Is your data about to get stuck in the cloud? 5 ways to avoid that storm

Cloud computing never seems to be out of the news. Most coverage is about the various pros and cons of getting onto the cloud. But this week a sizeable group of existing cloud users found that nevermind the getting on – sometimes you have to think about getting off the ride.

U.S. cloud-based storage provider Nirvanix is shutting down – and reportedly gave its hundreds of customers, including one that stores over 20 petabytes of information, just two weeks to pack up and ship out.

Storage is one of the darlings of the cloud industry. Tools such as Box and Google Drive make it simple to store files in the cloud. But few consider what would happen if those services suddenly ceased to exist. For many personal accounts, this would result in major inconvenience, but probably not much more. For businesses, however, this would be a major problem.

When selecting a cloud vendor, companies identify and analyze all sorts of aspects. Security, vendor strength, functionality and price are regularly reviewd. But the ability to get out of the system, whether in an emergency, if the vendor folds, or even just at the end of the contract, seems to have slipped under the radar for some.

This future-proofing is even more important for business applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise content management (ECM) – applications that hold critical business content and processes. Moving these applications to the cloud delivers significant benefits in terms of cost savings, efficiency gains, and increased mobile and web access. But there is a level of risk involved in moving to these solutions: the risk of system failure, vendor failure and potential data loss.

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