Terms and Conditions
Have you read and understood the terms and conditions of your cloud service? Email services, security services, hosted file storage (eg. DropBox or Box), HR applications – anything that does not run your own onsite systems. Without reading the terms and conditions you have no idea what protection (if any) your service provider gives, and how exposed you are if things go wrong. Microsoft even states in their Office 365 terms and conditions that you should have a backup.
Cloud providers usually give pretty good up-time commitments – for example Microsoft’s Office 365 service has a commitment of 99.9% availability over the calendar year. This does still mean that they could suffer 8.76 hours unplanned downtime during the year and remain within their commitments. How would your business tolerate this? This outages do happen and you may be without access to your valuable business data when it happens.
Provider shuts down
The nightmare scenario for any business using the cloud – what happens if your service provider shuts down? Many cloud providers are still evolving their business model and a number, including many high profile still do not make a profit. How long is this sustainable? Your terms and conditions should set out the procedures should something happen to your provider. And you may be surprised what can happen to your data is your contract is terminated – for whatever reason
The cloud isn’t people proof. Office 365 is safe when left alone but cannot protect you from yourself (or your employees). This is why the #1 cause of data loss in the cloud is human error. Be it accidental deletion or overwriting data, a malware / ransomware infection or the malicious actions by a disgruntled employee. If you lose data, there is no obligation on your cloud provider to recover it.