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Colo or Cloud: Choosing the Right Backup and Archive Solution

by Catherine Chiang – September 19, 2017

It’s critical for enterprises to build in offsite redundancy as part of their disaster recovery plans, as data loss can cost businesses hundreds of thousandseven millionsof dollars. Enterprises have three main avenues for achieving offsite redundancy: using a datacenter in another location, public cloud, and colocation (colo). For enterprises looking to reduce their own offsite datacenter footprint, public cloud and colo both pose viable options.

With the advancements of large public cloud providers such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, public cloud has become a cost-effective and accessible way to backup enterprise data. However, contrary to public perception, cloud has not signaled the death of colo with the colo market forecasted to reach $33bn by 2018. Rather, enterprises may find colo, or a combination of colo and cloud, a better fit for their data backup and archive needs.

Colo or Cloud?

Public cloud has many advantages for enterprise data backup and archive. One of the greatest benefits of using cloud is that data is accessible anywhere, anytime. Cloud storage is also an economical option as the cost of storage is cheap and it does not require enterprise power or infrastructure costs.

However, concerns with public cloud have some enterprises turning to colo as a data backup and archive solution.

Enterprises with sensitive data, such as financial or health data, may be concerned with the hurdles of either regulatory or internal compliance with public cloud. Users perceive a higher risk of losing control of their data in a shared cloud, especially because errors in configuration are common and can easily lead to security risks.

Although public cloud providers have invested more into tightening data security, many users have little insight into the procedures of cloud providers and may be less prepared to trust cloud providers with sensitive data. When using a colo facility, users retain complete control of their data because they own the hardware, the network, and the processes.

In addition, enterprises need to be vigilant about regulatory compliance when using public cloud. Examples of laws requiring compliance regarding data storage include:

  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Protects patient and health insurance information
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): Protects consumer credit card information
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX): Sets laws on storing and retaining business records in IT systems
In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will place 

more stringent restrictions on data security and storage

, affecting all personal data pertaining to European citizens; most cloud providers are not yet GDPR compliant. Failure to comply to any of these laws is costly.

One of the largest concerns with meeting compliance in cloud is data security and who is responsible for security. Enterprises cannot assume that their data is secure and compliant in cloud but must take action to ensure that they are compliant. When using colo, enterprises control their hardware and can directly ensure compliance because they still manage their data; experienced colo providers can also help ensure compliance.

Another concern that enterprises may have with using public cloud is speed of access. Since connectivity relies on public Internet, companies lose access to their data when the Internet goes down or experiences delays. Cloud may be a better option for data that rarely needs to be accessed, such as archived data, while colo may be a better option for data that needs to be accessed frequently and quickly since the speed does not rely on the Internet.

The Best of Both Worlds

Enterprises don’t necessarily have to choose between colo and cloud and in many cases, a combination of both can be the best data backup and archive strategy. As the rise of cloud technologies have increased demand for data management services, colo providers have also scaled up their offerings to include services beyond just colocation, such as networking and cloud services. For example, some colo centers, such as Equinix, Inc., provide private network connections between servers and public cloud providers, giving enterprises better peace of mind when it comes to data security. This combination of colo and cloud allows enterprises to utilize cloud while minimizing their concerns with security, compliance, and access.

Igneous Hybrid Storage Cloud offers built-in tiering to public cloud, enabling enterprises to take advantage of the benefits of both colo and cloud without further complicating their data management processes. Whether you incorporate colo, cloud, or both into your data backup and archive strategy, Igneous delivers a streamlined solution that protects and backups your data while reducing Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with our Zero-Touch Infrastructure™.

Read more about colo vs. cloud here or learn more about our flexible solutions:

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