A fact: More and more companies are putting more and more data in to the cloud. Our appetite for data is growing exponentially and that leads to more dependency on cloud service providers. However safe they may seem, it’s short sighted to presume that your cloud provider is disaster-proof as well.

The Cloud has become a nearly mainstream way for companies to manage their data and utilize effective data backup and recovery systems. But the cloud is only as good as the data center that it’s housed in, and as we’ve discussed previously, there’s plenty of variation among data center design that can impact the security and efficiency of your cloud backup or hosting continuity. 

During Super Storm Sandy and the derecho storms on the east coast, we were witness to plenty of website outages credited to data center failures. Regardless of the data center’s common sales pitch boasting of 30 days of diesel generated backup, truth is that without redundant backups to additional locations, one measly super storm can out your entire business.

Be cautious to believe the hype about 30 days of diesel powered backup as that’s not entirely a valid position. It’s nearly operationally impossible for data centers to store more than a couple of days of diesel. Diesel has a fairly short shelf life. If it is not stirred every couple of days, it separates and becomes useless. Most data centers are maintaining only 24 hours of diesel power onsite. Beyond that, they would have to contract with a supplier for replenishment, but in the scenario of a blizzard or hurricane, that obligated diesel truck is not going to get a special pass from the Governor to drive on closed roads and the data center will go dark. Then what does your business located in sunny Phoenix do?

Aside from the operational challenges of a data center weathering Mother Nature’s wrath, there’s another predator that can compromise your data services: hackers. In recent news we’ve learned that the Chinese government is responsible for attacking dozens of American companies and government agencies. Cyber security and our vulnerability to hackers is of preeminent concern. What would happen to your data if an ambitious hacker group wiped out your cloud provider? Do you have a backup plan for that?

Relying on your cloud provider for the continuity of your business is like putting all your eggs in one basket. And what if that basket is of the Bernie Madoff variety, where you aren’t just losing your savings, you’re losing your business and your income. If the cloud provider goes the way of Chinese hackers, Enron or Lehman brothers – you can bet they aren’t going to give you a warning ahead of time. If the cloud provider suddenly can’t pay its bills, all those leased servers will be repossessed – and guess what? You don’t get your data because it’s been repossessed and it doesn’t belong to you anymore.

Obviously that’s an extreme situation, but it happens and we suspect with more frequency in light of the expertise of cyber thieves. And that’s why we believe that smart IT is to have a DR solution even when you’re hosted in the cloud.