Is Your Data Safe in the Cloud?

A recent news item illustrates that data loss is one of the risks you may take when storing data in the “cloud.” Cloud storage, such as the service provided by Amazon.com, is one way to store business data in a more cost-effective and efficient manner, rather than having each business use large data centers that require cooling, physical space, and other resources to maintain.

Cloud computing is the term used for the provision of computer resources via a computer network, such as applications, databases, file services, email, etc. The online email service by Google, Gmail, is an example of cloud computing.

Amazon’s huge EC2 cloud service apparently crashed and permanently destroyed some of their clients’ data last week. Amazon has yet to fully explain what happened when its mission-critical and supposedly bomb-proof systems crashed. But what is clear is that a fail-safe measure, such as shifting the data access from one center to another if a crash occurs, was not in place, as expected.

Read the story in the news at InformationWeek.com and MSNBC.com.

Update:

Amazon did post a summary of the occurrence from last week, which can be read here.

In addition, Jeff Schiller of IS&T feels the more appropriate message is: “Not all services are the same and you should design your systems and applications taking into account the nature of the facilities and the guidance of the cloud provider.” Amazon will be offering webinars on how to properly use their services to avoid data storage failure even when the infrastructure fails.

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About MIT
IT Security Awareness Consultant and Communications Specialist at MIT

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