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Warnings for Big Data Cloud Users

Warning! Cloud-based services can provide an economical solution to your big data needs, but the cloud has its issues. It’s important to do your homework before moving your big data there. Here are some issues to consider:

  • Data integrity: You need to make sure that your provider has the right controls in place to ensure that the integrity of your data is maintained.

  • Compliance: Make sure that your provider can comply with any compliance issues particular to your company or industry.

  • Costs: Little costs can add up. Be careful to read the fine print of any contract, and make sure that you know what you want to do in the cloud.

  • Data transport: Be sure to figure out how you get your data into the cloud in the first place. For example, some providers will let you mail it to them on media. Others insist on uploading it over the network. This can get expensive, so be careful.

  • Performance: Because you’re interested in getting performance from your service provider, make sure that explicit definitions of service-level agreements exist for availability, support, and performance. For example, your provider may tell you that you will be able to access your data 99.999 percent of the time; however, read the contract. Does this uptime include scheduled maintenance?

  • Data access: What controls are in place to make sure that you and only you can access your data? In other words, what forms of secure access control are in place? This might include identity management, where the primary goal is protecting personal identity information so that access to computer resources, applications, data, and services is controlled properly.

  • Location: Where will your data be located? In some companies and countries, regulatory issues prevent data from being stored or processed on machines in a different country.

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