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How can the storage industry prevent cloud bursts?

Out of sight, out of mind - but not out of harm's way

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The industry has to bootstrap itself

We're in a hole with some untrustworthy cloud storage service providers and no easy way to identify them until they foul up and lose your data. The various approaches to this topic range from "Tough; deal with it", through "Verify all the way", "Rely on contracted SLAs", the industry setting up a code of conduct, threat-based policing by a trade body, up to the State regulating and policing the area.

The ultimate backstop is a code of conduct with state regulation. But this is unlikely, isn't it? Possibly it's more likely in the EC - with its more nanny state approach - but we can't see it happening in the USA. It would be an element of big government rejected by many policy makers. They'd say that general data isn't money: a cloud service provider is not a bank or financial institution and people and businesses won't get ruined if they fail.

To which we in the storage industry would say 'wake up and smell the coffee.' If a business has all its data in the cloud and the service provider fails, that business is ruined.

To inspire reliable trust, the cloud storage industry just has to bootstrap itself and get a grip.

Nirvanix's Foskett puts it like this:

I'm mad, and I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I want every service provider to start now, protecting data, upholding policy, demonstrating operational excellence, and allowing audits. Anyone who doesn't is a disgrace to the industry, and their customers ought to seriously reconsider where they place their data.

For now the advice is to not rely on the cloud for your data storage unless you have contractually enforceable SLAs, and can afford to lose it or spread it across more than one provider. Five final words: "Buyer beware" and "Trust, but verify". ®

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