The cloud storage industry is still one plagued with many myths, despite how integral the technology is to our modern lives.
The main three are that cloud storage is bad for the environment, that companies need both local and external copies of data for security purposes, and lastly, that everything must be stored on the cloud.
Each of these erroneous claims can cause unnecessary stress and misguided efforts for businesses looking to improve the security, sustainability, and general cost efficiency of their IT stack.
Myth 1 - Cloud storage is not sustainable
Data centers consume a lot of energy and produce a lot of heat – using up 1.5 percent of the world’s electricity. However, that is simply because the modern world requires that much data. Cloud storage is still the most efficient way of storing data.
Firstly, PC hard drives are rarely full because of their inherently inflexible nature. Cloud storage providers, however, let no unused space go unwasted – and let’s not forget power is needed to drive in-house storage drives too.
Globally, 14GW of electricity is used to drive PC hard drives. Their better efficiency, compared to standard, legacy storage at least, is shown by IEA data which shows that, despite the workload for data centers rising 260 percent between 2015-2021, global energy use attributed to data centers has shown only a 10 percent increase.
There is no doubt that they are thirsty for energy, but they are less thirsty every single day. Data center innovation is rampant – with new developments in cooling, memory density, and other developments that will reduce energy use.
Also, as data centers can quite easily choose to use renewable energy, which makes the negative aspects of energy use, in regard to the environment at least, redundant.
Myth 2 – Security myths
It is usually said that true data security requires the 3-2-1 backup policy, which means having three copies of data – two of them on diverse storage methods, and one of them being stored offsite. Diverse storage methods usually referred to having one copy on hard disks, and the other on tape.
Since the arrival of cloud, we should be instead looking at a 3-2-1-1-0 strategy: three copies, in at least two locations, with one stored offsite, one stored immutably, and all tested for zero errors.
Immutable storage as offered by cloud providers means it is locked and can’t be altered or deleted, which prevents hackers from destroying backups. Having two copies on the cloud is as secure as having a hard copy if the data centers are separated by physical geography – as if one data center gets impacted by a natural or manmade disaster, the other cloud storage location will remain untouched.
This new standard of security, which is adhered to by major storage providers, gives ‘11 nines’ of durability for their stored data. Statistically, this means that if a user stores a million objects, one object will be lost every 659,000 years – which are fairly unbeatable odds.
This immutable cloud copy is "air-gapped”, which means it remains disconnected from the corporate network and therefore any cybersecurity breaches. This maximizes the backup’s protection, reinforcing the solid security offered by cloud storage and thus the lack of need for a local, onsite copy.
Myth 3 – Everything should go onto the cloud
Despite the dynamism and growth of the cloud market, major players, known as ‘hyperscalers,' account for four-fifths of the market.
This ‘one-cloud’ approach provides convenience, as everything is managed by one vendor, but it sacrifices quality, cost-efficiency, and security.
Customers are locked in, which is to say, it’s that much less of a threat to hyperscalers that a customer can migrate their data to a better service, and therefore, better terms and conditions are rarely offered in competition. If they did, it would cost a fortune in egress fees and take a lot of time, effort, and admin.
For this reason, many choose to opt for smaller, specialty providers that can give closer support and a better, more tailored product to their specific storage needs and business requirements.
A hybrid approach is the best way to ensure the selection of storage solutions is optimized. By using a mixture of public, private, or on-premise cloud resources to store and manage their data, companies can avoid becoming locked in and can opt for services that suit their specific needs for data access – depending on how the data is being used and by whom.