Cloud storage and backup: Is it safe?

Moderated by Josh Gingold | February 20, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (23:00 PST)

Summary: SMBs should carefully consider the viability of cloud storage and backup services -- or they could lose important company data.

Heather Clancy

Heather Clancy

It's Safe

or

Not So Fast!

David Gewirtz

David Gewirtz

Best Argument: Not So Fast!

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Safer than the status quo

Heather Clancy: Many SMBs have been playing Russian roulette with their data, opting for the most rudimentary storage and archiving procedures. Or none at all.

Cloud storage services are rewriting the status quo, with some research firms predicting a 26 percent growth in adoption over the next several years among the SMB set.

Cloud storage services are safer than the naysayers suggest, if managed properly. In fact, cloud storage services are helping many SMBs craft meaningful business continuity plans for the very first time. In many cases, these services are far more cost-effective than on-site solutions.

Cloud storage services also allow teams to get to important files from virtually anywhere, using a Web browser, smartphone, media tablet or desktop application. That is a big plus when it comes to mobility, business process innovation and the need to collaborate.

Is it safe for SMBs to use cloud services? Here’s the real question: Is it safe for them not to use them?

More from Heather Clancy:

Practice local backup

David Gewirtz: Cloud storage and cloud-based backups can be wonderful resources for individuals and small businesses. I use them myself.


The issue, though, is whether you should rely on them. Put another way, should you bet your business or your livelihood (or even your family's most cherished memories) solely -- solely -- on cloud-based storage and backup?

The answer to that is a resounding "NO!"

If you rely solely on a cloud service provider, you're putting all your eggs in one basket. Many cloud providers are still in early-stage funding. Many have changeable policies. Many charge so little, they're completely unresponsive to customers in trouble. Some simply just go out of business.

So my message to you is to consider cloud backup providers, but make them just one part of your strategy. Make sure you practice local backup as well.

Otherwise, you may be stuck in a cloud with no silver lining.

More from David Gewirtz:

Talkback

35 comments
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  • It's safe. Well...sort of.

    If you have data on a device that connects to the web, it's not 100 percent safe. Online storage and backup is no more or less safe than local backup and storage on a connected device.
    WozNotWoz
    Reply Vote I'm for It's Safe
    • RE: Cloud storage and backup: Is it safe?

      @WozNotWoz

      Not exactlly, I have a large degree of control on what happens on my local storage. I have no control over the service provider hiring a kid fresh out of school that makes a huge mistake or the hundreds of things that can go wrong.
      NoAxToGrind
      Reply 1 Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
      • *BINGO*

        One can either own or lease the space.

        And the moment one lease's it, as I recently read, there is no "total cost of ownership" any longer. No equity, no control - or any real control, you're delegating it to somebody who may or may not have individual interest in mind or in heart, because they are too busy thinking about their own survival (undercutting competition, which means corners get cut along the way...)

        Never mind Terms of Service agreements... once lawyers become cheap then everybody can afford one and everybody will need one... see "undercutting competition" above for more...
        HypnoToad72
        Reply 1 Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
  • IT Support

    It depends on the data being stored. If you take data that NEVER be breached. Then , no, it's not safe. However, most data, with the proper backup, does not fall into that category because the chances of a breach are so low and the potential damage is not that high. Most <a href="http://www.thetechinfogroup.com/">IT Support</a> companies recommend the use of cloud hosting.
    joestratfield
    Reply Vote I'm for It's Safe
    • RE: Cloud storage and backup: Is it safe?

      @joestratfield

      "Most IT Support companies recommend the use of cloud hosting." I certainly wouldn't as a professional working in this field. It is anything but safe.
      johnukguy
      Reply 1 Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
    • Most IT support companies?

      Apart from Geitner Group*, which sources have bothered to ask every single IT support company to get a proper consensus?

      * and I doubt they asked every IT support company as well... that gets expensive, trying to remain ethical when agendas sound cooler...
      HypnoToad72
      Reply Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
  • RE: Cloud storage and backup: Is it safe?

    I think it is safe as it can be, given the fact that most connections can or will be either Fiber Channels with dedicated links or in a controlled environments as a private cloud internally. Realistic, nothing in this world is actually safe, but the key concept is prevention. If it's set up correctly, it can be an effective tool with miminal down time. This also includes the CIA triangle.
    MilitaryGeek
    Reply Vote I'm for It's Safe
    • RE: Cloud storage and backup: Is it safe?

      @MilitaryGeek

      It's the CIA Triad and I do wish people would stop touting it as a model for security. It simply isn't. It's just a bigger target than most.
      johnukguy
      Reply 1 Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
      • I'll show you mine if you show me yours

        Links to articles supporting actual evidence to these claims everybody makes, that is.

        What's a "CIA Triad", apart from the old song sung by Jefferson Airplane some 45 years ago?
        HypnoToad72
        Reply Vote I'm for Not So Fast!
  • Cloud storage is only safe until the government shuts down your provider

    Once the government pulls a "Mega-Shutdown" on your provider you are out of luck. And the way things are going you never know who is going to be shutdown next.
    sismoc
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for Not So Fast!