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Best practices for safely moving data in and out of the cloud

David Geer | Nov. 12, 2013
As everyone knows, cloud provider Nirvanix recently fell apart, declaring bankruptcy and leaving its customers in the lurch. Nirvanix gave enterprises less than a month to move their data to a new home. To avoid the fate of those customers, follow these best practices for safely moving data in and out of the cloud.

Proprietary authentication technologies and identity management systems will impede portability of cloud data, applications and services to a cloud environment that does not use the same authentication and identification standards and vendors. By using an open standards IAM platform such as SAML, according to the Cloud Security Alliance's Security Guidance, the enterprise can achieve portability of these mechanisms when moving to another cloud provider.

The Cloud Security Alliance further urges enterprises to maintain possession and control of encryption keys to ensure a secure and expedient exit from the existing cloud provider. Likewise, enterprises should take measures to ensure that it removes all metadata describing its data from the existing cloud provider when moving to a new cloud environment so that no opportunity for data compromise remains. These best practices are also contained in the Cloud Security Alliance's Security Guidance. This Security Guidance provides detailed instructions for preparing for a safe move out of the cloud for each of the cloud models, in Section 6.3.3.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" — Benjamin Franklin

An enterprise can do everything necessary to ensure it can get its applications and data out of the cloud unscathed before it commits to moving in. This should steer an organization clear of a future Nirvanix and into a relationship with a cloud partner it can count on.


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