The Cloud Risk You Should Never Forget About
As an MSP, risk is not something you take lightly – not for yourself and certainly not for your clients. This is especially true in the realm of cloud-based file sharing. But as a recent event taught us, risk isn’t always about encryption and password strength. In this case, the risk is that your cloud provider goes out of business.
If this happens (as it did here) and you are not prepared, you’ll be asking yourself a number of troubling questions. Does my client actually own their data? When was the last time it was backed up? How will the transition process work? How much time do I have to make the transition and how much will it cost? Before we address these questions, let’s take a look at a real-world example from the story mentioned above:
When cloud provider Nirvanix Inc. first announced it was closing its doors last month, IAC/InterActiveCorp. IT director Marc Morales, was unsure how much time he had to transfer his data to another vendor. The form email sent by the faltering vendor on Sept. 17th said he had until Oct. 15 to remove his 70 terabytes of data from Nirvanix servers. But Mr. Morales had read other accounts in the media indicating he would only have until the end of September before service was cut entirely. Either way, as rumors about the company spread, no one at Nirvanix responded to Mr. Morales’s inquiries.
Could something similar happen to you and peer MSPs? Hopefully not, but it never hurts to be prepared. With that in mind, here are a few tips to consider:
- Health check: When researching a cloud technology (or any technology for that matter) it’s not just about features, functionalities and cost. There’s also that small matter of the company’s financial health. How long have they been around? How many employees do they have? Is the company profitable, losing money or running on VC dollars? You don’t need to become Jim Cramer, but you should be considering a company’s financial prospects when performing your due diligence.
- Data recovery & backup policies: Ideally, your client data is encrypted with private keys to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands if/when the company goes out of business. At the very least, however, you’ll want your cloud provider to backup your data at regular intervals (some cloud-based file sharing providers offer real-time data backup). It goes without saying that if your clients don’t have a business-class file sharing system, then they probably don’t even own their data to begin with. Then you really have something to worry about.
- Support: When a cloud provider goes out of business, are you on your own when it comes to the transition (as was the case with the IT admin above)? Or does the company offer some kind of assistance? If so, how involved are they? Time is of the essence during a transition such as this, so make sure your cloud provider is able to act quickly.
The bottom line here is this: Just because a cloud provider goes out of business, doesn’t meant your clients have to as well. Have you gone through a similar process recently? If so, be sure to share your own tips in the comments section below.