As the amount of data organizations are storing continues to mushroom, the costs of expanding your data center to keep up with the growth becomes cost prohibitive at some point. That’s why cloud storage — which often comes at a fraction of the cost of storing the information on-premises — has become increasingly popular.
But before you think of storage in the cloud, you need to be sure to clearly identify your needs, says Chris Poelker, vice president, Enterprise Solutions, FalconStor Software, a provider of data protection, virtualization, backup, disaster-recovery and deduplication services. “Is high performance [and availability] important, or are you just looking to archive data?”
You should also do some research before choosing where to store your digital data, as not all cloud storage vendors (and service level agreements, or SLAs) are the same.
To help you determine if cloud storage is right for you, and find the right cloud storage provider, CIO.com asked dozens of data management and cloud storage experts. Following are their top nine tips for storing data in the cloud and choosing a cloud storage vendor — as well as five questions to ask providers before you sign up with them.
- Make sure the cloud vendor is up-to-date on data center and industry certifications.
- Pick a provider that knows your industry and meets your compliance requirements.
- Understand the bandwidth limitations.
- Make sure data is encrypted.
- Carefully read the provider’s SLA before signing up.
- Know how much the cloud will actually cost you.
- Don’t overbuy storage.
- Make sure you can recover/restore your data.
- Finally, have a backup plan.