Can you trust “The Cloud”?

Can you trust “The Cloud”?

The short answer is, “it depends”.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive delve into the finer technical points, but rather a primer as you do other research. Some of my clients have expressed reservations about having their data “in the cloud”.

What is it? In a nutshell, the cloud in most cases mean some company has a set of servers in a secure datacenter, somewhere, and it is set up to store your data securely. Typically, these datacenters are located where large “backbones”, or internet connections, come together in major cities. They are protected physically from unauthorized entry, they are climate controlled, and have redundant internet connections, generators for backup power, etc.

So, rather than you having to replicate that infrastructure locally in your office, you have the option to back up your data to the cloud. Now that internet speeds are so much higher, you can move large amounts of data off-site.

So how does it work? Typically, and similar to online banking transactions, your data is encrypted before it is sent. Despite what you see in the movies, there more than likely isn’t some hacker in a basement of an abandoned warehouse somewhere stealing all of your data and decrypting it with his laptop. The nature of the encryption used is that it would take literally years even with very powerful supercomputers to decrypt your data. Once it is encrypted, your data is sent over the internet to one or more of these datacenters. There it is stored, with many redundancies in place to protect it from every manner of catastrophe imaginable.

For those extra concerned about privacy, what you want is a service that is what’s called “zero knowledge”. Basically, some cloud backup solutions could potentially have employees at the data center that could see your data if they really wanted to, and some solutions are encrypted even at the datacenter. The upside of this is increased privacy, especially for things like financial data, military contractors, etc. The downside is that if you lose your password to decrypt your data, it’s gone forever.

When evaluating a cloud backup provider, here is what I personally look for:

-“Feel” – my gut tells me when looking at their website if they are respectable.
-Detail – Where are their datacenter(s) located? The more detail they share, the better.
-Reachability – Do they hide their phone number, or make you submit a ticket for basic sales questions? Red flag.
-Support – When I ask a salesperson technical questions, how do they respond? Do they defer to a more technically trained colleague and introduce me, or do they try and BS their way through?
-Price – In most things, including backup, the last thing I consider is price. Rather than comparing the price of having a backup solution vs not having a backup solution, you should really be comparing the price of having a backup solution vs the cost to recreate all of your data. Certainly, factor in pricing differences between different similar backup solutions, but you really want to think in terms of the costs associated with losing all of your data. It’s that important.

Is your data being backed up? Are you sure? If not, feel free to reach out to us and we will do a free evaluation.

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