup; deduplication for the highest Cloud efficiency; universal data portability that enables data recovery, portability and mobility; flexible data protection; and performance at scale.

However, before any decisions are made, the business would have to look at its own IT resources and expertise to determine what will work best. A comprehensive internal audit may be the solution to discover what a business has the capacity for and what it can afford.


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