Not So Fast!
Best Argument: Not So Fast!
It just makes sense
There is no evidence to suggest cloud storage and backup services are less safe than local alternatives. That is especially true when you consider for many SMBs, the alternative has been a limited data management and archiving plan – due to the complexity and expense of many on-premise solutions.
Like another other technology investment -- whether it is on-premise or in the cloud -- a truly safe cloud backup plan must be backed up by a real business strategy and commitment.
Small businesses must do their diligence when selecting a cloud storage and backup provider. Look for real security (including encryption) and serious bandwidth support. Make sure the cloud provider has its own backup and disaster recovery plan for its servers – the servers on which your data will be housed. And check out the financial backing of the provider to make sure it has a long-term future.
But here is the crux of the matter: The cloud allows small businesses to get a grip on the value of their data and take steps to safeguard it and share it like never before.
The cloud is not safe
Heather is one of the IT authorities I respect most at ZDNet. I regularly read her columns, discover new and important things, and learn to think with a more informed perspective.
That said, and with all due respect to a favorite colleague, I have to tell you that not only is she wrong in this regard, she's dangerously wrong.
The cloud is not safe. First, the cloud isn't just one cloud. The cloud is made up of many different companies, with different infrastructures, agendas, skill sets, levels of funding, and degrees of dedication. Some cloud providers are very good, and some, quite frankly, are terrible.
It's not that you should avoid the cloud, it's that you shouldn't rely only on the cloud. Think about how important your company and your livelihood is, how important the livelihood and trust of all your employees is, and then take the small extra effort necessary to split your backups among different methodologies, mediums, and vendors.
A tiered backup strategy that divides your eggs among a number of baskets is the only truly responsible backup strategy.
Proceed with caution!
This is a difficult debate to score because the primary question, whether cloud storage and backup is safe, is perhaps a bit more complicated than it implies. In reality -- and I'm not copping out here -- cloud storage and backup may or may not be safe depending on your business and the inherent interdependencies that must always be considered.
At a basic level, yes, many cloud providers now offer more security and other measures than many if not most businesses are able to provide on-premise. In addition to security there are the issues of access, redundancy, scalability, and perhaps most of all, expertise. Cloud storage and backup solutions are purpose-built and providers expend a lot of resources making sure it's safe so they can win more customers.
For the most part, at least in my experience, the cloud is really very safe and actually a very good idea for storage and backup. However, the cloud also requires a certain degree of caution and therefore may be best as a "safeguard," as Heather says, as opposed to the only solution. For this reason, I must say "Not So Fast!" and agree with David Gewirtz. Now is not the time, as David says, "to bet your business or your livelihood...solely on cloud-based storage and backup."
So, at the very least, please proceed with caution.