Cloud Computing

The advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-first strategy

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The responsibility for the data always lies with the company itself.
The public cloud offers important benefits, including more scalability, flexibility and cost savings. And although it is true that large public cloud suppliers provide robust and reliable services, it can happen that these cloud suppliers are confronted with disruptions.

Such disruptions often make headlines immediately. And recent disruptions also resulted in criticism of the cloud first strategy and its limitations. Instead of placing all their data in the cloud, CISOs recommend companies to adopt a more hybrid system and thus significantly reduce their risk of losing data. Moreover, it is not necessary here to completely overhaul the cloud-first strategy. Flexible systems are what are needed.

In recent years, the transfer of data to the public cloud was widely supported by the IT departments of large companies. This resulted in the systematic rollout of new applications, mainly in the cloud. In some cases, the applications have also been implemented in other cloud environments. However, the question now is whether this is the best strategy. Because are those applications prepared for future business needs?
Who bears the responsibility?

The cloud-first strategy is based on the assumption that public-cloud suppliers with their size and expertise are better able to provide secure and flexible data centers. It is, however, of great importance that companies have insight into the division of roles and responsibilities as agreed in the service level agreements (SLAs).
The responsibilities of the public cloud suppliers are usually limited to the availability of the systems and not so much of the data itself. Securing and protecting this data is therefore the responsibility of the company. And within the company there is still a need for more awareness about data and its management. How do you save data? Where are they stored? Who manages the data? What happens in the event of an incident? What about data recovery? In many cases, these types of questions remain unanswered.
Take Microsoft Office 365. Microsoft offers all the tools to ensure that the e-mail service functions properly, but at the same time organizations depend on Microsoft's infrastructure, including the flexibility and reliability of its data centers. A solution that gives organizations access to online backup of all e-mail files and the online collaboration tool - outside of Microsoft Cloud - is therefore essential. This backup data can be hosted in the customer's data center or with another cloud supplier. Such a solution is the only way to prevent you from losing access to the data or - even worse - the data itself in the event of a failure.
Determining a cloud strategy

With regard to data, there are two important aspects that you should keep in mind when determining a cloud strategy. With a few exceptions - in the case of misuse or data loss, for example - suppliers are not held responsible for consequential damage. This consequential damage falls under the responsibility of the customer. The customer must ensure that there is a secure copy of the data.

Regarding flexibility: the SLAs are perhaps 99.9 percent, but only apply to network availability and the lifetime of the infrastructure. Data availability is the responsibility of the company. This requires data management and protection procedures, to be created by introducing smart methods that guarantee the availability of business data. A simple set of secure data is not enough: it must also be possible to restart critical systems and run them in your data center if the public cloud players experience downtime.

With the popularity of multi-cloud increasing, companies face the challenge of implementing a hybrid data protection strategy that integrates single cloud services and automates data shifting across multiple workloads. This requires reviewing the protection of data and systems hosted in public clouds to ensure that they can be restarted - even in degraded mode. Or to ensure that organizations can run the systems at least in their data center until everything is restored. In fact, the public cloud is a form of disaster recovery.

As stated, it is therefore not necessary to completely reverse a cloud-first strategy. However, it is necessary to implement multi-cloud data protection solutions that cleverly anticipate the exchange of data between different clouds, private clouds, data centers, public clouds and between public clouds.
The advantages and disadvantages of a cloud-first strategy
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