Another week and another cloud service provider bites the dust. OK, so I am being a little dramatic, it’s been a few months since the last high profile closure. But whether it’s one day or 100 days, the message remains the same: “what are your contingency plans?” If there is one thing that the current consolidation of the cloud market has taught us, it’s that we’re still no closer to determining who is responsible for what in the cloud. Who owns the data, who is responsible for its security and how is it protected? All these questions should and must be considered by the data owner before moving data outside of the business. The quandary for many IT managers considering a move to the cloud, however, is still who to trust with their data. Go to one of the global giants, such as Amazon or Google, and you’re guaranteed a service and a company backed financially but may find yourselves lacking in support, help and advice when you need it. Alternatively, go to a niche service provider and get a great personal service but at the risk of longevity as the inability to compete with the global giants makes their service offering possibly short-lived. Just look at 2e2 and Nirvanix. What’s the answer? Well, a mid-sized cloud provider of course – one with both the financial backing and personal support levels to ensure that your data remains safe. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I? Actually what’s as important as your choice of provider is what your contingency plan is – whether you decide to go with the global giant or the niche market player. While SLAs will help you determine the service levels you need to run your business, they won’t provide you with any protection if your provider goes out of business. As the custodian of your data, you need to understand what data is where and with who, whether it’s transactional data, applications or processes. And you still need a disaster recovery plan – even in the cloud. You need to know what will happen if the worst happens and you’ll need to know how to manage it. Keep a back up in-house or insist on a tape copy but make sure you have a way to recover that data. Contingency planning is still your best friend whether you manage that data in house or in the cloud.