Thinking about moving to the cloud or establishing a cloud information management system can be both exciting and nerve racking. There are many good reasons and benefits for getting a site but there are as many reasons why the cloud can be a risky proposition. Below is an “extract” from the recently published AIIM ToolKit, “Cloud Content Management – Not Revolutionary but Transformative for Records Management.” See the link at the end of this blog to download your copy of the toolkit.
When thinking about a cloud content system, the risks can be divided into the following major areas:
1. Physical data site or data center security. Is your data as physically secure in a remote datacenter that you do not own or operate? Physical security applies to the ability to protect your data from unauthorized physical access and is the remote data center able to withstand a catastrophic event such as a fire, flood, or earthquake.
For example, most cloud content vendors have highly secure data centers that may provide more security than offered in your own in-house facility. Not only that but content data centers typically have multiple Internet connections (ISVs) and can automatically switch between them when one ISV goes down. Do you have multiple ISVs at your own facility?
2. Data security. Is the data secure both on the servers and during transmission to and from the datacenter. Data could be compromised or stolen if the datacenter is breached by a hacker, virus, or any number of ways. Does the cloud vendor’s data center(s) employ all the latest protection hardware and software to ensure that data is never exposed and if exposed is not viewable (i.e., encrypted)?
For example, many cloud content vendors encrypt the data in transit (to and from) and also encrypt the data on their servers. Many vendors also use the latest virus and malware detection software to monitor the data going in and out of the datacenter.
3. Internet connection. With any cloud vendor solution, the data and application is only available via the Internet. This means that if your Internet is down or the Internet connection to the datacenter is down, your business is potentially down.
However, if the connection to your office was broken you may simple move to wherever there is an Internet connection – Hello Starbucks and a double tall latte.
If the datacenter is down, which is unlikely but it happens, there is typically a second datacenter in which all the data is synchronized so there may be a slight delay but you should be connected almost transparently to the second datacenter.
4. Cloud vendor viability. If the vendor, for whatever reason, ceases to exist or is subject to a legal shutdown, can you retrieve your data? It must be considered that any vendor, no matter how large, may be subject to some event that forces them to close their business with little or no warning and if this happens, will your data be available and how long will it take to get your data if that is a possibility?
This is a real concern but we have not had a reported instance yet to judge the potential damage and consequences. If the vendor suddenly shutters their facility, for any reason, you may have a difficult time getting your data out, especially in a timely manner. If the vendor undergoes bankruptcy, there will probably be a grace period in which you can get your data. However, there may not be a good programmatic way to migrate your data out of the datacenter and it is possible/probable that a vendor is not going to provide much help on this.
One of the concerns you may want to address with a potential vendor is how data is migrated out of the system and back to your facilities. This also applies to when you want to move your data from Vendor A to Vendor B.
The above risks should be considered as part of your overall plan to move content into a cloud-based application and part of your due diligence. The AIIM ToolKit ( http://bit.ly/Sen5e5) includes extensive information and links to help you make an informed decision when thinking about getting a cloud content management system. The link below is an excellent set of questions that may get you started and you may want to add your own questions to this list. It is from Forbes and written my Joe McKendrick: http://onforb.es/X6p9te
Bud Porter-Roth#InformationGovernance #cloudcontent #Records-Management #cloudinformationsystems #cloudcomputing