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Cloud storage is one of the hottest trends in technology. It allows individuals and businesses to keep data on cloud infrastructure, which is generally managed by a third-party provider. This offers many important benefits to most types of organizations. Take some time to learn more about this important trend to see if it’s a good opportunity for you. In this article are answers to questions like:

  • What is cloud storage?
  • What are the benefits of using cloud storage for your business?
  • What are the downsides of using cloud storage for your business?
  • What to do next when getting started?
cloud illustration
Source: Bluehost

What Is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is a technology that allows you to keep your computer files stored on cloud-based systems. This means that rather than having your data kept on your PC or a local server, it’s housed on cloud infrastructure.

In most cases, cloud storage services are operated by a third-party company. The largest companies that offer this type of solution include Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

There are also many smaller companies, including many of the top web hosting companies, that offer this type of service. You can even set up your own private cloud storage servers if you want to maintain control over all aspects of the data.

This would generally be done by setting up some type of storage server that allows you to manage it yourself.

illustration of servers
Source: GreenGeeks

Understanding what cloud storage is and how it works helps to determine if it’s the right option for you.

What Are the Benefits of Using Cloud Storage for Your Business?

There are many benefits to using cloud storage solutions for your business. The specific advantages that apply to you depend on what type of business you run, the type of data you need stored, and other details.

The following, however, are among the most common advantages that companies look at when signing up for cloud storage services.

Potential Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of cloud storage is that you typically only have to pay for as much as you use. With a local storage system, you need to buy all the storage space you might potentially need upfront so you don’t risk running out. For most companies, the total expenses associated with cloud storage are lower than trying to get similar services locally.

Cloud Infrastructure Offers Enhanced Security

Cloud storage companies have to be experts at cyber security to be a success. You can benefit from their expertise by having your data housed on their systems rather than setting up your own and trying to keep them protected.

Convenient Access Through the Cloud

You can access your data from anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. You don’t need to keep your connections restricted to your internal network. With more people working from home or other remote locations, this can be a big benefit to consider.

Cloud Storage Allows for Rapid Scaling

Cloud storage infrastructure can be scaled up in real-time to ensure you always have enough disk space to house all of your files. If you’re storing data locally, you need to add in hard drives or other storage devices manually if you need more room. This can be costly and time-consuming, which may present problems. With cloud storage, you can either set it up to automatically scale as your data needs grow or expand your capacity quickly by opening a ticket with the cloud services provider.

Cloud Storage Is Ideal for Big Data Analytics

If you want to use your stored data for running analytics or business intelligence (BI), it’s convenient to have it all housed together. Many cloud infrastructure providers offer not only storage solutions but also a variety of cloud analytics and other tools that let you use the data effectively. This is especially helpful when you have data collected at multiple different physical locations and then brought together on the cloud for proper analysis and storage.

What Are the Downsides of Using Cloud Storage for Your Business?

While there are many advantages to using cloud storage systems, there are also potential downsides to be aware of. Thanks to the many advancements in this type of technology over the years, the downsides of cloud storage are generally quite minimal, which is why this type of solution is becoming so popular. The following potential issues, however, should be considered when deciding if cloud storage is right for your business:

  • Requires an internet connection: With local storage, you only need an internal network connection to access files. With cloud storage, you also need the ability to connect out through the Internet to the cloud systems.
  • Relying on third parties: In almost all cases, you rely on third-party cloud services providers, which means you need to trust that they’re doing their jobs properly.
  • Monthly costs: While cloud storage is generally going to be cheaper overall, you have a monthly bill that you need to pay rather than just the one-time expense of setting up local servers.
  • Privacy concerns: When working with a third-party cloud infrastructure provider, you need to be certain that they can be trusted with the data. Since the data is on their servers, you may have privacy concerns. All reputable cloud storage companies allow encrypted data to help ensure only you can access your data.
  • Bandwidth limitations: If you have an Internet connection with a bandwidth limitation, you may have trouble if you ever need to download large amounts of backed-up data for restoration.

What To Do Next When Using Cloud Storage for Your Business?

If you decide that using cloud storage solutions makes sense for your business, you find that it’s surprisingly simple to get things started. The first thing you want to do is to determine which cloud storage provider you want to work with. You can opt to go with one of the larger cloud services or create a private cloud storage server using web hosting solutions.

Either way, once your cloud storage server is up and ready to go, you need to begin directing all data storage toward that location. You can have your technical support teams set it up so that the cloud storage location appears just like a separate drive on computers or local servers to make it even easier. Finally, you need to make sure to train your teams to begin using the cloud storage drives whenever saving files or collecting other data.

Once everything is set up and running, the cloud storage system functions like a local storage drive. You can use it for saving data manually or to store backups of your local data to ensure it’s always safe. Make sure you take the time to set this system up properly or work with your cloud services provider to have it done for you. This helps ensure your cloud storage systems work properly for you today and long into the future.