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Data Recovery from the Cloud: Ask the Right Questions

When choosing an enterprise cloud storage provider, getting what you need to keep your business up and running boils down to asking the right questions. One of the most important contingencies to plan for is data recovery after data loss or erroneous changes to your data. With an in-house data server, you can quickly respond to data loss by taking action on your own hardware. But with a cloud provider, there may be thousands of miles and several layers of agency separating you from your data. When sizing up a business cloud storage provider, make sure you cover the following important topics.
Data Recovery Plans for All Situations
During sales consultations, cloud providers will likely promise you the moon in terms of protecting your data. This is often done in vague or staged terms, but you can often get more hard information by asking them to walk you through a few different scenarios. For example, ask how the cloud storage provider would help you recover your data if you were only looking to restore one file from a certain point time. Also ask them what could be done if you wanted to do a system-wide data restoration. This may reveal important details about how the cloud storage provider backs up your data and retains file histories. Ask for specifics about how many versions or snapshots they keep. For example, some companies may offer versioning for up to 30 days, or up to a certain amount of disk space. Others may simply overwrite your data with your new data each time, making it impossible to roll back.
Who Owns the Hardware? Who Has Access?
Similar to shared web hosting, your physical data will usually be written to hardware that’s not owned by you. In many cases, it may not even be owned by the service provider. Instead, it’ll be controlled by a data center that caters to scores of other service providers and end users. This can become problematic if you need to get access to the drives where your data is stored for data recovery purposes.
Ask about this upfront. You may be able to work out an arrangement where you lease or purchase disk drives or storage servers dedicated to your business. On another note, this may also enable you to store confidential data or data that must be purged on a certain schedule.
Rapid Data Recovery
Recovering a handful of files over an Internet connection isn’t typically too time consuming. But if there is a site-wide catastrophe that knocks out terabytes worth of data or the Internet connection itself, you’ll want some options for rapid data recovery. See if your cloud provider can provide a “data shuttle,” which is basically a copy of your company’s data made on-site at the cloud provider and physically delivered to your business. Ask if they can offer this, how fast they can turn it around and how much they would charge for a one-off service during emergencies.
In addition to asking these questions, it’s a good idea to bring in a third-party data recovery consultant with you to meetings. Find a group that is experienced with data recovery from the cloud and have them ask the right questions to the data provider. This covers your bases ahead of time and ensures that the professionals that you hire to recover your data from the cloud have all the access and information they need.


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