Businesses acquire data at unbelievable rates, which means they need a place to store it. Traditional storage methods involve large computer rooms with hundreds of servers holding zettabytes of information. The approach works until someone wants to access the data. Then, it becomes a data accessibility problem.
Today, data storage is really about accessibility. It’s about how organizations store information so employees and programs can use it. That’s why many companies are moving to cloud storage. With the cloud, businesses not only have accessible data, but they also have secure, scalable, and cost-effective storage options.
What is cloud storage?
Storing data “in the cloud” involves sending data over a private or public network connection to remote servers where the information is stored. Cloud storage providers are responsible for managing, maintaining, and operating the cloud-based system. As with any business, the exact services vary, so make sure the company offers the needed services.
Better bottom line.
On-premises data storage requires a room full of computer equipment. Depending on the amount of data, an organization may have racks of servers storing data. Not only are businesses paying for the physical space, but they also cover the utility costs to heat, cool, and power it.
A room full of hardware has to be maintained. Whether they pay in-house or third-party staff, companies incur costs for monitoring and maintaining computer hardware. Those expenses do not include the cost of replacing failed equipment or purchasing new hardware.
Storing data in the cloud means businesses no longer need that room full of computer equipment. Without the room, they do not need to pay to operate the space or hire staff to maintain and monitor equipment. Instead, organizations subscribe to a cloud storage solution and pay a fee for the services.
Depending on the age and configuration of an on-premise solution, the speed at which the system responds to a request could be diminished. If employees are waiting for files to download, they’re losing productive time. With faster downloads and better data access, your staff becomes more productive.
Key point: Cloud storage can reduce labor costs, operating expenses, and capital expenditures while increasing employee productivity.
Cybersecurity requires a comprehensive plan to protect a company’s digital assets. That includes controlling access and protecting data. It means investing in the tools to defend against malicious attacks.
Using cloud storage does not absolve an organization of cybersecurity responsibility, but it can provide stronger security at a minimal cost. For example, organizations encrypt information as required by law or regulation. They may not encrypt additional data. Legacy systems or added tools may make it cost-prohibitive.
Cloud storage providers protect data while in transit and at rest. They use, at a minimum, 128-bit encryption, which limits a hacker’s ability to use the data, even if it was stolen.
Key point: Companies can achieve a higher level of data security without expending resources on added tools or personnel.
Built-in disaster recovery.
Every business needs a disaster recovery plan. Whether it’s a winter storm or spring flooding, the unexpected happens. Of course, there’s always the possibility of a cyberattack.
Businesses can store a backup of their system and data in the cloud. If their live system is in the cloud, the backup is stored on different servers in case of a network failure. Because cloud providers monitor their systems constantly, they can adjust to address changing workloads and equipment failures. They’re prepared for disaster recovery support.
Since many businesses put off creating a disaster recovery plan, moving to cloud storage is one way to jump-start the process. With the built-in option for backups, organizations can ensure their data is protected no matter what happens.
Key point: Companies can easily add system backups to their cloud-storage arrangements to protect their data in case of disaster.
Access anytime, anywhere.
Distributed workforces need access to company resources. Trying to log in to a corporate network to run applications or retrieve data can be a struggle. Some days a download can take minutes, not seconds.
Moving to cloud storage means employees can access needed information faster from anywhere and on any device. They can work at two in the morning or nine at night. If employees work on multiple devices, the cloud enables them to access data from a laptop or a cell phone. Flexibility is a benefit most employees enjoy.
Saving and transferring files to a central server is not necessary with cloud storage. Staff can collaborate on projects and have the work saved to a central location. Companies don’t have to worry that a critical file was not transferred.
Making the data available in the cloud also helps applications that analyze or use lots of data. People do not have to track down information on multiple servers and then assemble them in a central place to begin processing. Insights can be delivered faster while still incorporating more data.
Key point: Cloud storage helps organizations become more agile, moving them closer to a digital transformation.
Ready to scale.
Scaling is a strategic concern. Do businesses scale up before an increase in sales? Or do they wait and risk being unable to meet demand? With cloud storage, the decision is simplified.
The business model for most cloud storage providers is this: companies pay for the storage they use. When they need more, they buy more. That means businesses don’t have to project their storage needs at the start of the year and pay for storage they won’t use until June. Instead, they can increase storage to meet their current needs.
Being able to scale is another part of being agile. When customer expectations change, companies have to pivot to meet those expectations. The faster that happens, the more likely success becomes. Cloud storage can help make that pivot happen.
Key point: Cloud storage helps businesses pivot quickly without incurring unnecessary expenses.
Cloud storage addresses two critical components in today’s business environment: financial resources and worker productivity. Storing data in the cloud doesn’t just reduce expenses; it also enables a remote workforce to be productive. Using the cloud can improve data security while creating an agile environment that can scale when needed.