Data Protection and Data Privacy are two of the biggest ‘hot button’ issues of the modern world and cloud computing and storage have been particularly helpful on both these fronts. Today, both as individuals and as organizations, massive amounts of sensitive personal information can be stored on the Cloud and accessed globally – at any given instance!
For even a medium scaled organization, there is a huge amount of highly sensitive data – that includes the personal and financial information of employees and customers that needs to be adequately stored and protected. Even the slightest lapse can lead to a catastrophic loss of confidence in the organization’s ability to safeguard the privacy and security of its stakeholders.
To make matters even harder, organizations are required by law to retain or store this information for a predefined amount of time – subsequent to any business transaction.
Until recently, the most favored method of securing this data was for the Organization to store it on a personalized and ‘on-premise’ server. While on paper this might suggest that an organization enjoys full control of its data, on-premise servers come with several drawbacks:
1. On-premise servers of any kind require a very substantial initial investment which very often smaller organizations struggle to put up. The expenses do not stop at this point though, as these servers are extremely expensive to operate and require a highly trained and ever-vigilant crew to run them.
2. The fact that on-premise solutions have to be developed specifically and uniquely for each organization, makes them drastically less scalable. Even after a server such as this is onboarded, the organization needs to spend an inordinate amount of time, attention, and money in making sure that it matches/fulfills its objectives. This ‘inflexibility’ also presents several hurdles when an organization is looking to grow or expand, as on-premise servers are often incompatible with distributed environments.
3. This also presents further challenges if an organization changes its IT infrastructure or Environment at any stage of its journey – something that most modern organizations are increasingly willing to undertake under ‘agile’ frameworks.
Cloud Archiving Solutions help in long-term data retention and are especially effective when it comes to data that is infrequently accessed but which needs to be stored for regulatory compliance.
The effectiveness of these solutions is so visible that today an ever-increasing number of enterprises are moving their data onto a Cloud-based archive.
As any successful business owner would tell you, the benefits of this are several:
1. Cloud Archiving offers theoretically “unlimited” storage:
While there are several cloud-based archiving systems available, most of them offer potentially limitless storage capacities. What are more, organizations storing their data on a cloud-based archive, do not have to worry about equipment upgrades or any form of upkeep to their data centers. This proves to be very cost-effective in the long run. Cold Data is often stored on Public Cloud Archiving services such as Amazon S3 Glacier, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud Archive Storage, which store data for as little as less than a penny per gigabyte.
2. Cloud Archiving offers enormous flexibility:
One of the biggest advantages that a cloud-based archive offers are that the stored data can be accessed from any part of the world at any point in time. While it is true that bringing data down from the cloud can be sometimes a time-consuming and expensive process, most of the stored data is generally of the type that is rarely used.
3. Cloud Archiving provides a high degree of Data Security
A cloud-based archive solution provides several layers of security – designed to keep your data absolutely safe. One of the biggest challenges in securing data is that information needs to be secured on three fronts – Hardware, Software, and Encryption. This is also the reason why organizations that attempt to archive their sensitive data on in-premise servers very often struggle when it comes to data security, as securing all three fronts can be extremely expensive. Cloud-based solutions on the other hand provide ‘multi-layered’ security systems for all data stored on them.
To begin with, all of the data moving in and out of the cloud is managed using secure HTTPS protocols. In addition, most cloud-based providers add a second layer of protection, by encrypting all of the data stored on the cloud. The ‘icing on the cake’ is that customers of such services are given the option of either encrypting their data before uploading it to the cloud or alternately, adding a personalized encryption key to the data once it is uploaded.
4. Cloud-based archives can be a ‘life-saver’ during disasters:
One of the best features of a cloud-based storage solution is that any information stored on the cloud is automatically ‘backed up’ to the cloud’s main data center. This means even if your company’s main servers crash or fail, your data will remain safe and sound on the cloud – accessible to you from anywhere in the world.
5. Cloud Archiving allows for improved organization and cataloging of data:
Cloud-based archives were designed to help an organization meet its data regulations and as a result, they come equipped with several features including the ability to set data retention periods and the ability to track, categorize and report data usage.
We are now at a stage where the benefits of Cloud-Based Archiving solutions are undeniable and every year, an ever-increasing number of organizations move their data over to the cloud. With a plethora of vendors available who can all provide this form of service, it is important to choose one that best aligns with your business needs and objectives.