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Cloud Data Storage Hardware

What Happens To Data When a Cloud Provider Dies? 262

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the up-in-smoke dept.
Lucas123 writes "When cloud storage providers shut down, as four have done in the past year, users are left wondering how they'll get their data back and whether they'll be able to migrate it directly to a new service provider. More importantly, analysts say, what guarantees do they have that the data stored offsite will be deleted after the shutdown. Currently, there is no direct way to migrate data to another provider, and there are no government rules or regulations specific to data managed by cloud storage providers."
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What Happens To Data When a Cloud Provider Dies?

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  • Migration (Score:4, Informative)

    by sourcerror (1718066) on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @11:04AM (#35942364)

    On shared hosting you can migrate from one service provider to the other without major pain, because there are a lot of providers offering LAMP/J2EE/ etc.
    In the case of the cloud, you depend on the cloud APIs which aren't standardized and because cloud servers aren't a commodity. You can't migrate from Amazon cloud to Microsoft cloud without writing your own abstraction layer on top of proprietary cloud APIs.

  • Re:Well... (Score:5, Informative)

    by mlts (1038732) * on Tuesday April 26, 2011 @11:44AM (#35942866)

    Don't forget that all SLAs, privacy agreements, and other items are not worth the paper they are printed in come a liquidation. We all heard the adage that possession is 9/10s of the law. It applies here too.

    After a bankruptcy, the new holders of the servers can do anything they please with the data on the boxes. PII data about bank accounts and HR records? It can be put as a torrent for all to download, sold to a firm offshore for ID theft, sold to advertisers. There is not one single thing anyone can do about it, provided there is no confidential or classified data present. Trade secret? By law, it isn't a trade secret anymore.

    One of the downsides of cloud computing is that all data, be it E-mails on a cloud system, offsite storage, or applications in house can easily be made public to sell to all comers should a cloud provider go bankrupt or change hands. No amount of paperwork can ever go to assure against that.

    Only real protection? Encryption, with keys stored with the client, and ONLY with the client. Even then, it still isn't good for cyphertext data to be made public for all and sundry to try to figure out the contents.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. -- James Baldwin