So you want to move to the cloud

The first 10 seconds of the video below are worth many words.  If you’re putting your data in the cloud, you’d better have a good path to it.  Infrasupport can help.  See firewalls.


IAAS, PAAS, (Infrastructure, Platform, and pretty much everything else As A Service) are among today’s most popular tech buzzwords.  The appeal is tempting on its surface – get rid of the hassle of managing servers and computers and possibly (but not always) shave some infrastructure cost.

What does it mean, to put your IT infrastructure in the cloud?  The general answer means locating some or all of it somewhere else and trusting a third party with it.  The concept is not new.  Today’s cloud services were called timesharing bureaus in an earlier generation.

Just as in earlier generations, today’s savvy business owners have learned, there ain’t no free lunch.  This applies to cloud services.

And that leads to security, properly defined as the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer system data, which is a broader definition than what we read in press articles.

Many vendors offer cloud services and some have excellent reputations.  But before taking the plunge, make sure you have solid answers about the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of your data.  Your organization’s survival may depend on it.

Confidentiality – Your data will reside outside your walls and maybe outside your country.  Even if all access is encrypted and running on virtual machines you control, what assurances can the cloud provider give you that nobody will improperly access your data?

In one famous case in 2009, remotely deleted some digital editions of “Animal Farm” and “1984″ by George Orwell from the Kindle devices of readers who bought them.  Details here with a PDF copy of the New York Times article here.  Amazon acted honorably and reimbursed customers and admitted the mistake.  But the incident highlighted an inherent conflict with all cloud providers.  Your data is under their roof and they have the technological means to access it.

More recently, the ongoing revelations about NSA spying put the confidentiality issue front and center again.  No matter what ironclad business policies any cloud provider puts in place, what can stop a government agency or internal rogue from improperly accessing your data?

Given this reality, how does any cloud provider earn your trust?

Integrity – Reputable cloud providers generally offer hardware and geographical redundancy.  If a tornado wipes out one data center, a recent copy of your application can probably be up and running in a reasonable amount of time somewhere else.  But what about normal backups?  What happens if somebody accidentally deletes an important file?  How do you recover it?  If you’re running an application in the cloud and your database becomes scrambled, who fixes it?

Availability – No matter how well the cloud provider data centers are set up, they’re useless to you if you can’t reach them.  Before the cloud, your onramp to the Internet was nice to have.  After the cloud, that onramp is your lifeline.  If that onramp closes, your organization stops functioning.  But Internet connections are different than highways.  You can bring in a backup onramp to the Internet, but you’ll need a more sophisticated firewall to use it.  Consider using an Infrasupport firewall for this.  If your primary Internet connection drops, an Infrasupport firewall can handle it and keep your organization running.

This could save you a fortune.  And maybe even your whole business.

If you’re considering moving your organization to the cloud, make smart decisions.  Contact us.  We can help.