Four key questions to ask your cloud provider

What questions should you ask before trusting your data to a cloud service? Not all cloud services are the same and by not asking key questions up front, you can leave your business exposed.

To highlight what can happen when you trust people with your data without checking them out first, Mozy carried out a hidden camera experiment asking a series of strangers in a coffee shop to look after a laptop. Find out what happened:

What should our man have asked before trusting anyone with his data?

  • How long will you look after it?
    Just as some of our participants only protected the data for a limited period of time, not all providers are in it for the long term. Find out how long the provider has been around and how committed to the market it really is.
  • Will you look at my data?
    Some participants in the experiment thought the data on our laptop might be of value to them. Some cloud providers will scrape your data to create anonomised information to sell on to advertisers. Encryption and privacy commitments are essential here – make sure your cloud provider has them.
  • Will you leave my data vulnerable?
    Some of the people in our experiment did very little to keep the data safe, leaving it unattended as they left the coffee shop and went about their business. Some cloud providers don’t encrypt data and some take physical security more seriously than others. Make sure that your cloud provider is storing your data on enterprise-class equipment, in tier 4 data centers and in an encrypted state at all times.
  • Can anyone take my data?
    In the film, we saw someone take the computer they were trusted with but we also had people who let a computer be taken from them. Data can be intercepted when using cloud services if the provider has failed to secure it. Ensure that your provider offers end-to-end encryption and transfers data over an SSL connection.

For more advice on what to ask before choosing a cloud provider, check out this whitepaper from IDC.