A matter of trust: The importance of backups in cloud computing

A matter of trust: The importance of backups in cloud computing
Chad Buzzard, Peak 10’s Director of Cloud Infrastructure, has a long history of IT operations leadership as well as hands-on expertise. In his current role, Chad oversees Peak 10’s vast and rapidly growing cloud infrastructure. This includes storage, compute, and the converged network in addition to infrastructure management services such as data protection and disaster recovery as a service. Chad assisted Peak 10 in moving to a converged infrastructure approximately three years ago and deals with the challenges of rapidly evolving technology and scale every day. Prior to Peak 10, Chad has worked at Cisco Systems and LendingTree.


Strong security is a foundational element of every public, private and hybrid cloud implementation and will be a top concern for all businesses as part of a macro trend taking grip in 2015. Research shows that 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the past two years – calling into question not only data storage, but also data safety.

When it comes to security in the cloud, disaster recovery (DR), backup and latency are crucial elements, In fact, reports show that for 60 percent of businesses, data loss is a result of not having a fully documented DR plan. That’s why it is important for the customer to understand the difference between simple backups, data replication and a comprehensive DR plan with RTO/RPO that complements the larger business continuity plan (BC) – something that is quickly becoming a compliance necessity, especially in healthcare and ecommerce industries. Archival data, data at rest and data under compliance retention requirements are the types of data that are ideal for the cloud because fast access and high-performance retrieval are not usually requirements and low-cost storage and back-up methods work perfectly well.

A cloud provider invested in a customer’s success can also help ensure businesses develop an effective, tailored and secure IT solution to prevent loss. Atlanta-based electronic health care aggregation company, Wellcentive, for example, protected and backed up data by adopting a hybrid mix of virtualized and collocated servers with Peak 10, overall strengthening its IT business solutions, strengthening its relationship with service providers and providing safety and security to its diverse client base.

Creating a cloud storage and backup strategy forces a company to reassess its storage requirements, and to evaluate the relative values of data and applications to the business. Only then can it provision the correct combination of protection, access, and storage type best matched to its requirements, legal obligations and budget. Furthermore, the ability of a cloud vendor to quickly and effectively identify and respond to any type of security threat or an actual breach is absolutely critical to security, protecting the customer’s data assets and minimizing data loss and downtime. A cloud provider/MSP should readily be able to provide its DR and business continuity plan that can include some of the following criteria:

  • A definitive response time and latency involved in responding to both the incident itself and informing the business of any issues
  • The specific methods and mechanisms used to identify any emergency
  • The types of security emergencies the provider is equipped to manage
  • The duration of an emergency that the cloud vendor can sustain and the specific processes for failover/fail back to the primary operations mode
  • How the cloud provider’s internal security practitioners will respond, react and communicate with each other to respond to and resolve the issue and take the necessary remedial actions, and how that will be communicated back to the customer

Suffice to say, backups in the cloud are instrumental to a business’s overall productivity and functionality, but it is important not to forget the underlying foundation of any successful partnership – trust. A provider that incorporates this aspect into its operational practices, and goes to extraordinary efforts to ensure the customer gets what he or she is expecting to, and provides a unique solution with optimal efficiency will be better prepared to not only employ thorough backup but also, proactively handle any security mishap.

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