The cloud is not failsafe

Protect your data from unexpected cloud failure

Rick Delgado

Sticky hand thumb up image via Shutterstock

The cloud is one of the safest places to store your data. Even if business leaders find it more practical to store information locally, there are many reasons to leave the storage up to the cloud provider. The cloud, however, is not failsafe.

A fire, flood, or other natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake can destroy infrastructure in an instant and cause a catastrophic loss of data. Other causes could be theft, vandalism, and even terrorism.

The cloud, however, is not failsafe.

It is not out of the question that a failure in the cloud, beyond the control of your organization, can lead to a loss of data. There are a multitude of triggers. Large data stores are vulnerable, and, while it is unlikely that data will be lost, it can happen due to:

  • Main Server Failure: As much as a cloud provider does to upkeep its equipment, servers do fail. It might seem like your data is backed up, being able to access resources on mobile devices and all, but everything is coming from one place and will be lost with the defunct server.
  • Cyber Crime: Cloud providers are major targets for cyber attacks. Hackers can copy, steal, or delete data intentionally or even by accident. Just because your data is hidden off site, doesn’t mean that someone still isn’t looking for them.

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  • Weather: A storm, or a single lightning strike, can knock out servers or an entire infrastructure. If a hurricane hits a big city or a server facility, data could vanish forever if the servers are damaged beyond repair.
  • Malware: A cyber attack doesn’t have be targeted at your organization. It can go for the provider or the underlying service they use, such as Amazon. This loss can be as simple as one password. Malware programs can steal passwords and help attackers gain access to data.

How to protect your cloud data

Regardless of the physical or cyber nature of cloud data threats, you can take several measures to ensure your data is not lost. Here are a few tips for ensuring that your data is protected from unexpected cloud failure.

1. Conduct manual backups on a regular basis. A plan should be in place that dictates when and how data is backed up. A good practice is to copy data to a hard drive or software defined storage not connected to the core of your network, but which you and your organization can easily access.

2. Implement software or other measures for automatically backing up data to external drives.

3. Use an online backup service. While one of these will also copy data to remote servers, it will also protect information if there was a disaster at the home offices. In addition, it’s unlikely disasters will strike two remote locations at the same time.

4. Verify the security of the cloud storage company. This can be done by researching the security systems it uses to block outsiders from accessing information stored on servers.

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5. Encrypt data that is stored remotely. This provides an additional level of defense should a hacker or malware penetrate the cloud provider’s network and servers.

When it comes to data security, there is no 100% failsafe strategy. It helps to implement several methods of security, and continue to backup and maintain data even if you choose to store company information remotely. Cloud service providers do their best to ensure the security of your data.

There are, however, many outside forces that can compromise security, and these are not limited to the infamous cyber hackers, attackers, and terrorists that seem to be lurking in the shadows. Mother Nature can be just as dangerous. If cloud failure were to happen, additional backups, encryption, and due diligence can mean the difference between complete data loss and business continuity.

Rick Delgado
Rick Delgado is a freelance technology writer and commentator. Connect with him on Twitter @ricknotdelgaldo.

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