By Suresh Shanmugam, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies
June 14, 2013

Vembu Online Data Backup Expert Tips: A Checklist for Selecting a Cloud Backup Service – Part I

Selecting a cloud backup service that meets all your organization needs is a very complex problem. You need to examine a number of parameters before you make your selection. Having a good checklist with guideline answers is always a good starting point. Here is a checklist you could use:

1. Who owns the data that is stored in the cloud?
You do. The data stored in the cloud is encrypted (the encryption key should preferably always be kept by the customer) and remains inaccessible to the service provider unless the service provider is specifically authorized for access in the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the customer. However, the service provider needs to own the IP address on which the service runs, and have programmatic access to the data for enhancing the quality of services provided to you.

2. What kind of Privacy, security and Data Protection should be provided?
Check whether the cloud backup service provider is SAS 70 (SSAE 16) certified. This certification ensures that the service provider’s policies and practices are in compliance with SAS 70 (SSAE 16) audits. This ensures that your service provider has taken care of security, privacy and data protection needs of your organization.

You need to ensure that your service provider uses bank grade or military grade impregnable encryption wherever possible. The encryption key should preferably be user defined and available only with you.

Finally, you must test and satisfy yourself that the cloud service helps you comply with the extant legal mandates, such as HIPAA, PCI DSS Level 1 etc. You must additionally check whether the service implements “access logging” and encryption that will satisfy legal compliance audits of your data.

3. What is the kind of uptime promised?
Read the Service Level Agreement (SLA) carefully to understand what kind of uptime is offered. If your service promises a 99.999% uptime, you need to check out whether they have delivered on their promise in the past. Ask for an uptime report for the last 6-12 months.

Check out what measures have been taken by the service provider to deliver on this promise. Have they replicated the data to geographically dispersed servers for guarding against disaster and primary server failures? Have they created failover clusters, hot sites, disaster recovery sites etc? Can you hook up to your database over the Internet for “bare metal recovery” or for business continuity? Can you meet your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO)?

In Part II, we will further discuss main factors you need to consider when selecting cloud backup services.

About the Author: Suresh Shanmugam, Product Marketing at Vembu Technologies, a leader in providing cost effective, hybrid (on-premise and cloud) data protection and business focused online backup and disaster recovery solutions for ISPs, MSPs, VARs, Managed Hosting Providers and Educational Institutions. Vembu’s flagship product, StoreGrid, recently announced an advanced upgrade – “StoreGrid SP – 4.3“ releases.

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