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Confusion Reigns On Cloud Storage, Backup: Page 2 of 2

When it comes to backup services where the cloud hosts the storage, application code, software configuration and operations staff, enterprises must look at what devices are accessing the service and what kind of data. Understanding data sources can guide an enterprise to the right cloud backup service, but it’s also important to consider recovery time and recovery point objectives. It’s one thing to safeguard data; it’s another thing to make sure it’s available. Enterprises should also look for any enterprise cloud or backup service that integrates into pre-existing credential systems.

The survey found that data portability--namely, the ability to move data between the cloud and on-premises--was a key requirement for enterprises. Availability, security, and support for customized information management and retention policies were also important. Features such as data compression, deduplication or unlimited capacity were not deemed as important requirements by users.

Across all segments, security was fairly uniform in that all of the cloud services that responded to the survey use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for network access and all encrypt stored data. All of the services operate in SAS 70-compliant facilities, but not all are FIPS 140-2-compliant.

Service support hours and contractual obligations are naturally something enterprises need to bear in mind when selecting cloud storage backup: The lower-priced products tend to have business-hour support, while enterprise-oriented, mission-critical offerings will be available 24/7. Enterprises should also look beyond the SLA and take into account any service provider’s integrity, stability and veracity. After all, you’re storing information that is the lifeblood of your organization.

Ultimately, Marko writes, there are four key considerations for enterprises turning to the cloud for storage backup:

• Define your cloud storage goals: Are you looking just to backup or do you need to share and collaborate? And with what devices?

• Balance the compromises between do-it-all suites and purpose-built services: Consider use cases and access methods.

• Align the service price to the value and timelessness of the data: Recently used data needs service with higher reliability and shorter recovery time objectives compared with long-term archiving.

• Remember mobile devices: Whether you’re just backing up data or sharing and collaborating, support for mobile devices is critical, and many vendors have mobile apps that enable both backup and synchronization.

Finally, there’s pricing. All vendors offer monthly subscription pricing with an average price of 25 cents per gigabyte per month. Enterprises should not be blinded by low pricing per gigabyte. Costs will add up as your volume increases or as you layer on services, so a total cost of ownership calculation is an essential part of evaluating cloud storage.

Learn more about Buyer's Guide: Cloud Storage, Backup and Synchronization Vendor Responses by subscribing to Network Computing Pro Reports (free, registration required).