For organizations dealing with a herculean amount of data every single day, paperwork can become a major hassle. Businesses dependent solely on paperwork for storing information expose themselves to a slew of problems related to cost and efficiency.
The slow nature of paper-based workflows hampers productivity, leading to lower throughput. In addition, paperwork takes up a lot of physical space, so there is a limit to the amount of information that can be stored at any point in time. Plus, one has to keep the paper documents nearby for easy access, so you face issues when working from a remote location.
Furthermore, a paper-based system has several costs associated with it. You have to buy different kinds of paper supply in addition to office essentials. Shipping of these also costs money-all of this adds up to become a sizeable expense. Not to forget that paper documents are susceptible to damage and theft.
Fortunately, there is a way to get out of this mess-cloud storage.
For those who don’t know, cloud storage is a storage framework wherein the digital data is stored in an online space that spans multiple servers and locations, and is maintained by a cloud hosting company. It is a paperless system based on virtualization that can be accessed from multiple devices.
Types of Cloud Storage
The architecture of a cloud storage system comprises different elements including front-end platforms, back-end platforms, cloud-based deployments, databases, and applications. Different cloud architectures lead to different kinds of cloud solutions: public, private, and hybrid. Each of these offers unique benefits catering to the specific needs of your business. Let’s have a look at these solutions one by one.
#1. Public Cloud
Even if you are new to the cloud technology, you must have heard of cloud hosting providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud. These are all public cloud service providers that own and manage all the cloud architecture and deliver it as a service over the internet.
The resources of a public cloud service are shared among the clients; as a result, the service provider is able to offer cloud storage at lower prices. In addition to being cost-effective, public cloud services are immensely scalable and reliable.
#2. Private Cloud
Unlike public clouds, private clouds are used by just one enterprise. In this case, the infrastructure can either be on-premises or with a third-party vendor.
Private clouds are typically sought by large enterprises where data security is paramount. These include the likes of government organizations, healthcare and financial institutions.
Because private clouds cater to individual organizations, they can be customized to a great extent. But this customizability comes at a price. Private clouds are thus more expensive than their public counterparts.
#3. Hybrid Cloud
As suggested by its name, a hybrid cloud converges the public and private cloud models to create a solution that offers the benefits of both. Here, the data and applications can move between the public and private cloud, offering high flexibility.
Businesses choosing hybrid cloud can use public clouds for the bulk of their work and private cloud for storing mission-critical data. If you seek high control and flexibility, a hybrid cloud is a solution to go for.
Cloud Storage: Key Advantages
Here are the chief benefits of choosing a cloud storage for your business:
The data and files stored on the cloud can be easily accessed from any location using an internet connection. Users can easily drag and drop files on the cloud. People with zero technical knowledge can save, edit and delete files in a cloud storage.
#2. Disaster Recovery
All businesses must have a backup of their data. Loss of critical data can lead to substantial losses. Cloud storage acts as a perfect backup for any business. The files are stored at a remote location and can be retrieved at any point.
The data stored on the cloud is distributed across multiple servers in diverse locations. As a result, it remains immune to any kind of hardware glitches. Cloud hosting providers offer automated backup solutions to ensure the safety and security of your data.
#4 Cost Savings
Businesses can trim down their operational expenses by storing data on the cloud. With a cloud storage system, they don’t need to use their internal power and resources for storing data.
#5. Seamless Collaboration
Online cloud storage is great for collaborating with clients and colleagues. Cloud systems allow multiple people to access, edit and share a single file. Your colleagues can access these files from anywhere and collaborate in real-time.
The cloud offers a scalable working environment that you can expand whenever required. This allows for ample storage space and flexibility.
With a cloud storage space, you can easily synchronize your files and other documents across several access points using an internet connection. As a result, the burden of transferring documents from one device to the other is eliminated. When you update the document on one device, the change will be reflected across all the devices.
Choosing a Cloud Storage Service for your business
Now that you have a fair idea of what cloud storage is, let’s discuss how you can choose the best cloud service for your business.
1) Choose the Type of Storage that’s Appropriate for your Business
Out of the three cloud models discussed above, you can choose anyone depending on the unique needs of your business.
When it comes to public cloud, lots of free plans are available though you may require to pay a monthly subscription fee for buying adequate storage space. If you lack the time and resources to run your in-house cloud storage, opt for any of the top public cloud service providers such as Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive or iCloud.
On the other hand, if you need to maintain high control and security over your data and have the time and resources to manage it internally, private clouds are apt for you.
If you want the best of both worlds, a hybrid cloud is a brilliant choice. You can store your sensitive data on the private cloud while keeping less frequently accessed data on the public cloud.
2) Assess your Cloud Service Provider
If you are choosing a public cloud, conduct due diligence to ensure your service provider fulfills your requirements in the best possible manner. Make sure to check factors such as:
- How does their pricing compare with other service providers?
- How is their track record?
- What kind of cloud services do they offer-storage, backup, transfer?
- How much network uptime have they agreed upon in their SLA?
- Which security mechanisms do they have in place?
- How do they store your data? Do they have any disaster recovery plan?
- Can they claim ownership of your data and/or share it with a third-party when you plan to switch to a new service provider?
All these have to be evaluated properly before selecting a service provider.
Cloud storage solutions offer a great avenue for storing critical data in addition to collaborating with clients and employees. Organizations can choose any of the options-public, private or hybrid-depending on their specific needs and bestow upon their business a competitive advantage.