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What Is Cloud Storage?
There’s limitless scalability and budget-easing affordability to be enjoyed with today’s storage capacity and pricing options in the cloud. Your business can store its data at a fraction of the cost of other options these days. Users can easily share important documents across the company and externally, thanks to integrated services and strong cloud-based security. Files can be sent fully encrypted and IT can track them with complete oversight. That said, there are still many important features that cloud-based storage and file sharing platforms need to contain before they can be considered ready for businesses.
For information to be useful in the business world, it needs to be accessible, traceable, and secure. In addition, cloud services should support the workflow of your organization. Luckily, there are several cloud storage applications that can meet these challenges. But before you make a final buying decision and migrate your data to someone else’s cloud, you should know some key details relating to storage and sharing, security, and integrations.
Storage and Sharing
In terms of storage capacity, raw storage space is becoming more and more affordable every year. As multiple terabytes (TB) per user become commonplace, competition has shifted more to service features rather than overall bucket size. Today, 1 TB of space is typical as a starting place, with more storage readily available and very affordable. What you’re really looking at are the other features provided by the service.
Keeping data safe is a bigger challenge today than it’s ever been. What were once considered “advanced” data safety features, such as enterprise-grade identity management, redundant storage layers, and encryption both at rest and in transit, are no longer optional. These are now basic requirements for you to even consider spending money on a service. Fortunately, cloud storage providers seem to agree, which is evidenced by commonly available features and the fact that most IT professionals trust cloud security as much or more than what’s available on-premises (64 percent according to a 2015 survey by the Cloud Security Alliance). The logic is fairly simple. Most IT professionals simply don’t have the budget to research, deploy, and manage the advanced security capabilities that cloud service vendors can provide because it’s key to their primary business. That’s upped security in the cloud significantly over the past couple of years, which has had the pleasant side effect of letting many cloud services successfully comply with standards such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act(HIPAA) and ISO 27001.
Almost as important as keeping information safe is making information accessible across the diverse landscape of devices that users bring to the mix. The primary candidates are the typical: Microsoft Windows, Linux, and a variety of Android flavors, as well as Apple’s iOS and OS X. For any platform to be effective in today’s business landscape, web access is a must. In some cases, an authorized device is not always available. Being able to grab a quick document for a meeting or push a business-critical document from a remote computer can be a lifesaver for an ever-increasing distributed workforce—a lifesaver that users expect to be available to them.
Mobile compatibility has gained a place in the ecosystem of business. This especially applies to road warriors who frequently work in planes, cars, and subways. Space is often at a premium, and the ability to prepare for a meeting or analyze a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on the go is a necessity. Having a cloud storage solution that can provide these capabilities to users via a software client optimized for their particular operating system (OS), be it Android, iOS, even Windows Phone, is a feature you should look for in a competitive service offering.
Integration and APIs
One of the primary benefits of having information in the cloud is that it can be part of a larger ecosystem of connected apps. This capability lets businesses create custom workflows and business processes, often without having to hire contract programmers. For example, it’s not unusual or difficult to configure your employees’ note-taking apps to automatically drive input to task-tracking apps. That way, decisions made in meetings are automatically reflected in your project management toolkit. Those apps might, in turn, drive a need to store reference material. Integration-oriented application programming interfaces (APIs) help reduce the barrier to making apps work together, especially when your IT staff has some development talent. While many the most popular cloud storage solutions, such as Dropbox Business and Box, offer a rich set of integration options, some others, such as Jungle Disk, opt to primarily focus on the storage aspect. So, before buying, consider exactly how you want these solutions to fit into your business and what it will take to make that happen.
Choosing a cloud storage product for your organization can seem like a daunting task when you first consider all of the variables involved. Striking a balance between usability, security, and customization ultimately needs to be driven by business requirements, but understanding exactly what those requirements are is a serious task that will require real work; it’s not something you want to come to with a snap decision. Planning is the key.
That is why we help to choose the perfect Cloud storage for you, will teach you to work with it or will do the work for you.