Three Criteria for Evaluating Public Cloud Storage Providers

Prior to selecting a public cloud service provider, it is essential that you understand what each vendor offers and how their services can best meet your organization’s needs. A move to the public cloud is a major shift in an organization’s architecture, and it provides many computing and performance benefits that are not available from a locally installed storage network. But before selecting a public cloud storage provider, you must ensure its offerings are a good fit for your organization. Some factors to consider:

Cost.  In many cases, monthly billing may be the least expensive option. However, understanding how much public cloud storage your company needs upfront will make cost guidance with vendors easier.  Especially, knowing the types of applications that will be hosted in the cloud will also affect the total cost. Knowing how these applications work will enable you to determine if storage will go up slightly based on transactions and the amount of bandwidth (upload/download) used.

Architecture services. Providers offer different storage replication options. For example, some services replicate your data to multiple data centers that are geographically distributed. You should review these in detail to determine how each one could potentially affect your architecture and compliance, especially for storage of sensitive financial and personal data. Another consideration is how public cloud storage providers will back up data or have storage moved from less redundant disks to more redundant storage . Be sure to ask what type of hardware the provider uses, as well as the speed and IOPS of the storage.  Lastly, each cloud storage service provider offers certain unique services. Examples include cloud storage gateways, API management and long-term data storage. Review these to see which ones could help you manage your storage more efficiently.

Sovereignty and security. There are two major considerations when dealing with public cloud storage providers. Questions to ask include the following:

  • How does the provider handle ownership of your data?
  • How is data segmented in a public tenant space?
  • How is the data encrypted, and who has access to it?
  • In which region will your data be stored?
  • How is the data terminated if your organization decides to leave the public cloud service provider?

Failure to ask these questions could leave your organization feeling trapped by a provider.

When vetting public cloud storage providers, the security of its systems should be reviewed to see where it matches and, in many cases, possibly exceeds the security of your company’s internal storage network. Organizations in industries such as finance and healthcare must meet compliance standards for data that’s stored in the cloud. A cloud provider should have the appropriate documentation for meeting these standards. When making the move to public cloud storage, remember to include the security team and auditors in the decision-making process especially to help determine which compliance considerations are most important for your industry.