What You Should Know About Safety and Reliability In the Cloud
As a fashion designer, you work diligently building your collection(s), and a lot of work goes into your process -- which is why when it comes to protecting your work, your art, your resources, and all the other data involved, it is imperative you have a safe, secure, and reliable data storage system to manage your property -- as safety and reliability [in the cloud] are key to assuring your data never gets lost, stolen, or compromised.
Fashion companies that have on-premise data centers, with responsible IT and maintenance teams to manage, maintain, and update data, can have their data hosted privately in the cloud using their existing network infrastructure. Thus, minimizing greatly, the risk of having their data compromised. However, this method does have some disadvantages, and limited capacity is one of them. Which means, unless there are plans to install more equipment in the data center, there's no way to change the amount of storage and workload it withstands.
But of course there's always the option to using a third-party hosted, private cloud service which provides the same benefits as an on-premise data center, but for a much cheaper cost, and with the ability to expand storage space as needed.
For companies that don't have data centers (small businesses, startups, etc.), but need cloud hosting services to protect their fashion resources and property, they must take a pragmatic approach to choosing the right provider for the job.
Whether it's a third-party private cloud service or a public cloud service, the most important question to ask is: Will I have complete ownership of my data ... backups included? This is critical because ownership of your backups is not always the case with every provider. So needless to say, anything other than a resounding “Yes” from the provider, should send you off and running, never to return … because total ownership and control of your data are non-negotiable.
More complex issues to consider before choosing a provider are:
Marketing. Will the provider use your data for marketing purposes; or will it be shared anywhere else?
Privacy. What are the policies regarding data access, and who has the potential to access your data? Will staff, contractors, or any other groups have access?
Location. Legally, jurisdiction defines your rights. That means you could potentially lose them if the storage of your data violates the laws and regulations of that location. For example, you don't want to find out later that the storage of your provocative fashion data is in a location that prohibits wearing that type of fashion -- because you may not get the protection you expect. So have them clarify where they're storing your data.
Regulations. Make sure the provider can prove certification and adherence to compliance regulations (ISO, PCI, HIPAA, etc.), and that they're following the rules set by the Cloud Security Alliance.
Separation. If your company stores its data on a public cloud, you should know if it will be kept separately from other client's data. If not, you should walk away and search for another provider.
Another consideration is the provider's downtime history and the amount of revenue you could lose if this happens. To avoid possible damages inflicted by unreliable IT, and to make sure the cloud is functioning at maximum capacity, your service contract should include a service-level agreement (SLA) that defines the expected up-time of their system.
Even with all the safety and reliability concerns surrounding both private and public cloud services, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better service that offers the benefit of flexibility, security, disaster recovery, the ability to work from anywhere, and so much more. Nonetheless, companies would be best served by asking the hard questions; following the tips above, and doing their due diligence before allowing storage of their intellectual property on cloud servers.
To help streamline your fashion design process, please contact us for assistance.