One of the biggest resources that your business has is the data that you have collected through the years. This includes things like customer information, which can be used for future marketing as well as data about the company itself.
Perhaps most importantly is any private data such as customer addresses, credit card information, proprietary practices, and more. No matter what type of business you run, you almost certainly have a lot of important digital information that you need to be stored.
While you can certainly store important company information on your local computers or set up a private storage server, that’s generally not going to be the best idea. For most situations, using cloud storage is going to provide your business with a lot of advantages, which is why it’s such a popular decision for businesses of all sizes.
Learn how cloud storage can make your business better, and get answers to questions, such as:
- How does cloud storage work?
- What are the different types of cloud storage?
- Why does cloud storage make your business better?
- What are the disadvantages of cloud storage?
How Cloud Storage Works
When you save a file that you’re working on, you’re likely saving it to the hard drive that’s located in your PC or laptop. For some things, this is a great option since it lets you keep the file relatively safe and it’s easily accessible anytime you’re at that computer. Saving files locally, however, can be risky since if the computer, or even just the hard drive, fails, you can lose your files. In addition, since the file is stored locally, it’s only accessible when you’re at that specific computer.
With cloud storage, you can save files to a server that’s located in “the cloud.” The cloud is simply a term used to describe any facility, or combination of facilities, where technical infrastructure and other related services are offered. In most cases, this means a data center or multiple data centers run by cloud service companies, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or others.
Once you have signed up for a cloud storage service, you can put all of your files onto the systems that are managed by the cloud services provider. This can either be done manually, by selecting the cloud drive when saving a file or based automatically on system policies. You can also set up your business systems to back up files to the cloud automatically as a way to keep them safe.
There are several different types of cloud storage services you can consider to help make your business better.
Different Types of Cloud Storage
The following are among the most popular types of cloud storage services used today:
- File-sharing services: File-sharing services allow you to upload various types of files to a cloud server so that others can access them. You can generally create links to these files to make sharing simple. One of the most popular examples of this option is Dropbox.
- Cloud drives: Cloud drives allow you to save files to cloud systems so that they’re safe and can be accessed from anywhere. Some services allow you to save any type of file, and others are restricted to only specific options. Google Drive is a common example of this type of cloud storage.
- Big data storage: If your company collects a large amount of data, you need a cloud solution that has massive capacity options. These services often include a variety of different analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning (ML) services that can help you to process the information as needed. The most common options that offer this are AWS and Microsoft Azure, though there are many others.
- Backup and restoration services: Some cloud storage services are used specifically to help ensure you never lose your files. These allow you to create a cloud backup of your local data and then restore it if it’s ever needed.
- Web hosting: You can often use web hosting services for more than just hosting a website. Many of the best web hosting services around allow you to use their services as a cloud storage solution as well, which can be very convenient.
If you want to take advantage of cloud storage solutions for your business, you’ll want to know about the different types that are available. This helps you to select the options that provide your business with the benefits that you need.
Why Cloud Storage Makes Your Small Business Better
Cloud storage helps make your business better in these ways:
- Data is protected: Data is one of the most valuable resources that your business has. Cloud storage services specialize in making sure that your data is always kept safe. These companies don’t just store the data on commercial grade drives, but they also have their own internal backups. In most cases, they use technology to ensure that your data is kept on multiple physical devices so there’s never a single point of failure.
- Easier access: Depending on the type of cloud storage you use, you and your employees can access the data from anywhere with an Internet connection. This means even if you aren’t at your computer at work, you can access your files, which is ideal for working from home, on the road, or anywhere else.
- No technical management: Setting up a data storage or backup solution locally is possible, but it requires that you manage the system yourself, which requires expertise. With cloud solutions, you can rely on the experts to take care of this for you.
- Affordable: Cloud storage is extremely affordable and generally requires a simple monthly subscription fee based on usage. Setting up storage locally requires a significant up-front investment and the potential for ongoing costs for managing the system.
- Cyber security: If you have sensitive data that needs to be protected, you need to make sure you are keeping up with the latest cyber security standards. Using a cloud storage service allows this effort to be handled by the provider rather than having to do it yourself.
There are many different services out there for your business, and not all of them are going to bring it a benefit. Understanding why cloud storage services can benefit your organization helps you to decide if it’s worth it to use this type of solution or not.
Disadvantages to Cloud Storage
Of course, there are some potential downsides to using cloud storage systems for your business. The biggest one to be aware of is that you need to make sure you have the proper Internet bandwidth in place to handle the traffic. When planning out your Internet bandwidth capacity, you need to make sure you have enough to handle the peak needs without slowing down the data transfer. Related to this is you need to make sure that your Internet connection is reliable since you won’t be able to access your data if the connection is down.
Another disadvantage is that you have a monthly payment for cloud storage. While this expense typically is lower than if you set up a local storage solution, it’s something to consider and factor into your decisions. Finally, for some companies, relying on a third party to store and protect their data can be a problem since there are many requirements that need to be met to ensure the data is safe. Choosing the right cloud storage provider is essential for overcoming this type of concern.
What To Do Next if You Want to Use Cloud Storage for Your Business
If you decide that you want to use cloud storage for your business, you want to take the time to find the best service provider possible. There are many different companies that offer cloud storage, so do the needed research to pick the one that best meets your needs. In addition, contact your internet service provider (ISP) to make sure that you have the bandwidth that’s needed to handle this type of service. Beyond that, however, all you need to do is sign up for the service and start using it to store all the important data that your company needs.