Cloud based data archiving is nothing but storing large amounts of cold data in cloud for many years. And after seeing a great profit margin in this stream, companies are competing to offer their best in this arena. Thus, it can be seen as a growing sector that is expected to explode from $3 billion in 2014 to $7 billion in 2017, according to research from Oracle.
So, here are the five things to look out for when you compare cloud storage for archival needs-
How many copies of data will be present in the cloud? – In general, most cloud based archival services will have three copies of your archived data. But all this is normally not disclosed to the users or public. But in order to keep the user data safe, three replicas of each data set is maintained either in same or different geographical locations by cloud based archival service providers.
For instance, Amazon Glacier which offers cloud based data archival services offers annual durability of 99.999% and stores data in multiple facilities and on multiple devices within each facility.
Find out how easy it is to get back data- This may prove as a very critical issue. Storing data is not only important, retrieving it back when needed is also crucial. Better to find out how easy it is to get back data, before hosting the data on the platform. Go through company history and its business background. Find out whether the business will survive all the coming years. Also it is better to find out, what will happen to the data, if the hosting company decides to shut down its services midway or stop offering archival services. Though, asking the question may create a bit of embarrassing situation, if cleverly managed, the actual message can be passed on easily. Make sure that a limited time window for retrieving data, in case the provider decides to shut down service, is included in to the SLA.
Where is the encryption carried out? Protection of data is equally important when it comes to archival storage. Therefore, better to be well aware on this issue. Some cloud based archival storage providers like Amazon offer encryption of data as soon as it arrives into the cloud. It will also manage encryption keys for its users. But here, if users are worried about their data security and integrity, then they can first encrypt their data before uploading it to the cloud archival platform. This practice will help users to keep control on at least one set of encryption keys.
What if the data gets lost? Losing archived data will not only prove disappointing to companies, but will also create a huge impact on the viability of a business. Moreover, if the archives have to be maintained for a specific length of time, for regulatory compliance, then data loss can lead to fines and other complications for falling out of compliance.
If the issue is so serious, and if in case, the cloud archival service provider losses your data, then imagine the consequences. What’s more disappointing is that cloud archival service providers only offer compensation in the form of service credits and do not take responsibility of the user falls out of compliance in case of data loss.
Cloud vs in-house archiving- After seeing all the above said points, one may get a feeling that it is better to go for an in-house solution. The key benefit in handling archiving in-house is that the user can keep control of their data and don’t have to trust a third party to keep the content secure and available. But if a user wants to keep copies of archive data at multiple locations and have the integrity of the data and the storage media checked regularly – as best practices dictate – then this can be hard to achieve in a low-cost manner, especially if the user is from a a small or medium scale organization. If the organization is large and has a lot of data sets to archive, then it may face difficulty in maintaining archives in future, due to capacity issues. So, be aware of this factor well in advance.
Hope, these five points will ease your decision making skills while shopping for a cloud based archival storage.