Cloud Storage for Business: 37 Cloud Experts Reveal the Top Cloud Storage Mistakes They See Companies Make

Cloud computing is no longer a new field in the current digital landscape. In fact, unlike several years ago when moving to the cloud was an optional business decision, today, most established businesses that conduct a significant portion of their activities online, whether they are a technology-based company or not, are almost expected to have already implemented some type of cloud storage solution due to the convenience, efficiency, and cost-savings it provides (when done right). And for those companies who have not yet made the switch to the cloud, the transition is imminent.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO SALES & MARKETING CONTENT MANAGEMENT

But moving a business to cloud storage is not something to be taken lightly. It affects a number of different components of the business itself, from information and personnel management, infrastructure, expenses, security, performance, and more. Fortunately, with appropriate research, most businesses can mitigate many of the risks that come with making the move to cloud storage. But just because you’ve read up on a few articles on cloud storage and cloud computing, doesn’t mean your business’ cloud infrastructure is invincible.

As a provider of cloud-based solutions, we wanted to know more advanced tips on how businesses can ensure a move to cloud storage is as smooth as possible, and also how businesses can make the most of cloud storage once it is implemented. To do that, we asked 37 business cloud experts the following question:

What’s the number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage?

We’ve collected and compiled their expert advice into this comprehensive guide to effective cloud storage tips for businesses. We hope it will help you improve and protect your company’s cloud storage infrastructure, and ultimately take your business productivity to the next level.
Docurated_CloudStorageExpert_Banner

Meet Our Panel of Cloud Experts:

Brad Anderson

Brad-Anderson-finalBrad Anderson is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Gravitant, the leading software company in enterprise cloud services brokerage and management market. Anderson has knowledge of enterprise requirements and an incredible track record of achieving business objectives. He joined Gravitant to power its growth in cloud computing and brokerage. Prior to Gravitant, Anderson served for seven years as President of Dell’s Enterprise Solutions Group. Prior to Dell, Anderson was HP’s Senior Vice President and General Manager of Industry Standard Servers.

The largest mistake companies are making when moving to cloud storage is…

Not buying the right service package for their business needs. Despite the initial “promise of the cloud”, buying cloud services is complicated. Companies end up paying for services they don’t need and losing agility and control. In fact, enterprise IT has come to the realization that Cloud will disrupt their current governance, operations, service delivery and technology architectures and that they will need to use or become cloud service brokers to address this disruption. By choosing the correct cloud brokerage and management software, enterprises can truly experience ITaaS and accelerate their business objectives.


Richard Thompson

Richard-ThompsonRichard Thompson is sales director and founder member of UK-based IT support company Central Technology. Richard is a Microsoft Certified Professional, Microsoft Certified Licencing Specialist, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional, VMware Certified Professional 5 and a Cisco Certified Design Associate. Having trained as an on-site engineer, Richard has a theoretical and practical knowledge of networks and servers and a business user’s expectations of its IT systems.

The largest mistake companies are making when moving to cloud storage is…

Neglecting connectivity.

If you’re moving all your data into the cloud you have to make sure your way of accessing the cloud is reliable i.e. you need to make sure your internet connection is very solid. Large companies are lured by low storage pricing without consideration of internet connectivity. Most networks run at 100Mps or 1000Mpbs (1Gbps) compared to ADSL broadband running at up to 20 Mbps down and 1Mbps up. In short, you’re current broadband might not be able to keep up with the demands of cloud storage. Copper based connectivity (like ADSL) has no SLA (service level agreement) so could be down for days, meaning a business could be without access to crucial data for any given amount of time. Fibre based products, leased lines, EFM and EoFTTC offer much faster, more stable connections which can cope with the demands of cloud storage, and they have fixed repair SLAs (so downtime will be kept to a contracted minimum).


Steve Curry

Bio-Steve-CurrySteve Curry is co-founder and President of Metacloud Inc. Steve Curry is responsible for establishing the company’s vision and strategy, growing its customer base, managing investor relationships, and increasing awareness of the firm in both the analyst and media communities. Prior to Metacloud, Curry managed global storage operations at Yahoo!, where he led a team of 20-plus engineers across ten countries to provide a “follow the sun” support model.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Overlooking the Value of Existing Infrastructure.

Businesses-like people-fall into consumerist traps easily. We get used to solving problems by buying new stuff. That’s why there’s a $56 billion server market-despite the fact that most companies are only using 10-15 percent of their existing compute capacity today, even with the help of virtualization. If you’re considering building a private cloud, start with what you already own. You spent a lot of money on that hardware, it has tremendous untapped capacity, and most of it could be repurposed to build, for example, an OpenStack-based private cloud. OpenStack can run on most of today’s commodity server hardware.


Danny Mizrahi

Danny Mizrahi PicDanny Mizrahi is the Founder and CEO of Contango IT. He started his professional career at age 14 as a runner on the NY Mercantile Exchange, and for many years thereafter, working at various technology companies and eventually founding and running two successful startups while studying at the University of Maryland, College Park. Contango IT was created to leverage Cloud technologies to help businesses lower costs, while increasing productivity, reliability and availability of their data. While Contango still services, implements and supports traditional IT infrastructures, Contango is best known as a pioneer in Cloud Computing, especially in the New York, Tri-State area.

The number one mistake many companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not going through a disaster recovery exercise. Going through a proper disaster recovery exercise makes sure the RIGHT data is being backed up, and you know how to USE the data in the event of a disaster. People think backup is disaster recovery, but they are very different.


Emil Sayegh

Emil-Sayegh_Codero-HeadshotEmil Sayegh is the CEO of Codero Hosting and is a pioneer of cloud computing. He is credited with launching the very successful cloud computing and hosting businesses for HP and Rackspace. He is also known as one of the “fathers of OpenStack,” having created the open source software. Emil joined Codero in 2012 and recently introduced a hybrid cloud solution.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Picking a monolithic storage solution such as an old fashioned SAN. First and foremost, those solutions are very expensive. Secondly, nowadays there is a plethora of excellent storage solutions that are optimized for the exact use case and performance requirements of an application. Archiving, as an example, should be done on an object storage solution, while demanding applications such as databases require the highest Input/Output performance per second (IOPS) possible so they need an Elastic Block Storage solution that delivers guaranteed high-performance. Large companies need to be able customize the amount of storage and IOPS to meet their performance and availability needs rather than get stuck with an old fashioned, and expensive, monolithic solution.


Dana Marlowe

dana_marlowe_accessibility_partners1 (1)Dana Marlowe is currently the Principal Partner and Co-Founder of Accessibility Partners LLC, an accessibility and information technology consulting firm. She has gained national and international recognition for her support of disability rights. Dana partners with Federal Agencies and Fortune 500 businesses to help them test, consult, and train on accessible IT products for people with disabilities.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not defining a role for accessibility for users with disabilities.

That is the biggest mistake we’ve seen not only when companies switch to the cloud, but unfortunately, many developers factor in accessibility as an afterthought. They do not build it into the developmental fabric that comprises information and communication technology (ICT).

Some of the software behind cloud computing are not coded for accessibility, and present difficulties to users who are Blind or Low Vision. They may have interfaces that are aesthetically pleasing but ultimately not usable, such as obtaining the textual information from a mobile app. Much content with the interfaces are not tagged in hierarchical order, and it can be challenging to find the files you are looking for. This is especially common with form fields (combo boxes, text boxes, pull-down menus), or anything that requires user input that is not explicitly labeled.


Tim Bramble

afore-logoTim Bramble is the Director of Product Management for AFORE Solutions, and has more than fifteen years of experience developing security solutions spanning cloud security, data encryption, identity and access management, email security and web fraud detection. He is well acquainted with current information security threats and the challenges governments and enterprises face in defending against them. Prior to joining AFORE Solutions in February 2012, Tim managed the development of a number of key security solutions at Entrust, which he joined in 1997. Tim started his career in 1992 with Bell Northern Research, developing software for the Norstar telephone system.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Failure to plan for the unexpected.

When using cloud for disaster recovery or for running application workloads, customers need to plan for varied possible outcomes particular when ensuring their data is secure and protected. Not planning for these can result in significant consequences from business interruption to impacts to the bottom line.

For example, what if cloud is breached? Can cloud administrators see confidential data? What if the cloud provider goes out of business or has a disaster of their own? These questions, and more, must be addressed. Customers therefore need to think about the security and control measures to mitigate these risks. Ideally, they need a solution that’s easy to deploy and transparent to business users, but doesn’t require a huge IT investment to implement. Essentially, they must plan for the unexpected.


David Wilson

David wilsonDavid is a licensed attorney specializing in risk management, cyber security and the law at Titan Info Security Group, a firm that helps companies lower the risk of a cyber-incident/breach by reducing or eliminating the liability associated with loss or theft of information. David is also a partner in Online Intell. Online Intell provides brand and reputation protection, corporate intelligence, and domain, trademark, copyright, and patent infringement detection and solutions. David is a retired Army JAG officer, and during his 20 years in the Army he provided legal advice in computer network operations, information security and international law to the DoD and NSA and was the legal advisor for what is now CYBERCOM.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Assuming the cloud provider’s security is good. That provider is now an extension of you both physically and legally. If they are breached you could be liable and embarrassed.


Mark Cravotta

mark_cravotta-150x150Mark Cravotta is the EVP of Sales and Services at SingleHop, the platform of choice for cloud IaaS and managed hosting for SMBs, enterprises, and service providers worldwide. Based in Chicago, Illinois, SingleHop serves more than 4,000 customers in 114 countries with data centers across the U.S. and Europe. Mark has 15 years of web hosting industry and IT experience, and has worked in a broad spectrum of capacities. He has extensive experience in sales, engineering, IT systems architecture, security, quality assurance, and business development.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Believing all storage is created equal. Companies head to the cloud for flexible, economically feasible solutions, but it is important to understand when to value performance over price.

The economics of a storage system like Amazon’s S3 seem unbeatable, but many companies find that they need higher performing storage for certain specialized areas with critical workloads. A general purpose, large scale server does not have the customizable capabilities larger companies need when storing specialized components for different systems in the business.


Greg Elkinbard

Greg_Elkinbard,_MirantisGreg Elkinbard is the Technical Director of Mirantis. At Mirantis, Greg is responsible for building on demand IaaS and PaaS layers for public and private clouds at Fortune 1000 and late stage venture-funded companies, with a focus on the intersection of cloud, networking and distributed data storage strategies. He’s been doing platform, HPC and cloud engineering for over 20 years, doing breakthrough technology at companies such as Sears Holdings, Brocade, Sun Microsystems and Amdahl.

One of the biggest mistakes we see at Mirantis, and the one most companies make, when it comes to moving to cloud storage is…

Not taking the time to really understand storage needs in terms of cost, performance, features and size. In fact, most companies come to us without a detailed understanding of their application needs. It’s often because they are captive to a vendor. So they either say “Please make my ABC-XYZ array work, I’ve already spent so much money on it”; or, they have a burning desire to ditch their vendor and go with a “free” open source solution independent of fit.

Storage is a continuum of solutions. Since there is no perfect storage platform, you have to select a set of solutions – typically multiple solutions are required — to address the particular needs of your applications. Some applications can consume cloud storage services, and some cannot. It’s anything but one-size-fits-all.


Robert J. Scott

robscottRobert J. Scott is Managing Partner of intellectual property and technology law firm Scott & Scott, LLP. He has written about Cloud Computing in Corporate Compliance Insights, Aspatore Special Report, Headnotes and Corp! Magazine and has presented at CAUCUS IT Summit, MSPAlliance MSPWorld Conference and Law Seminars International IP & Technology Licensing on this topic.

The number one mistake you’ll find among companies moving to the cloud is…

Failure to properly account for data privacy risks when moving to Cloud data storage.


Steve Pelletier

Logicalis logoSteve Pelletier, cloud solution architect at Logicalis, an international IT solutions and managed services provider with a breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications and collaboration; data center and cloud services; and managed services.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Looking only at the short term.

When developing a cloud strategy, many organizations only look at their short-term objectives – what can the cloud do for me right now? – instead of developing a longer term cloud strategy. This limits their future capabilities and can lead to unintentional design limitations that could easily have been avoided with longer term planning.


Cortney Thompson

cortney_tCortney Thompson is the CTO of Green House Data, a cloud hosting and colocation provider focused on energy efficiency and customer service. Cortney is a networking expert and a member of the NSF International Committee for Environmental Server Standards.

The biggest mistake we see companies making when moving to cloud storage is…

Underestimating the time and bandwidth required to move large data sets.

Setup and administration of storage is getting easier every day, but network speeds are more limiting. The more data moving in and out of the data center on a daily basis, the higher the bandwidth charges could be depending on the provider and pricing plan. Plus moving just 1 TB of data into the cloud could take anywhere from minutes to hours to days, depending on the company connection. Often times for large data sets we’ll request that customers send hard drives with copies of data directly to the data center.


Joe Feyereisen

jow feyereisenJoe Feyereisen is the CEO & CTO of Reach IPS, and brings 25 years of C-level and Executive Consulting experience in application development, infrastructure, global operations, security and cloud deployments. He has worked in the insurance, healthcare, banking, finance, real estate, manufacturing, information technology and hospitality industries, including developing private cloud solutions and datacenters for Bank of America, Capital One, Prudential Insurance, Aetna, United Healthcare, Community Health Systems, Trinity Health, Nissan Americas HQ, Coldwell Banker, Prudential California Real Estate, and others. Feyereisen was co-developer of the world’s first Internet stock-trading system, featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

The number one mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Failing to understand the cloud’s capabilities as it relates to their business.

Companies normally don’t understand why or what data they need to bring to the cloud. By not defining whether the data is for archiving, backup, production, compliancy or legal, the success of the cloud data project can be undermined. These companies also don’t ask which users (including vendors, customers, colleagues, etc.) need to access it and how can cause significant cost, productivity and security issues going forward.


Rick Wright

rick-wright-mainRick Wright is a Partner within KPMG’s IT Strategy and Performance practice. He has more than 20 years of Technology and Operations advisory experience spanning a wide range of industries including Life Sciences, Financial Services, High Tech and Government. He has managed a wide range of consulting engagements ranging from IT strategic planning, sourcing advisory and transition through design and implementation of leading IT management operating models and technologies.

The biggest mistake large companies can make when moving to cloud storage is…

Viewing it as a narrow cost-saving measure meant to reduce the need for internal IT capacity.

While that’s a consideration, companies need to focus on a broader cloud strategy that encompasses the entire enterprise, not simply an IT play. For instance, what kinds of risks – operational and reputational — are associated with using cloud storage for data, which could be sensitive or otherwise? Have they considered the tax nexus issues, and what are the geographic issues? Some states and countries have a variety of laws that cover data storage, sharing, and privacy issues.


Kat Mabry

InfoStreet-company-logo-jpg-format-300x91Kate Mabry is PR & Marketing Communications Specialist for InfoStreet, a leading Cloud software provider to businesses of every size with a suite of comprehensive cloud solutions for business needs.

Not all storage solutions are created equal. The biggest mistake large companies can make when moving to cloud storage is…

Overlooking access control.

If a company has multiple employees, it is imperative that they set up a system where all documents are not open to everyone. For instance, the salary files should only be open to accounting, HR, and management. Even then, it should only be available to a handful of employees in each of those departments. All others, such as those who work on the factory floor, or do inside sales, should not be privy to it.

Setting this access control should be easy and powerful, so that menial errors don’t become a security threat for the company. When evaluating cloud storage, access control is one of the most important features to consider. Another, perhaps an equally as important factor, is the ease of uploading data. Most systems have drag and drop, bulk upload, and some even offer an initial service where they can populate the cloud storage based on the physical media you send them. One needs to consider the storage volume requirements, as well as the best way to migrate it to the cloud, prior to selecting a cloud storage partner/vendor. Not considering the items above is probably the largest mistake a company can make when selecting a cloud storage solution.


Christian Buckley

christian_buckley2Christian Buckley is Chief Evangelist at SharePoint ISV and Microsoft Gold Partner, Metalogix. As an author and globally-recognized speaker and thought leader, Christian helps drive partner and product strategy within the Microsoft content management and collaboration space.

The biggest mistake large companies can make when moving to cloud storage is…

Forgetting that storage is just one component of their on premises solution.

Many organizations have process, workflows, regulatory and governance guidelines, auditing and reporting standards, and other system constraints that may make their on premises solution more difficult to work with than a quick and simple solution in the cloud. We all want an easy button, but companies often underestimate the business risks of these cloud solutions.


Peter Cotseones

pcotseonesPeter Cotseones is the Director of IT at HBR Consulting in Chicago. He advises senior executives and IT management on strategic alignment of IT and business needs in the areas of data center architecture strategy, enterprise system centralization, infrastructure outsourcing, co-location hosting and strategies centered on the use of cloud computing and managed services. To learn more about Peter, visit: http://hbrconsulting.com/pcotseones.html

One key mistake when evaluating and/or migrating to a cloud storage platform is…

A failure to properly understand for storage infrastructure performance capabilities of the service provider.

Among large enterprise companies, migration to cloud storage platforms are not as straightforward as they are challenged to address availability and security for large and complex amount of data however, increased focus on cloud storage performance needs per application.

Many IT organizations are forced to conduct diligence beyond marketing literature and explore various storage types and performance offerings. Increased focus for IT organizations to intimately understand the workings of the service provider beyond the published SLAs and uncover the specifics of their storage infrastructure and SAN equipment utilized.

Storage Types and Performance:

Identify the use case for types of data to be hosted and the associated performance requirements. Business need, systems and applications will drive the performance needs of the storage system. Aside from general file shares with modest performance needs, the technical needs of enterprise applications must be accounted for. Considerations include storage catalog of tiers, RAID configurations, disk types (SATA, SAS, SSD) and IOPS requirements to benefit from balanced storage service levels, aligning high performance where needed and less expensive storage where it is not. In some intensive storage access applications (i.e. Email, virtual desktop, transactional databases) specific IOPS and disk read/write requirements must be determine and validate if the service provider can accommodate the initial needs and ongoing evolution.

Network Performance:

Address network implications of off-site data hosting. Consider network WAN latency impacts for user access and application responsiveness. Consider the additional latency for data upload and retrieve operations and latency to “route” thru the cloud service provider’s storage network. Many leverage WAN acceleration devices and cloud storage gateways as an interface to provider, caching and optimizes bandwidth.


Gil Lalo

Gil LaloGil Lalo is the Director of Enterprise Architecture with Michigan-based tech firm C/D/H, and holds the credentials, the experience and the accomplishments of a seasoned IT leader. As a professional both inside Microsoft and in CIO roles with leading Michigan healthcare organizations. Gil has developed and deployed complex new systems, improved systems efficiencies, cut out waste and solved challenging IT problems for more than 20 years.

The biggest mistake large companies can make when moving to cloud storage is…

Getting stuck in “pilot paralysis” and not making the cloud a part of their long-term data center strategy. As a result, they fail to realize the advantages of a cloud-based infrastructure. This is where we hear the complaint, “We didn’t see the benefit so we abandoned the pilot.”

The primary cause of pilot paralysis usually is a lack of clear success criteria and a failure to identify specific use cases for cloud computing within the organization. Without measurable and objective goals for identifying success of the pilot, it becomes difficult to create a compelling case for expansion into full production mode thus the experiment with the cloud is relegated to a few small, niche-y systems and ultimately left to die.

Every major software vendor is moving full-speed ahead to the cloud. Therefore, most organizations will be moving the majority of their infrastructure to the cloud – whether they want to or not – within the next 5 years. This will happen due to the fact that companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, etc. will cease selling on-premise versions of their software and so the “decision” to move to the cloud becomes a fait accompli.

Cloud-based infrastructure is no longer considered “bleeding edge” technology. It is now squarely in the sweet spot of Gartner’s adoption curve. By not actively planning to move as much infrastructure to the cloud as possible on their own timetable, they run the risk of being forced to move on an externally-imposed timeline.

The best way to remain in control of a move to the cloud is to actively plan. Identify a coherent plan for which applications will move and over what time frame while ensuring that objective and measurable criteria exist for determining a successful implementation of the cloud-based infrastructure.


Ben Ow

Ben_OwBen Ow is President and Chief Creative Officer at StoAmigo and has spent the past several years developing the CloudLocker, an innovative private and secure personal cloud device. CloudLocker offers users not only a personal connection to their own private cloud, but also a range of options and features that allow them to control and protect every aspect of their digital lives.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Thinking they know all the answers to the questions on privacy and security.

The cloud companies will tell you everything you want to hear to make you feel comfortable, but you need to look under the cover yourself and do some independent due diligence.

For example, did you know many cloud companies use 3rd party providers to host and manage their storage services for their customers? You may have read the end-user license agreement (EULA) and terms and conditions of a cloud company, but what do you know about its provider? What about their privacy policies? What about their access to your vital files?

These are the kinds of questions that need to be asked before choosing a cloud storage company. Find out what 3rd party companies they may use and research them. Investigate carefully the terms and conditions of the services as well as the EULA. Ask where your media will be stored and who will have access to it. Ask what happens when you terminate the service. Ask if the company is conducting background checks on the folks they hire to manage your data. The answers may surprise you, but it’s far better to be surprised before having someone host your data than after.


Momchil Michailov

michailovMomChil Michaelov is the Co-Founder of Sanbolic, and has served as CEO since 2000. Prior to founding Sanbolic, Momchil was a co founder and CEO of Number One GM, Inc. where he oversaw the company from a SAN hardware distribution start-up to a leader in the broadcast workgroup software space. The company was acquired by Autodesk in 1999. Mr. Michailov brings over 15 years of storage expertise and has a background in technology and film production with degrees from the National Academy of Film and Art in Sofia, and the Bulgarian Economic Institute.

The number one mistake enterprise customers make when moving to the public cloud is…

Underestimating their capacity requirements.

As customers migrate more and more data into the cloud providers, file and block access to data becomes an issue and as capacity needs increase, so does the cost. The initial expectation of reducing data storage cost thanks to the inexpensive object storage evaporates quickly as enterprise and legacy applications cant work with object storage. Customers then need to migrate into different costlier offerings to meet their applications file and block access needs. As the amount of their data grows customers become more and more dependent on the providers capability to meet their SLA’s and have to address access latency and application performance. In typical cloud provider multi-tenancy environments, SLA’s and storage and data Quality of Service prove to be particularly challenging.

Cloud providers enable very compelling compute economics, so customers should plan for a data migration to and from the cloud provider infrastructure for their enterprise application data so that they can benefit from the low compute cost, but not incur the ongoing storage cost.

While it can seem relatively low on a monthly basis, the ongoing storage cost can be quite significant. In order to maximize their flexibility and improve their cost structure in an on-premise to public cloud provider hybrid environment, it’s very important for customers to choose a unified storage and data management and migration platform. That would also allow them to avoid the capacity constraints, a number one mistake customers make today.


Christopher Stark

christopher-ParkChristopher Stark is the president and CEO of Cetrom, an industry-leading provider of custom cloud solutions. With more than 25 years of experience in all facets of the IT industry, Stark’s commitment to excellence and dedication to unmatched customer service drive the company’s track record of zero downtime.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Selecting the wrong cloud provider.

It is imperative, especially for large companies, to do their due diligence in making sure the cloud provider is a good match for them in terms of meeting their specific needs, providing adequate security, and handling the size and scope of the project. Below are a few items I would recommend companies consider before signing on the dotted line.

Downtime History: Downtime is not acceptable; it costs companies both time and money. Ask what the provider’s downtime was throughout the previous year and make sure it’s minimal, if not zero.

Data Accessibility: Data are the lifeline of any business. It is imperative to ensure they can be accessed anytime, from anywhere. Access also depends on the provider’s bandwidth, so make sure the provider offers enough for the company to function at its desired level.

Pricing Structure: Avoid locked-in prices. Businesses change. Employees come and go and needs change. Because of this, the best pricing structure is dynamic pricing based on needs, or a pay-as-you-go, utility-based model.

Provider’s Security: When it comes to business data, security is critical and often the number one concern for most adopters. Find out as much about a potential cloud provider’s security measures as possible, including what industry guidelines and regulations it complies with, such as: SOC 2, HIPPA, SAS 70 and SSAE 16.


Brian Kelley

kelley_1Brian Kelley is in his 23rd year at Portage County and has served as the company’s CIO for the past 22 years. He is responsible for the County’s enterprise-wide information technology operations spanning 18 elected officials, over 30 departments, and 700+ users. Under his leadership, Portage County has received international, national, state, and regional recognition for highly successful enterprise-wide IT projects. Brian is also an adjunct instructor at Kent State University where he teaches a public sector IT management graduate course, and an associate lecturer at the University of Akron where he teaches computer and information security. Brian is currently serving as 2nd Vice President & Conference Director on the Executive Board of Directors of GMIS International.

The number one mistake enterprise customers make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not gaining a clear understanding of where their data is stored in the cloud, and how to get that data back if and when that becomes necessary.

Some clouds are quite beautiful and fluffy while others bring threatening nefarious weather. Cloud technology is no different. Just like we must understand the meteorological characteristic of clouds for weather prediction, we must also understand cloud technology and know what threatening clouds should be avoided. You must know where your company data is stored and backed-up to in the cloud. It’s your company data and you should know where it is located, where it is backed-up to, and how to get it back should stormy clouds appear on the horizon.

Should you decide to leave the cloud or the cloud decides to leave you, have a business plan ready to go to move to a new cloud with minimal disruption and data loss.


Gilad Parann-Nissany

Parann-Nissany-PorticorGilad Parann-Nissany is the founder and CEO of Porticor Cloud Security. He is a pioneer in the field of cloud computing who has built SaaS clouds, contributed to SAP products and created a cloud operating system. Gilad has written extensively on the importance of cloud encryption and encryption key management for PCI and HIPAA compliance.

The number one mistake companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not prioritizing the security of cloud data. In the cloud, data security and privacy issues are amplified. Companies must make this a top priority in their cloud migration project. Ensuring cloud security protects you from hackers, spies, and employee oversight; as well as ensuring compliance with regulations like HIPAA, PCI DSS, and others.

Cloud security must be cloud-friendly. That is, using a hardware-based HSM model is not suitable for the cloud. There are solutions, however, like split key encryption and homomorphic key management, that offer the best security in a completely cloud (no hardware) model.

By encrypting data and splitting the encryption key, you ensure that only you control your data. This way, it is inaccessible to hackers or spies. Your cloud storage is truly protected. And you maintain regulatory compliance and enable “Safe Harbor,” that can save money and reputation in case a breach does occur.


Dan Abbate

DanPredko_smDan Abbate is CEO of Robotaton Corp., a technology development company that puts time and money into mid-market companies to implement business process automation. Dan Abbate is also the owner of several companies and has bought and sold countless others that use automation to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Dan’s professional goal is to give all American companies the opportunity to incorporate cutting edge custom automation into their business.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not taking full advantage of all the cloud has to offer.

Just moving storage to the cloud is useful, of course, but all companies should be looking at how to make the cloud work for them by building and automating all of their business processes as part of a companywide move to the cloud. There is no need to support in-house IT staff, servers, equipment, etc. The devices on site should only be what are minimally required to interface and supply the cloud with the data it needs to keep the business running efficiently.


James Vallord Costa

img-james-vallord-costaJames Vallord Costa is the CEO of Hypernia Corporation, specializing in hosting the world’s top media and entertainment companies. With Hypernia, James’ goals are simple; to provide the world’s best hosting experience for game companies by addressing their biggest online challenges; slow internet connectivity, limited gaming markets and the unpredictability of their usage needs. In 2011, Hypernia created the SuperPod®, the world’s largest bare metal cloud. The project was a success and attracted the world’s largest game companies including EA Games, Zynga and Ubisoft.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not taking the time to research what is out there. I think companies have figured out they need to move to the “cloud” but they don’t really know what that is exactly. The IT director or CTO feels the pressure and they surrender to the biggest name they know like Amazon or Microsoft and then they pay for it later.

It keeps them employed, with the old adage “nobody ever got fired for choosing HP or IBM” but they didn’t realize their next cloud strategy could mean the difference whether they have a job waiting for them.

They are moving from the world of do it yourself colocation to this mystery called cloud. If they go too virtual, they will overpay, open security risks and lose performance. The answer in life is always the middle path. At Hypernia we call it the SuperPod.


Alan Guinn

Alan GuinnAlan Guinn is Managing Director and CEO of The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc. headquartered in Bristol, TN, an award-winning Consultancy which completes projects on a worldwide basis.

Having migrated multiple groups to the cloud, I’d suggest to you that the primary challenge we find clients make when moving to cloud storage is…

In the lack of preparation, which is generally due to a significant lack of understanding of what they are attempting to achieve with the movement to the Cloud.

What precipitates much of that–sorry VPs of Marketing and Sales– are the articles that are truly sales-driven and tend to indicate that little or no preparation is required for transition. I’ve actually had clients ask me if they can push the button to transfer all their data! Most seem to believe that the cloud is simply a huge data warehouse and little preparation and understanding of the intricacies of data location or preparation for placement and refinement of locations is required. What is most evident is that clients are often not prepared to reference and cross-reference all the material that is to be transferred. Often, database management programs are required to categorize the data and combine legacy systems, which have been grandfathered from one network to another to yet another. Some programs may be in the Windows Suite, some in Linux, yet others written for Apple or Mac. This is especially true with tablets in one or two languages and PCs and Macs in the same network.

To make use of the cloud and it’s capabilities, it’s necessary to be sure that data transferred is readable by other data, and that categories of data can be compared to categories of other data. So the biggest challenge that I’ve found is in the preparation of and development of the data to be transferred to the cloud, and the ability to assess the data that is moved to that location.


Brandon Bruce

Brandon-Bruce-CI-216x300Brandon Bruce is Co-founder of Cirrus Insight, a web and mobile app that integrates Salesforce with Google Apps.

The number one mistake businesses make when it comes to cloud storage is…

Failing to adapt workflow to take full advantage of cloud storage. For example, cloud storage enables team collaboration on documents and version control of files. Companies that just use cloud storage to keep copies of files aren’t embracing the features and benefits of cloud storage and aren’t maximizing ROI.


Mark Shirman

Mark ShirmanMark Shirman is President and CEO at RiverMeadow Software where he brings nearly thirty years of entrepreneurial experience in the IT arena. Prior to RiverMeadow, Shirman was the founder and CEO of GlassHouse Technologies where, for 11 years, he was responsible for building GlassHouse’s leadership in the data center solutions space, managing the investment community, and setting the vision for the company’s solutions development.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Choosing any cloud solution without respect to your particular business’ needs.

Migrating to the cloud can come at a cost if you don’t employ a well-thought-out strategy, leveraging the right solutions to aid your endeavor. Many companies don’t appreciate the challenges and methodologies associated with migrating IT infrastructure into the cloud. There are different types of migration projects that both managed service providers and end users will encounter, and there needs to be a best practices approach to make a migration project successful and cost-efficient.


Sarah Lahav

sarahSarah Lahav is CEO and former VP of Customer Relations at SysAid, two positions that have fueled her passion in customer service. As the company’s first employee, Sarah Lahav has remained the vital link between SysAid Technologies, one of the largest cloud ITSM providers, and its customers since 2003.

The biggest mistake that IT departments make when moving to the cloud is…

Not immediately getting their hands back on the steering wheel and regaining full control of all IT processes.

As soon as the cloud migration process is complete, it is vital for IT to quickly resume using the same systems that they used before the move. IT teams that don’t do this find themselves in a quandary. When IT doesn’t act quickly to resolve issues, end users will always find a way to contact the cloud provider, leaving your company out of the loop. This can be a disaster for all sides. This is what it looks like:

Users report incidents directly to the cloud provider -> Your organization does not measure and monitor the service level of these incidents. Users get poor service and blame IT. IT cannot work with the cloud provider to improve service because of a lack of data. Even if the cloud provider collects service level data, they may use different metrics, thus rendering their data useless.

In another common scenario, the cloud provider makes changes that affect some of your company’s systems. Even a simple IP address change can cause a multitude of problems. Before cloud migration, any small change handled with a well-defined (and proven) change management process ensured your organization was prepared in advance for any implications. After cloud migration, IT needs to make sure that the old change management processes also work with the new cloud service.

The move from on premise to the cloud is like trading in a steering wheel for a cockpit. Before take-off, every pilot goes over a prepared checklist and makes necessary adjustments. It is wise for IT to do the same when moving to the cloud.

You can read more practical tips on cloud migration here.


Paul Cioni

PCioniPaul Cioni is the SVP and Chief Technology Officer of Velocity Technology Solutions, a player in the private cloud space respective to providing managed hosting services for enterprise applications. As CIO, Paul Cioni leads the design and development of Velocity’s intellectual property and cloud architecture. Paul has been in the managed application services market for more than fifteen years and prior to joining Velocity, Paul served as the Vice President of Application Services for NaviSite, Inc. Before that, he was Director of Sales and Services for netASPx, Inc. Additionally, Paul served as an Engineer in the United States Army for five years, where he completed tours in Central America, Southwest Asia, and provided humanitarian relief during Hurricane Hugo.

The number one mistake enterprise customers make when moving to cloud storage is…

Not being clear about what cloud infrastructure is appropriate for their situation.

When considering the cloud for data storage, businesses need to ask themselves critical questions to assess which cloud model is right for their needs.

Does their business model require direct control or knowledge of the service resource location? Do they need certified resources available 24/7? Is data assurance control and security a leading factor in the final decision? Businesses that require a consistent support profile are better suited with a virtual private cloud model (vs. public cloud) for their data storage and backup as it’s a more controlled storage environment.


Tony Liau

tony liauTony Liau serves as Product Marketing Manager – Storage for Barracuda, and has been in the data protection and storage industry for eight years.

The biggest mistake large companies make when it comes to cloud storage is…

Assuming their employees will separate their work and personal data with a line in the sand, when in reality, employees tend to blur the lines between work and personal data on corporate resources such as laptops, smart phones, and email accounts.

The most prevalent misbehavior comes from employees using cloud storage applications, namely when syncing and sharing files. While file sync and share solutions encourage collaboration and boost productivity, carelessly mixing work and personal data can result in unnecessary operational risks. A successful solution will provide users a single application that handles their personal and work data while providing IT administrators tools to keep that data segregated – enabling employees to be compliant without slowing down productivity.


Ralph Barbagallo

r barbagalloRalph Barbagallo is a developer, writer, speaker, and creator of Ether Drift, and various social and mobile games. Ralph consults clients on the programming, design, deployment, project management and team composition of social/mobile games, virtual worlds, and web MMO games including Rock Band ICONS on Facebook for MTV. Ralph is a Unity3D and Augmented Reality expert with a focus on mobile, and recently created Camera Birds, a 3D bird watching game featuring Augmented Realty birds for both iOS and Android.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to the cloud is…

Assuming it’s going to be easier.

Although you’re not managing physical boxes, depending on the platform there’s nearly as much management overhead dealing with your cloud infrastructure.


Martin Ford

itrinegyMartin Ford is the CEO of iTrinegy Limited and has over 25 years experience in the IT industry as a technologist and entrepreneur. Previously, he served as Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer of Adapt Group Limited, where he was responsible for determining how technology can be used within the company; evaluating and implementing key technologies to actualize business strategy. In this role, he also led the assessment of technologies to ensure technical innovation within the companies Managed Service portfolio; providing market leading services to customers at Adapt Group Limited.

A major mistake large companies make when moving to the cloud is…

Forgetting to consider performance.

Oftentimes, companies will consider availability, security, and server/storage resources. These aspects will be thoroughly discussed with the provider, in fact, together with prices; these will be amongst the main criteria when choosing a provider.

But again, frequently forgotten is the crucial element of performance, especially across new networks, datacenters, etc. Since applications are essential to any business process they will be well-secured and available through redundancy and will be resourced to perform well in the datacenter, but if their response times at the end-user locations are poor they’re as good as useless.


Steve Gagnon

steve gagnonSteve Gagnon is the owner of Back Bay Networks, an IT consulting firm providing support to residential homes, small businesses and municipalities throughout New England. Their services range from PC sales and computer repair to network management and IT staffing.

The biggest mistake large companies make when moving to cloud storage is…

Making hasty decisions on misleading information, causing them to choose the wrong machine or wrong data backup provider.

Solution: Get advice from a neutral party.

Don’t base your decision on the information provided solely by one data solution provider, make sure you get all the facts before making a decision. Even if it’s just a one-hour service consultation, expert advice from an IT service firm will save you time and money. As an experienced member of the IT community I can contest that IT experts have seen it all. We know the pros, cons, ins and outs of data backup and security. Our job is to find the best fit for you, meaning we do not push one particular product on you.

My tip for any businesses owner moving to the cloud; take advantage of free consultations. Almost every IT service company offers a free quote and consultation and it’s actually one of our most useful marketing tactics here at Back Bay Networks. IT professionals will gladly give you free advice if it means the potential of obtaining a future customer.


Charles Moore

pinnacle-business-system-logoCharles Moore is the Vice-President of Cloud & Managed Services for Pinnacle Business Systems. He joined the Pinnacle Business Systems team in August of 2008 from Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONEOK, INC) where he served as the CIO for more than 20 years. Charles successfully set the technology direction for ONEOK during a time of extreme growth within the organization. He led a streamlined IT group that was able to deliver massive, high impact, enterprise level projects that supported all aspects of ONEOK’s business. His career at ONEOK brings unique insight to Pinnacle, as prior CIO for this Fortune 500 company he is able to completely understand the needs of the customer.

One of the bigger mistakes large companies make when moving to cloud storage or when developing a cloud strategy is…

Not involving the business in the planning process.

Too much geek-speak/tech talk is done and not enough understanding of the business requirements. The lack of involvement by the business keeps IT from understanding what the business needs and wants from the “service” being provided. This lack of understanding and a singular focus on the technical merits of the cloud does a business a disservice and doesn’t allow for the entire benefits of storage or any other workload in the cloud from being shown as beneficial or strategic as it could otherwise be evaluated.


John Howie

john_howieJohn Howie is the COO of the Cloud Security Alliance and has over twenty years of experience working in information and communications technology in a variety of industry sectors including financial, telecommunications, entertainment, education and software manufacturing. Prior to joining the Cloud Security Alliance, John managed the groups responsible for security in the datacenters of a leading cloud provider. John is a Visiting Professor at Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing, a Visiting Research Professor at the University of Arizona’s Eller School of Management, is a member of the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Information Management and Computer Security, and is a member of the certification advisory board for certifications of the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

When it comes to large companies moving their data to cloud storage…

There is no “number 1 mistake”, instead there are a collection of mistakes that could be made and each has the potential to introduce intolerable risk to the organization.

When moving data to the cloud an organization of any size (not just large organizations), one needs to understand that it is creating a new information lifecycle for that data. The information lifecycle at its most basic is the creation or collection, processing, updating and deletion of data. A new lifecycle is created when data is transferred to a new location or custodian (hard drive to cloud, cloud to tablet, tablet to business partner via email, etc.). Organizations of all sizes need to ensure that replicas of data created in a transfer are kept in sync with the master to avoid integrity problems, that the master and each replica are secured from unauthorized access and use according to the value of the data for confidentiality purposes, and that the data is accessible as required to address availability.

What cloud computing does offer is the ability to sync replicas of data across a range of devices belonging to various organizations and individuals, and to restrict who has access to the data at any point in time. When selecting a cloud provider to store data, organizations need to consider who will access the data and with what applications. Not all solutions are created equal, and some solutions will work better than others. Organizations also need to consider future data usage, and whether their solutions will be flexible enough to support them.


Cloud Storage Experts Badge

If you’re one of our experts, let others know about it and display a custom badge on your site. Simply copy the code beneath the badge and paste it onto your website!

Docurated_CloudStorageExpert_Badge

By

Further Reading from the Docurated Blog:




Share This