For me, cloud computing is defined as the use of IT infrastructure to make IT resources available flexibly via the Internet. In the meantime, more and more companies are using the option of storing data on the Internet using dynamic resources (cloud). According to a study by the Bitkom (Cloud Monitor) 70% of the 500 companies surveyed already use cloud applications today.

Most common use case: storage of data and files

A common use case is the storage of data on the cloud, whereby data protection and data availability play a special role. In particular, according to the study, despite the concerns, more and more secret and even sensitive data is being stored in the cloud. The types of data are:

  • Non-critical information (81%),
  • Data worth protecting (57%) and
  • Secret information (33%).

The survey data show that companies are increasingly storing more data in the cloud and also significantly more internal IT systems such as ERP systems connect to the cloud. The two use cases mentioned are explained below.

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The two most common use cases are the storage of data and files in the cloud (image source: Pixabay )

Storage of files in the cloud

A good approach is to store files such as text documents, images, videos and much more in a secure cloud solution. There are numerous public providers who offer their own cloud solutions such as Onedrive, Dropbox and Google Drive but also private providers who sell software that can be operated on their own servers such as ownCloud, Nextcloud and Box. The decision can be made according to your own company guidelines and has a significant influence on data security and data availability. In addition to desktop and browser access, all providers mentioned also offer access to the data via iOS and Android apps.

Storage of data in the cloud

Another approach is to save company data such as customer names in a cloud or a cloud-enabled database. Various ERP systems and other internal company applications are then connected to this database. There is a data source that stores all the data and applications that can access the data source from anywhere on the Internet in a decentralized manner. The databases and applications can also be saved in a Public or private cloud (own server). This also has an impact on data security and data availability. Tips for ensuring data availability are given at the end of the article.

Companies see advantages in scalability

Storing data in the cloud should offer companies advantages. According to the Bitkom study, the following advantages were named that the companies are hoping for:

  • Faster IT scalability (80%),
  • Geographic collaboration (76%),
  • IT availability and performance (64%) and
  • Organizational flexibility (61%).

The most common concerns are DATA AVAILABILITY and privacy

In addition to the opportunities and potentials, there are also concerns and obstacles for the study participants in the Bitkom study. The most important are:

  • IT failures (43%),
  • Data protection incidents in companies (39%) and
  • Increase in IT costs (34%).

Especially IT failures can have a serious impact on companies and even prevent work entirely for a short time. According to the study, over a third of the companies surveyed had experienced such an outage in the previous twelve months. Such a failure or a reduction in data availability can have serious effects or even bring a company to a standstill. It is therefore not surprising that it is on the most important point of business.

Conclusion: data availability in the cloud

In order to ensure meaningful data availability in the cloud, one must good cloud provider to select. The criteria for this are:

  • You should definitely use Recovery Service Level Objectives (SLOs) of less than 15 minutes. Pay attention to all applications and data.
  • It should also be ensured that the provider is highly automated. For a largely automated restart of the company’s IT after a failure, backup software should offer functions for disaster recovery orchestration (DR).
  • Furthermore, the references of the cloud provider are very important. Putting big names on the cloud provider can be a sign of good performance.

The cloud can offer many advantages and bring with it a market advantage for companies. But there are also the risks of data protection and data availability. The risks can be minimized through the sensible selection of a cloud provider.

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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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