Tips for safe cloud storage

Entrusting enterprise data to a storage provider's online cloud may be no more risky than putting it in a proprietary storage platform in your own data center, according to some analysts and users. But there are specific steps you should take to prevent problems.

[ For more on cloud storage, read What if my storage cloud turns stormy? ]

Rebecca Wettemann, Nucleus Research

-- "Before you sign on, do a clear assessment of how difficult it is to get your data out."

-- Find out if there are proprietary tools required to move your data.

-- Make sure you know about any fees for data migration.

-- Look for specific terms in the contract covering migration.

Henry Baltazar, The 451 Group

-- Ask for a provision that says you can get your data put on a removable hard drive and sent to you at the end of the contract.

Ben Woo, IDC

-- Don't outsource primary storage. Use a hybrid strategy so primary storage is rapidly available from in-house infrastructure.

-- Ask the same questions about your cloud provider's data center as you would about your own: Backup routine? Generator?

Greg McGovern, CTO, Adventist Health

-- Make sure the service fits your organization's data management strategy.

-- Try to use open file formats if possible.

-- Go through regular exercises to make sure you can retrieve your data.

-- Make sure you get a service level agreement that suits how you'll need to use the data.

-- "You should never outsource something until you are confident that they can actually take better care of your stuff than you can."

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