Four Things You Must Do Before Migrating Archive Data to the Cloud

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1 Four Things You Must Do Before Migrating Archive Data to the Cloud The amount of archive data that organizations are retaining has expanded rapidly in the last ten years. Since the 2006 amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) declared electronically stored information as discoverable, data managers are archiving more data and more types of data than ever before. Since archive data storage increased suddenly, many companies added storage units quickly and are now stuck with multiple incompatible legacy archives in separate data silos. This creates a system that is expensive to manage and reduces productivity. By consolidating your archive data storage into one solution, you can increase your search capabilities as well as reduce costs with fewer hardware and software support expenses. With the vast increase of archive data storage, many organizations have found that they need scalable archive data solutions at an affordable price. With no up-front hardware investments, cloud storage can be a fraction of the costs of on-site storage. But, there are both pros and cons of storing your archive data in the cloud. This white paper will offer an overview of many of the points you need to consider and the four steps you must take before moving your archive data to the cloud. STEP 1 Decide if storing archive data in the cloud makes sense for your organization Most companies save their archive data because of compliance, regulatory or legal reasons. However, many companies are now looking to monetize their archive data for big data purposes. Whether or not to store your archive data in the cloud is a complex decision with a lot of different aspects to consider. Let s look at the pros and cons of cloud storage. Benefits Reduced costs: Cloud storage fees are paid on a monthly basis and eliminate the need for a large upfront investment in storage hardware. Cloud storage is generally less expensive per terabyte than traditional on-site archive storage and it also reduces heating and cooling costs since some, if not all, of the hardware is located off-site. Reduced network personnel hours: Your cloud storage provider is responsible for the management and security of your archive data. This drastically reduces or eliminates the hours internal personnel spend to upgrade, fix and manage your archive data storage solution. Highly scalable: Another benefit of storing your archive data in the cloud is that you can reduce the emphasis on capacity planning. Cloud storage is extremely scalable; with the right plan, you will be able to write as much data as you want without managing a complex on-site storage architecture where information frequently ends up in separate silos. Easy access and multi-platform support: By storing your archive data in the cloud, you should have multi-platform support and easy access to the data. If you contract a big data company to mine your data, collaboration should be easy and they should be able to access the data from any location. 1

2 Data back-up: Depending upon the cloud service plan you choose, many providers automatically create back-ups of your data and store it in different locations. This ensures that your data is safe in case anything happens to your primary storage site. No more disks or tapes to reach end-of-life: With cloud storage, you do not need to worry about your archive data solution reaching end-of-life. The cloud storage company will keep and maintain your data without the need for you to devote personnel hours to end-of-life transitions. Many providers: There are a lot of cloud storage companies with many different offerings, so you should be able to find a provider that meets your specific needs. Disadvantages Data security: The single largest disadvantage of cloud storage is security. When you turn your data over to a third-party company you take a risk. Even if your data is stored as object data, meaning that it is run through a hash algorithm to encrypt it and then given a unique identifier, if a company hires one untrustworthy employee you could be responsible for a data breach. Data maintenance issues: When you use cloud storage, carefully check the rights of your storage company to copy and move your data. With cloud storage you are outsourcing the maintenance and location of your data. Most companies have policies that they can move and copy your data to offer efficient scalability and back-ups. Does the provider offer a single location that remains untouched to avoid losing data if it is corrupted during transfer? Different API structure: Most on-site archive storage solutions support standard file system interfaces (CIFS/NFS) as well as APIs for your current storage provider, for example, EMC s Centera. Cloud storage requires support for new APIs such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and possibly Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), al though SOAP is fading in popularity. You need to ensure that the company that migrates your data can accommo date these file transitions. Industry/Regulatory considerations: If you are in the financial, healthcare or government industries you probably need a storage provider that is familiar with your industry and file types. In addition, you have to consider the regulatory requirements of HIPPA, chain-of-custody, legal holds, SEC regulations, etc., when you choose your storage plan and provider. Slower transfer rates: Since we are discussing archive data, the slower transfer and access rate provided by cloud storage is a little less critical. When switching to cloud storage, keep in mind that your archive storage and retrieval is subject to internet slow-downs and outages. Cloud storage is generally a little slower than on-site storage, and if there is an outage you can temporarily lose access to your backup and stored data. Many providers: This is both a pro and a con of cloud storage. There are many providers, which usually leads to market consolidation or attrition. You should consider the stability and longevity of each company as part of your selection process. 2

3 STEP 2 Choose which cloud option is safe and appropriate for your data There are three main types of cloud storage options: public, private and hybrid. All three are scalable, reduce up-front costs, and decrease the time spent managing archive storage since most cloud storage companies will oversee the daily operations and back-ups. These are all great benefits, but there are also differences in the types of cloud storage. 1. Public: In public cloud storage the organization stores information outside of the company s data center and the cloud storage provider fully manages the cloud storage, data and security. 2. Private: With private cloud storage a cloud storage company installs a cloud infrastructure behind the organization s firewall, but still manages the cloud storage for scalability, reliability and rapid deployment. This is the most expensive type of cloud storage, but it is generally the most secure. 3. Hybrid: A hybrid installation keeps the most critical data in a private cloud, while storing less sensitive data in a public cloud. When deciding what is safe and appropriate for your storage, consider the types of data you will store and the security regulations for your industry. While public clouds are the least work and the least expensive, they are also the least secure of the three options. With private cloud storage there is less cost savings, since you still have data onsite while paying another company to help manage it. The hybrid model is a popular choice, as it segments the data and provides high security for private data with lower cost public storage for less sensitive information. STEP 3 Select your archive data storage provider This is a critical factor for any company, but it is especially important for organizations with HIPPA and SEC 17a4 compliance requirements. From general technical support through industry-specific considerations, here is a quick overview of the things you should consider when choosing a cloud storage provider for your archive data. Scalability: One of the key benefits of cloud storage is that is should be almost endless scalable. Your storage provider should seamlessly expand your storage on-demand so applications always stay running. They should also have an efficient architecture that does not needlessly slow down access to your data. Security: This is the most critical factor when choosing a cloud storage provider. Your storage provider needs to not only have strong security today, but also enough resources and personnel to ensure continual cutting-edge security. Even with a dedicated team, security breaches happen; ensure that any sensitive data is encrypted using a secure hashing algorithm. It is best to encrypt your data before it goes to storage. If you rely on your storage provider to encrypt your data, you turn over additional control to your cloud provider s staff. If they encrypt your data, they can easily decrypt it as well. If your industry has specific regulations, this requires even more investigation and we will discuss this further in the industry considerations section. Flexibility: Ensure that you have the option of easily scaling your storage up or down. Choose a provider that offers easy, independent access to your storage, via a secure connection, in case you need to access the information. Ask if the company provides efficient access for multiple parties? For example, if you decide to hire a big data company to perform data mining ensure that your cloud storage vendor can provide unique access for more than one company. In addition, find out if your potential storage vendors have any bandwidth limitations for the initial migration or in the event that you need to restore sections of your data. 3

4 Access: Some cloud storage companies provide data discovery tools in case you need to find archived data for legal or compliance reasons. Find out if your potential providers offer this service and how much it costs. To access the object storage data, you will most likely need to integrate with the original application, at least to some extent. Find out how each storage company handles this issue. Can you search yourself or do they need to search for you? How fast are the searches? To what degree do the application and the storage tools have to mesh? Do you need a specific solution for your application data? Some vendors are tying the data and content together and converting it into an XML database, so you can read and access data even if you no longer have the original application. These access issues are one of the biggest differentiators between lower cost and higher cost archive data cloud solutions. All of these access questions are important for all organizations, but these are especially important for organizations in the financial services industry. See the industry considerations section for further details. High availability infrastructure: Ensure that your cloud provider offers a high availability architecture and limits the amount of downtime they experience for maintenance or upgrades. Look for providers with multiple different geographic locations, so if there is a regional outage data or backup data is still accessible from another site. Your Service Level Agreement (SLA) should detail the availability of data and systems, response times for normal issues, and response times for security and urgent issues. Support: Different cloud service providers have different levels of support. Some build a solution and leave you to manage it, while others actively manage your cloud storage solution and will move your data for seamless scalability and remote location backups. There are variations in what companies consider allowable outage times, response times, impact of upgrades, etc. Your SLA should contain guarantees about support for the data and any applications in your storage. Carefully compare the different support services and ensure that the services you will receive are detailed in your SLA. Longevity: This is an important issue when selecting a cloud service provider. How long have they been in business and how likely are they to be in business a decade from now? You do not want to lose your data or be forced to move it quickly if the company goes bankrupt or dissolves; ensure that your provider will be able to serve your needs well into the future. Industry considerations: There are two industries, healthcare and financial services, that need to pay special attention to unique requirements when considering storing their archive data in the cloud. Healthcare: Organizations in the healthcare industry should be particularly careful when choosing a cloud storage provider. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the entity responsible for HIPPA, does not recognize any cloud HIPPA certification programs. But, if you look for a cloud service provider that undergoes annual data center and cloud infrastructure audits using the HIPPA Audit Protocols this will ensure that the provider has the necessary procedures in place to be, and stay, compliant. Ask the vendor if they have an annual HIPPA compliance audit and ask to see the report. Another key factor is ensuring that the cloud service provider will sign a Business Association Agreement (BAA). HIPPA requires that third-party suppliers of covered entities must also comply with HIPPA standards if they have access to Protected Health Information (PHI). If your organization is a covered entity and you are storing any PHI in a cloud solution, you need a BAA with the cloud storage provider. Non-covered entities should also ask their cloud storage provider for a BAA to ensure additional legal protection. Financial Services: Financial services companies have to retain records and ensure privacy and data security in compliance with SEC 17a4. Although some firms overlook the rules, SEC 17a4 also requires companies to store required data types with a third party vendor. In case of an SEC audit a financial service company may need to provide a list of documents, with only a few hours notice, so the ability to quickly access your archive data is a significant consideration. The choice of whether to migrate your data to the cloud requires you to do some research to ensure that you find the right solution, and the right provider, to fit your needs. If you have decided that cloud storage is not for you, there are also a lot of great on-site archive data storage providers. Whichever storage you choose, the next step in the process is to select the correct data migration company. 4

5 STEP 4 Choose your data migration company Once you have chosen the type of storage and the storage provider, the next thing you need to do is select a data migration company. Some storage companies will try to do the migration in-house or can recommend a third-party company, but you should conduct your due diligence and look at the different data migration companies to ensure you are making the right choice for your organization. When choosing your data migration company, consider the following issues: Storage support: Will each data migration company transfer your data to any vendor and platform you choose? Some companies only support one or two storage vendors, while others transfer your data to any storage vendor. This should be the first question that you ask each data migration company. Application support: The second question you should ask each vendor is if they have experience migrating the types of files in your storage. For example, if you are using Symantec s Enterprise Vault (EV), messages are stored as chunks and attachments are shared between different mail objects. So, a data migration company must migrate the domains, accounts and aliases for users before the data is migrated to ensure proper data mapping. In this example, you would want to use a company that has experience with EV software and has a relationship with Symantec so they have the special skills and experience to preserve any legal holds or journal archives. Initial Assessment: Before you migrate your data, it is always a good idea to do a pre-migration assessment so you know exactly how much data you have and what file types you need to migrate. This can help you eliminate the companies that do not have experience with your file types. In addition, with a detailed pre-assessment report, you should also be able to get a more specific estimate on the amount of time it will take to migrate your archive data. Security: Ensure that each data migration provider is using a FIPS approved SHA-256 secure hashing algorithm that was designed by the NSA to ensure data integrity, and therefore prevents data loss. Speed: There are large differences in how quickly companies can migrate your data. Some companies bypass the application layer so they can complete the largest migrations, with billions of files, in a few months. Other companies go through the application layer, which takes much longer, and can require 18 months for the same migration. In addition, ask each vendor for their record of on-time performance and see if they offer an on-time guarantee. Compliance and chain-of-custody: Ensure that all of the vendors comply with industry standards such as HIPPA, SEC 17a4 and Sarbanes-Oxley. In addition, if chain-of-custody is important for your public records or regulatory compliances, ensure that you choose a full service vendor. If one vendor does both the pre-migration assessment as well as the post-migration assessment and has been the sole entity touching the migrated data, you will have a clean chain-of-custody report. Reports: Getting a detailed report before and after the migration is the key to proving that all the data was successfully migrated and that nothing was forgotten or left behind. Look for comprehensive and detailed reports that provide you with full visibility into your data, so you can confirm that all of your data was successfully moved. Ask each vendor if their reports are detailed enough that they have stood up in court as proof of compliance. When migrating your archive data, look for an expert professional services company that will handle the whole migration and has the experience to successfully map and migrate complex architectures. With your legal and regulatory compliance at risk you do not want to be one of those organizations that try to migrate its own data and fail. Data can be damaged and lost in that process, so it is not worth the risk. Other companies try to save a few dollars by using an automated migration company. Sadly, if your migration gets complex an automated company cannot always finish the job and now you still need to hire migration experts. By trying to save a few dollars, some companies put their systems in a precarious position where they risk data loss, fines, downtime and inaccessible data. Choosing a full service provider eliminates the risk that you will be left stranded if legal or regulatory issues occur during the migration. 5

6 SUMMARY There are many compelling reasons to migrate your archive data. You can reduce costs with new, more efficient storage, reduce employee hours with a simplified and scalable architecture, increase the speed of search, and eliminate worries if your system is nearing end-of-life. Migrating before your storage reaches the end of its useful life lets you increase your ROI now and ensures that you are not asking for expensive extensions from your previous storage vendor. If you are considering cloud storage, ensure that you investigate the pros and cons of the solutions and carefully vet the cloud providers to ensure that your data is safe, scalable and accessible. When you are ready to migrate your archive data, ensure that you have selected an experienced professional services company that will ensure the success of your migration. Interlock Technology was the first company to offer Centera migrations and we have deep expertise that enables us to handle the most challenging migrations. Interlock Technology is the leading provider of archive data migrations from EMC Centera, and other object-based storage systems, to the storage infrastructure of your choice. Interlock s field-tested, proprietary technology bypasses the applications so it migrates archive data at 10x the speed of host-based migrations, as well as supports a broader range of file types than any other provider. We make archive data migration simple, safe, fast and effective. For more information on Interlock, contact us at or Interlock Technology is the leading provider of archive data migrations from EMC Centera, and other object-based storage systems, to the storage infrastructure of your choice. Interlock s field-tested, proprietary technology bypasses the applications so it migrates archive data at 10x the speed of host-based migrations, as well as supports a broader range of file types than any other provider. We make archive data migration simple, safe, fast and effective. For more information on Interlock, contact us at or InterlockTechnology EMC and Centera are registered trademarks of EMC Corporation. All trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 6

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