5 Questions to Ask Vendors When Your Data Is Stored in the “Cloud”

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One of the biggest problems we see with clients and prospects is the lack of understanding when it comes to their data stored in the “Cloud”.  Sales and marketing folks are good at selling it as a solution to all of your IT problems. They’ll say, “don’t worry about backups anymore” or “fire your IT folks because you don’t need them” or better yet, “you’re covered because we backup with a cutting edge system”.

You need to ask these questions:

  1. Who is responsible for my data?
  1. What is being backed up?
  1. Where is the backup located?
  1. Why is this data important?
  1. How is it being backed up?

You’ll be surprised how quickly you hit roadblocks in acquiring this information.  I totally get it that most of these data centers are in highly secure, compliant, professionally managed, geographically distributed locations; but, how do you know for sure without asking basic questions?

Recently, I found out from a client that a bunch of their legacy data was not uploaded from their old on-premise database to the new SaaS (i.e. Cloud based system).  They were looking for data from over four years ago. The vendor just assumed that the client was going to keep an old archive of the database to store if they ever needed it.  Guess what?  They didn’t.  The backup data was being overwritten after three months.  Luckily, we were able to extract data from an old workstation.  However, the five questions must be answered to have a complete picture of your data.  Just because a vendor or your internal IT says that things are “all set” doesn’t mean they are.  Data is the lifeblood of every organization so it’s important to continue to ask the key questions: who, what, where, why, and how.

P.S. – Read the fine print on agreements. In there you will find legalese that let’s vendors off the hook for disaster (or at very little compensation to you).