Public Cloud is a no brainer?

Public cloud backup is a no brainer. Isn’t it?

We’re all guilty of it.

We take a photo on our phone. Back it up up to the cloud via an intuitive app like iCloud, Dropbox or Google Cloud Platform and then forget about it.

Every now and again we might connect our phone to our laptop and plug in a hard drive. But we almost certainly don’t do it every week, let alone every day.

So in an app-centric world, it’s no wonder that business owners might think that cloud backup is a tempting proposition:

  • It’s seamless (just like on our phones),
  • It’s also a cheap option (often with a free threshold followed by pay-as-you-go pricing), and
  • It’s straightforward to use (meaning you don’t need an IT bod to set it up and manage it for you).

Where’s the “but” I hear you ask?

Well, despite the obvious benefits of public cloud backup, it doesn’t take long to find the horror stories. In fact, iCloud itself was at the centre of a major security breach only a few years ago.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a celebrity actor, large enterprise or small business, hackers would love everyone to backup to just a few public cloud providers. That’s because they then only have to find the loopholes in a few security systems.

As the recent Petya and WannaCry incidents showed us, when ransomware attacks occur businesses can grind to a halt. In Japan, carmaker Honda was still struggling with the ransomware worm a month after WannaCry first hit. Without the ability to call on physical data backups you’re left with two options: shut down and fix your entire system or pay the cybercriminals what they want.

So is public cloud safe? Well, we all need to be asking some key questions about our cloud options:

  • Who’s looking after the security? Who can I talk to about any security issues?
  • Whose data is being mixed with mine?
  • How easy is it to get my data back if I want to stop using the service?
  • Whose data is it anyway? Can the cloud provider claim ownership for the data once it resides in their datacentre?

Then there are the technical considerations:

  • Bandwidth restrictions that could slow down access to data
  • No access to data without an internet connection
  • Downloading the cloud service onto all devices to be able to manipulate files locally

Without understanding how the security and technical considerations will affect your business, you could well be entering the unknown. So maybe public cloud isn’t quite the no-brainer it is held up to be.

Especially when you consider that the prime motivation for using public cloud is either cost savings or simplicity.

Any cost savings from public cloud pale in insignificance compared to the costs of a data breach. Checkpoint’s annual ‘Cost of a Data Breach’ study found that in 2016 the “total cost to a company hit by a data breach is a staggering $4 million”. And that’s before you take into account the chance of a whopping big fine from the regulators from 28 May next year under GDPR.

As for the simplicity argument, that’s where FUJITSU ETERNUS CS Data Protection appliances, powered by Intel® Xeon® processors, come in. With the option of integrated CommVault software, uploading to a physical backup device is completely hassle-free.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from recent ransomware attacks, the real no-brainer is backing-up to a location you can completely trust. (And that’s precisely what I intend to do with my photos right now.)