Stepping into the Cloud

There’s still a lot of misinformation out there about ‘Cloud’, with many people misusing the term or not fully understanding the benefits of using Cloud services and recent developments or improvements in cloud-based offerings, writes Foreshore. 

Selecting the right Cloud solution should lead to your data being kept safe at the same time reducing expenditure. 

The first widespread misconception is that because the Cloud offers sophisticated, flexible solutions, this must come at a high price, yet reputable suppliers are now offering highly cost-effective options and supplying utility-like services based on monthly ‘per-user’ fees with no lock-in period. Organisations no longer have to spend thousands of dollars purchasing their own disaster recovery hardware, as many Cloud services are now better equipped to provide that disaster recovery for them at a lower cost.  


No data protection risk 

Corporate data is now able to be accessed on multiple devices, anytime, anywhere, and remains protected in the event of any interruption to normal services. Case in point, Foreshore Cloud services managed to provide uninterrupted service through the devastation of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. 

A common concern, however, is the risk that others might be able to access their information if it is held in the Cloud. Some companies fear that this could put them at risk of data protection infringement, the recent PRISM revelations seem to support this. It is therefore extremely important that your chosen cloud provider is in the right jurisdiction and with appropriate data protection safeguards. Furthermore, providers should offer data security and encryption services to all third parties within the Cloud infrastructure.  

Chief Commercial Officer of Foreshore Andy Jarrett, has this to say: “Unlike some jurisdictions, Jersey has not implemented the type of legislation that grants statutory or warrantless rights to the interception and seizure of data in the same way as the USA PATRIOT act or the RIPA (Regulations of Investigatory Powers Act) in the UK.”  

He continues: “A third party may seek to gain access to customer information but can only attempt to do so with a court order. Even if an order was served on Foreshore, as a data processor, rather than data controller, the company is incapable of disclosing information that it cannot access. Information processed by Foreshore is in an encrypted form (and is therefore not able to be viewed by us) and, even if inadvertently disclosed, it would be of no value to the third party as it would be indecipherable.”  

Notwithstanding these new levels of data protection, there are still those that feel Cloud services only offer a short-term solution and middle-ground data recovery. However, the Cloud actually offers far greater flexibility than people realise and it is becoming standard practice for businesses to work alongside a cloud service provider that understands the importance of data domicile and can develop solutions that are tailor-made to a company’s specific requirements. 


Seamless disaster recovery 

Traditional disaster recovery solutions are complex to set up, requiring dedicated infrastructure, the right software and a form of backup or replication than can move data to a secondary site. 

Cloud, with the delivery and storage options it provides, often as a pay as you go monthly service, provides an alternative disaster recovery solution with the option for businesses to outsource some or all of their remote server hardware to cloud delivered virtual servers. These virtual servers and networks are created through user-friendly management portals reducing management time as well as company expenditure. Cloud delivered services are continually updated by service providers, meaning that clients take advantage of the latest enhancement, which lead to backup efficiencies and maintains the latest security released enabling the upkeep of consistent communication channels with clients and employees in different locations and jurisdictions.  


The SaaS and DRaaS PAYG Model 

The Cloud can be private, public or hybrid and these various models offer the flexibility required in order to operate successfully for a range of individuals or companies and their needs. With capacity demands increasing and higher expectations for business flexibility, the time has come for businesses to get a proper taste of cloud technology.  

SaaS offers clients the flexibility of scalable business solutions without upgrading or replacing outdated equipment and can be presented as a pay-as-you-go model.  

Email is one area that is consistently under threat from external problems such as spam or viruses. The need for a safe and secure, easily searchable system with archiving and storage facilities is essential to any businesses continuity plan. Mimecast has developed a cloud-based email solution that steps in to automatically deliver a seamless and uninterrupted email service in the event of a disaster. 

Meanwhile, Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service allows enterprises to host the production environment within their own data centre or with a third party. If an enterprise lacks disaster recovery specialists among its staff, a third-party team of DRaaS specialists can establish, configure and test an effective plan. In the event of an actual disaster they are less likely to suffer the direct and immediate effects of that disaster than the enterprise itself, thus allowing the DRaaS provider to manage the disaster recovery process, even in the event of a total, or near-total, shutdown of the affected enterprise. 

To have a skilled team of experts that are solely responsible for the round the clock management of your data from a network operations centre, would be an invaluable asset to any business; freeing up your organisation’s ICT professionals to focus on the core day-to-day running of your company. Cloud services traditionally offer the option of a managed service, meaning that a combination of backups and replication that are regularly monitored, tested and reported back to you, leaving you safe in the knowledge that the service is meeting required and agreed service levels in the background. Combining the ability to scale, process and manage data utilising a team of experts and the latest technologies, cloud companies are able to deliver disaster recovery as a managed service at a fraction of the cost it would incur if done in-house. 

Polly Pickering, VP of the Caribbean and Latin America for Foreshore, concludes: “Our Disaster Recovery as a Service model has been a revolutionary success in the region. Clients no longer have to provision disaster recovery infrastructure based on predicted peak workloads, which is inefficient and costly. We understand the business implications of technology changes in terms of data security and jurisdiction and the importance of data remaining in an approved jurisdiction with infrastructure managed 24/365 by professionals.”