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Cloud Backup: We’re Not There Yet

by on September 8, 2011

A few weeks back, short-lived cloud outages at Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Office 365 reminded us of one of the uncertainties that linger about cloud computing: its reliability.

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While the recent outages impacted cloud hosting services, for those of us in the data storage end of the business, they called to mind the implications for cloud backup.

So far, the uncertainty about cloud reliability, among other factors, is proving too much for many organizations to consider shifting some or all of their backup processes to the cloud. As a result, most large enterprises are sticking with traditional backup methods, although cloud backup is starting to catch on with smaller firms.

Aside from reliability, organizations are feeling wary about other aspects of cloud backup services, including:

  • Security
    It seems that many cloud service providers just haven’t yet made the investment in IT resources dedicated to security. Encryption is essential but is just one piece of the puzzle.
  • Recovery timeframes: Depending on bandwidth availability, recovering data from the cloud may prove too time consuming. In the event of a data loss, firms might find themselves having data shipped from their cloud service provider on tape—and wishing they had relied on traditional backup methods in the first place—rather than waiting for data to transfer across a slow connection.
  • Size limitations: Every organization will have a limit on how much data can be transferred to the cloud, which might not prove sufficient for some backup needs.
  • Vendor relationships: Complex cost structures, complicated termination requirements and unclear service-level agreements are also leaving organizations feeling uncertain about turning backup over to a cloud service provider.

Many organizations are using the cloud for various applications and reaping the benefits. But, so far, with these factors in mind, backup is one area you’ll want to think twice about leveraging the cloud.

What do you think of cloud backup? Can it be trusted?

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