Make sure your cloud has a silver lining

You want your data to be easily accessible at an affordable cost when you need to recover it.  In addition, the data must be protected against corruption and cyber-attack.  Some companies have chosen to store some of their data with a cloud backup provider, but off-premises data can be as vulnerable to system malfunction, malware and hackers as information stored in the data center. Is there a silver lining against these threats? The answer is yes! Read on to find out how LTO technology can help provide the silver lining for cost-efficiency and protection against data damage.

What is Cloud Storage?

The question may seem obvious but SearchDataBackup describes  it as, “a service model in which data is maintained, managed, backed up remotely and made available to users over a network (typically the Internet).  Clouds are typically found in three forms: public, private and hybrid. Public clouds are third party providers available to ‘tenants’ and follow a usage-based cost model. Private clouds are on the user’s site and are dedicated to protection by the user’s organization. A hybrid cloud is a combination of public and private environments.

Why Choose a Cloud Service?

Cloud services can provide storage and security management. They also have the ability to upgrade as capacity needs escalate. However, there are still issues that can arise.

In the Storage Switzerland article, Can IT do Cloud Storage better than Cloud Providers? George Crump describes how “public cloud has three big challenges that IT needs to reconcile; security, latency and long-term costs.” Latency is the time it takes to send transactions and receive acknowledgements to and from the cloud.  Crump also discussed other topics such as security and long-term costs. Regarding security, Crump states, “An organization’s firewalls, plus similar data encryption, should provide an extra layer of protection for organizations. Of course advancements in compute power and the general creativity of bad actors still require corporate vigilance.” And regarding long-term costs, “The no up-front, periodic billing model of the public cloud does sound good but if you add up those costs over the course of time, many organizations find they could easily have bought their own infrastructure for a fraction of the price.” Crump concluded his article by commenting, “These challenges might be best reconciled by IT creating a cloud storage solution internally; private cloud storage.”  On this note, the LTO Program has provided resources describing the hidden costs of using the public cloud for storing data in the long-term.

In the IDC white paper, Using Tape to Optimize Data Protection Costs and Mitigate the Risk of Ransomware for Data-Centric Organizations, Phil Goodwin warns, “Cloud is not always the answer as its use does not inherently introduce an air gap into the data protection stream. Moreover, attempting to recover large quantities of data from the cloud may be unacceptably long and/or very costly.”

As noted in both the article and white paper, cloud data upload and download times are important and should be verified when striving to meet recovery time objectives. Equally important are cost and data protection matters. So how can LTO tape help to address these two issues?

Why LTO Tape is the Silver Lining for Your Cloud?

Whether you choose to use a public cloud service; whether you create your own internal infrastructure; or whether you utilize a private cloud, make sure you think through data protection and cost control strategies. Any kind of cloud solution is effectively a collection of networked computers and IT assets.  Regardless of where data rests, hackers may try to access it, destroy it or hold it for ransom.  This is where LTO tape fits perfectly into your data protection strategy and gives your cloud solution its silver lining.

For ultimate data protection, effective methods for preventing access must be implemented including: robust anti-virus software, data backup, encryption systems and, most importantly perhaps, data separation.  What is data separation? When data is stored on LTO tape in a library slot or on a shelf, it is separate from connected systems on the network. This means that an “air gap” is created between the tape and computer systems. In other words, there is no connectivity between the offline tape and other devices on the network – preventing access from IT malfunctions, malware and hackers. This tape enabled air gap is the data protection silver lining! In addition, LTO storage technology has been shown to be far less costly than disk or cloud storage as outlined in this total cost of ownership study.  Want to compare LTO tape storage to cloud storage costs? Try out the TCO Calculator Tool.

What Should You Do?

Make sure that you and your data storage service provider are using LTO tape technology to enable the air gap silver lining and a low-cost, long-term storage. Learn more about the recently released LTO-8 technology for the ultimate in storage capacity, cost savings and data preservation.