Cloud computing offers flexibility and elasticity, and with the rapid growth of data, most organizations are using cloud services in some form or another. Gartner recently forecasted global public-cloud revenue will grow by over 21 percent this year and that the fastest-growing segment, cloud system infrastructure, would grow by over 35 percent, reaching more than $40 billion.
Despite the cloud’s plethora of business benefits, organizations must find the right “cloud balance.” Some may be using the cloud effectively while others could be racking up high costs, leaving data at risk, breaking GDPR legislation or violating other regulations. For many organizations, creating a balanced infrastructure is essential; with a hybrid middle ground, they can employ the best of both public-cloud and on-premises technology.
Cloud services provide a multitude of benefits, but it’s also important to remain vigilant and realistic by considering what data is stored where. By keeping unstructured, cold data in the cloud for long periods, businesses can face costly invoices. They pay on the basis of capacity and as the amount of space they need increases, so does the cost. What originally seemed cost effective can quickly spiral with monthly costs increasing. By removing older data, organizations can take back control of the growing invoices. Many businesses retain information for a number of years for reasons such as backup, data mining and compliance. This information would be best suited to an on-premises appliance, freeing up cloud capacity.
In addition to cost, a number of data threats can arise when using public-cloud services. Although the cloud can offer data resilience through erasure coding—a form of protection that breaks information up, codes each file and stores it in multiple locations—it’s a limited technique and will only safeguard information in the event of a rare on-site disaster or hardware failure. The cloud lacks the comprehensive features to protect against human error, malicious attack, ransomware, malware of all kinds and software corruption.
This approach may be suitable for some data, but highly sensitive information needs additional protection and may be unsuitable for the cloud. Organizations must consider what data is stored where. Although taking advantage of the cloud for flexibility and freedom is important, combining it with an on-premises solution for archiving cold data or adding extra of data protection will allow businesses to create a finer-tuned architecture. In addition, they can still enjoy flexibility despite moving data, because the on-premises links can still reside in the cloud for easy access.
Security concerns top the list for many organizations, and by bringing the most critical information back on premises, they can ensure more control and peace of mind. With on-premises architecture, they can look for solutions that provide comprehensive security features such as audit integrity, file fingerprinting and ransomware protection. Protecting data from external threats is critical, but maintaining file integrity will help keep data safe and comply with legislation. For these organizations, such as government agencies, law enforcement, call centers, health-care systems and legal firms, ensuring this level of security is critical. But security isn’t a concern only for those under regulations; with ransomware attacks and high-profile outages hitting the headlines, many businesses risk damaging their reputation.
Finding the perfect balance can help organizations use the best of both worlds. The cloud brings a range of benefits that are ideal for today’s workforce, but security and cost are important as well. By implementing an architecture that complements the cloud, organizations can reap the benefits of flexibility, security, control and freedom. We’ve seen the industry talk about the cloud versus on premises, but employing both brings a far greater range of benefits.
About the Author
Gary Watson is founder and CTO of Nexsan.