When it comes to storing data in the cloud, what you don’t know can hurt you. While public cloud storage may seem inexpensive at first glance, many organizations have found that there are hidden costs that can fluctuate radically based on performance, capacity and other requirements. In addition, the growth of “shadow IT”—business managers using public cloud services that are not sanctioned by the IT department—exposes organizations to security and compliance risks that can lead to downtime, data breaches and damage to brand reputation.
Savvy IT professionals recognize that when using the cloud for storage—whether for backup, replication or archiving—the goal is no different than that for data stored on-premises, which is:
To deploy cost-effective technologies and solutions that protect, preserve and manage data to ensure that it is secure, available and accessible when needed.
The cloud, of course, can be a valuable tool in helping IT achieve this objective, but it is important to understand how, where and when cloud services should be used—and when they shouldn’t. Cloud works best and most cost effectively when it is part of an overall data management strategy. Because data lifecycles evolve as an organization’s data mix changes, you don’t want to be locked into using the cloud. Rather, you want to be able to leverage cloud services when appropriate.
Working with a trusted partner that takes a technology-neutral approach to data lifecycle management will help you determine when cloud services are right for your organization and what types of services to use. Typically, IT teams look at cloud solutions for consolidation efforts under any of the following six circumstances:
- IT is tasked to do more with less. IT can gain efficiencies by adopting a storage-as-a-service model.
- Business and IT want to mitigate risk and improve service levels with proven online cloud storage and cloud services, guaranteed service-level agreements and a trusted partner that has experience in data lifecycle management.
- IT and the business no longer wish to invest in data center expansion to add storage and compute capacity.
- IT needs to consolidate systems, modernize and streamline operations, and reduce costs when faced with company mergers and acquisitions.
- IT may not have the ability and skill set to keep up with innovative technologies.
- Business and IT want to move to an Opex consumption model, enabling more flexibility to modify, change, and scale up or down as requirements change.
Two of the more popular use cases for cloud deployment are archiving and data replication:
- A cloud archiving solution should provide a secure and scalable cloud repository for organizations that need cost-effective and efficient digital archive storage designed for long-term retention. The solution should be always accessible so you can retrieve data when needed for compliance or e-discovery requirements, and it should include built-in data protection to ensure security.
- A cloud data replication service should be cost-effective, reliable and secure. It also must provide replication of backup data from the organization’s data center to an off-premises secured facility so the data is protected yet available for fast and efficient recovery. The service should use secure, high-speed, reliable network connectivity to make replication efficient over a wide-area network.
In today’s environment, with organizations creating more data than ever before, enterprises should be able to use every means at their disposal to protect, preserve and manage their data in the most cost-effective manner possible. Cloud can help, but before committing to solutions, it is important to understand what you are getting into and determine how cloud fits into your organization’s overall strategy for data lifecycle management.
Learn how Iron Mountain can help you make smarter decisions about cloud storage and the role it plays in your evolving data management strategy.