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Inside TDV - The Data Vault Blog

Panic in the Cloud? Gartner Predicts 1 in 4 Providers Gone by 2015

Research firm Gartner predicts a major consolidation in cloud services and estimates that about 25 percent of the top 100 IT service providers won’t be around by 2015.

Arnet.com.au reports, “Cloud adopters face serious risk in the next two years because of the strong possibility that their provider will be acquired or forced out of business, according to Gartner.”

Well, thanks, Gartner. As if there hasn’t been enough skepticism about cloud computing, now this?

“One in four vendors will be gone for whatever reason — acquisition, bankruptcy,” said William Maurer, a US Gartner analyst, to a packed room at the Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas recently. “There is real risk.”

“We’re in the phase of buyer beware with Cloud,” Michael Salvador, a technical solutions manager who attended the presentation, told Arnet.com.au. “You better do your research – there’s no safety net out there.”

And there it is. Symantec recently decided to discontinue its Backup Exec.cloud product. And it won’t surprise anyone here at TDV Cloud if a few more such products go the way of the dinosaur. But if you signed your company on for a service you didn’t fully research, what do you expect? Symantec is one of the most trusted names in security, backup and availability solutions, but that particular product simply failed.

cloud backup panic

Relax. There’s no need to panic.

We have two pieces of advice for any business interested in adopting cloud-based services for backup and disaster recovery. Ready?

1. Research the company/companies to which you’ll be trusting your critical data. How long have they been in operation? What is their reputation? Do they have clients similar to your business?

Perhaps more importantly, for what do you plan to use their services? If it is simple cloud archiving and backup, you may not need to have immediate access to said information, meaning a lengthy download (more on this in reason No. 2) isn’t a big deal. Or, heck, you can just stick with data tape, which is still an effective means of data archiving.

But if you expect more, what security features does the product a prospective provider offers provide? Does it meet regulatory security needs such as HIPAA or Sarbanes Oxley? What options do you have for challenges like BYOD SaaS?

In other words, if you answer all these sorts of questions and choose the right provider and product for your specific needs up front, you won’t have to be so worried about that 1 in 4 hype. Why? Because you’ll likely be partnered with one of the other three.

2. Can you pick up your phone right now and call someone who knows exactly who you are and where your data is?

Didn’t expect that question, did you? Well, it’s an important one. That’s especially true if you intend to rely on a cloud-based solution for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Here’s the scenario we try to paint for those investigating cloud solutions: In the event of a major disaster involving total data loss, how soon do you absolutely have to be back up and running with the most important data to your day-to-day operations? Two days? One day? Twelve hours?

Now answer this question: If you’ve entrusted said data to a large company based in New York or Seattle or wherever, how long would you expect it to take that company to deliver that data to you? Especially if you call the help line and get a menu of options provided by a robot voice.

Our recommendation is to partner with a local company for that critical data — or at least a company within, say, a two hours’ drive. This would be a local company that is partnered with a tenured, well respected DR provider.

So if your data center is flooded in a major storm, or something equally as serious prevents you from downloading the data you need, you have access to a copy that can be brought to you manually, already loaded onto hard disk. And it will be delivered to you, if necessary, by a guy who already knows your name, already knows your business needs and understands the urgency of your situation.

So, to Salvador’s comment that, “You better do your research – there’s no safety net out there,” I say yes and no. Yes, do your research; that’s just common sense. But your safety net may be as close as your own hometown. You just have to look for it.

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