What MySpace’s Latest Debacle Means for the Future of Data Backup and Migration

myspace.jpg

One of the biggest headlines this past week was MySpace losing 12 years of music, photos, and videos between 2003 and 2015 as a result of a server migration project. 

Since last year, Reddit users have been complaining about missing content with no proper response from MySpace. MySpace users have also complained that links to music weren’t working for several months. Only recently has the company issued a brief statement on its website stating that audio and video content uploaded to the site before 2015 may have been lost during a server migration. 

What this means is that MySpace just lost all songs from 2003 till 2015 during data migration. If we talk about numbers, these are 50 million songs by 14 million artists! Granted that MySpace is no longer the social networking powerhouse it once was; many artists have been negatively affected since their music was exclusively published on the MySpace website. 

Artists and their fans are concerned about lost music, fearing the same can happen to other SaaS-based platforms, especially YouTube. Many individuals are also complaining about the data loss because it wiped photos and videos of nostalgic value from the days before Facebook surpassed Myspace as the most visited website in May 2009.

MySpace loses music, photos, and videos

Still others are wondering the implications on archiving internet history. 

And while these are legitimate concerns, almost no one is talking about the issues of data backup and migration that have come to the fore after MySpace’s latest debacle. It’s one thing to lose music, but what if this happened to your organization’s HR or financial data? The MySpace debacle is just the tip of the iceberg. Around 70% of SaaS applications are not protecting their data.

In this blog post, we will cover the common challenges enterprises face when initiating a cloud migration and backup project. Specifically, we’re going to list the opportunities and challenges the cloud presents in these areas as well as provide recommendations so you don’t find yourself in a situation similar to the MySpace one.

Enterprises Taking to the Cloud

While MySpace gave its official reason for the data loss, Kickstarter CTO Andy Baio is a bit skeptical, suspecting that the company just wanted to avoid the effort and cost of migrating and hosting 50 million old MP3s.

Andy Baio

Who knows, he may be right.

Meanwhile, a growing number of companies in North America and Europe are moving to the cloud because of its scalability, cost-efficiency, and flexibility. Major benefits of this transition are:

· Lower operational costs while increasing effectiveness of IT processes

· Greater focus on development while reducing infrastructure overhead

· Remote employees get access to applications and work via the Internet

· You can scale your growing storage needs 

· Achieve organizational excellence (OpEx): cloud computing is basically a pay-as-you-go model

However, migrating to the cloud is easier said than done. Even the simplest migration can face obstacles, impacting not just your performance as a business, but also customer experience, and ultimately, your revenue.

Here are some of the key challenges of such a transition.

Not Comprehensive Enough

Is your current backup plan comprehensive? A lot of people think cloud migration and backup is as easy as copying files and moving it over. It’s much more complicated than that and we recommended you have internal people with cloud migration and backup experience to ensure all your basis are covered. What is the testing plan and what technologies are you leveraging to reduce risk?

Not all clouds are the same so it’s important to understand the risks and prepare for as many scenarios as possible. Each cloud vendor has its pros and cons as well. A private cloud vendor, for instance, will offer greater agility but it may not be as scalable as a public one (and vice versa).

To get the most comprehensive plan, you need to ask the right questions, such as:

  • Does this plan restore data as quickly as possible?

  • Does this plan provide the ability to recover data?

  • Does it help me to keep services available to clients?

  • Does it provide backup databases, applications, configurations, and operating systems?

The more comprehensive your backup plan is, the less time it will take for you to get back in business.

Lack of a Defined Strategy

Many companies don’t have a proper strategy of how to execute their data migration, and what to do in case of a mishap. This is what the MySpace story clearly highlights. To implement a successful cloud integration, you need end-to-end planning and testing, without any shortcuts. For example, why did MySpace get rid of their old environment before validating the new environment?

To start, you need to analyze the current infrastructure of the organization and decide where and how to migrate without missing out any data. Some proprietary assets, for instance, may require small adjustments or complete redesign before they go on the cloud. Identify such assets in your roadmap. A comprehensive cost analysis is also required at this stage. 

Once you create a strategy, break it down further into phases so that cloud migration becomes seamless.

Vendor Lock In

Some vendors make their customers sign up for proprietary software and hardware, thereby restricting them from using a different cloud vendor. If anything goes wrong with your cloud service provider, switching to another will spike up overhead, which is contrary to why you adopted the cloud in the first place.

It is important that when looking for vendors, you ascertain if they have the most modern and robust data migration tools. Your due diligence is important because in the event of a data breach or any other mishap, your organization, not the vendor, will more likely be held accountable. Your vendor selection should be based on the following factors:

  • Your migration goals and strategy

  • Necessary components needed (architecture, compliance, security)

  • Which environment is best (private, public, hybrid)

  • Manageability

  • Service and Support

  • Costs 

Security

Security is (or should be) the biggest concern of any company when migrating data to the cloud. The security industry is not keeping pace with cloud growth, and a large number of CIOs and CSOs are only resistant to cloud adoption because of the perceived risks. In fact, there is great distrust with conventional network security tools and appliances. Fortunately, latest cloud vendors have more robust security systems. But even then, you need to know things like:

  • Where you data is stored

  • Is it end-to-end encrypted?

  • What security governance policies and procedures does you vendor follow

And this ties back to the MySpace data loss, which is a wakeup call, especially for SaaS applications. Losing music is one thing, but what about proprietary enterprise data or personally identifiable information? Approximately 70% of organizations are still not protecting their data and most cannot survive with SaaS applications being down for just 24 hours. A simple DR test proves volumes and every organization should do an audit.

If you fall into this category, it’s high time that you create a discovery plan to protect your business and your customers from data loss. If more stories like this hit the news, your consumers will soon make you prove a backup and DR plan ensuring their data is protected.