What if you have your data in the cloud and then your cloud service provider shuts down?  The recent closure of Nirvanix has brought up questions related to how exactly to get out of the cloud, and sheds light on risk mitigation strategies while adopting new cloud services.  Whether a company shuts down, changes its business model, experiences an outage or disaster, or you simply want to prevent cloud vendor lock-in, you just might want to formulate a cloud exit strategy even before you adopt a new cloud technology.

Here are 3 important things to think about as you’re adopting a new cloud technology:

1. Read the company’s SLA thoroughly.  

Make sure to fully understand all Terms of Service to determine how the company will handle various situations - an outage, a disaster, bankruptcy, or other “emergency situations”.  How will they notify you of changes to their business model, to their pricing/plans, or to their Terms themselves?  Who owns your data once in a business relationship?  How long will you have to move your data and who’s responsibility is it to do so?

2. Consider the type and amount of data involved. 

(Now and in the future.)  How long would it take to download and migrate your data elsewhere?  And what would be required to do so?  Nirvanix gave their customers two weeks to migrate their data.  They ended up extending that deadline, but some larger customers had too much data (10-20 PB) to download and move within the time frame provided.  Also, consider the alternatives for that service, the timing to negotiate a new contract, upload the data elsewhere, and update your existing infrastructure. Mapping out the logistics ahead of time can save you a major headache (and potential data loss) later.

3. Have a backup plan.  

Take ownership of your data yourself, regardless of the terms in your contractual agreements.  Check whether the SaaS company has their own backup solution, or whether you should find another third party solution to secure a second copy of all your data in the cloud.  A cloud-to-cloud backup can prevent cloud vendor lock-in, limit your dependency, and reduce the chance of losing important information in any scenario.

Consider these three issues ahead of time so that no matter what happens, you’re ready.  Are there other important factors you think should be added to this list?

If you’re considering a cloud-to-cloud backup provider to secure your data, check out our handy checklist to help you get started.