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Megaupset in the Cloud – but should businesses worry?

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“It would be a massive blow if it all got deleted. It would be a massive part of my life just gone”. That was the Newsbeat-reported response of a Megaupload user who lost access to his painstakingly created audio files after the website was shut-down by US prosecutors over illegal file-sharing. The move affected both legal and illegal users alike.

Sad. But imagine if those files were the data from your multi-thousand pound business.

The whole Megaupload debacle puts a spotlight on the absolute distinction between consumer-grade Cloud and business-grade Cloud. The lack of any real service level agreement (SLA) guaranteeing access and availability, not to mention the relentless flow of news stories about outages at major consumer-grade Cloud providers is – rightly – making people suspicious of the Cloud.

Unfortunately this suspicion of the consumer-grade Cloud is rubbing off on the business-grade Cloud.  Newsbeat headed its report “Could the digital cloud used for storage ever clash?” while Gartner analyst Jay Heiser suggested losing data was a bigger threat than confidentiality and advised users to “make a second copy of your material inside some other provider’s infrastructure.”

This suggestion might make sense if you’re talking about managing your personal photos but if you’re talking about business data and applications it makes no economic sense. What’s the point of using a Cloud services provider to remove your operational costs if you end up paying twice and having to deal with two separate providers?

Not that all so-called business-oriented Cloud providers will offer the resilience, security and business-grade SLA you need. Some are simply former resellers who have rebadged themselves as “Cloud service providers” but who in fact are just selling on other organisations’ services over which they have no ownership and little control. At Redcentric, by contrast, we own and manage our own data centres and they are embedded in our own private MPLS network. Both are constantly monitored, upgraded and maintained enabling us to  we can meet our stringent SLAs.

7 differentiating questions you should ask

  • Do you own and manage your own Tier 3 data centre or are you reliant on third parties?
  • Are your data centres embedded in your own private, resilient network?
  • Do you provide a business-grade server and storage infrastructure?
  • Do you automatically backup data to geographically diverse locations?
  • Does my data ever leave the UK?
  • Do you have 24/7 manned support?
  • Can I get a robust Service Level Agreement?

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