Data is one of your most valuable assets. And keeping that data secure is absolutely essential these days. But how can you store your data properly? Let’s take a close look at your options in this introduction to cloud storage.
Data storage, in various forms, has been around for quite some time. Traditionally, businesses tried to backup data via portable backup solutions (such as very retro tapes, for example). However, data loss is still a frequent problem that most companies have to deal with – along with the associated waste of time, money and potentially permanently lost information. As bandwidth and capacity optimisation technology improves, more and more companies seem to favour cloud storage as a valuable alternative to portable media solutions. But what is it really?
What is cloud storage?
Essentially, the cloud refers to any software or service that run on the backbone of the internet instead of strictly on your computer or mobile device. In other words, every time you upload a photo of your dog on a social media channel, or learn yet another Italian phrase on Duolingo, you’re utilising cloud services. Arguably, the greatest benefit of cloud services is that you can access your data from anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection, that is.
In a nutshell, cloud backup works by sending a copy of your data to an off-site server. You, as a customer, pay a fee to the server host, which is usually a third-party provider. The cost of cloud storage is based on the capacity, bandwidth or numbers of users you need. In addition, the subscription tend to run on either a monthly or yearly basis, making it an OpEX cost. Transitioning costs to a recurring operating expense allows for your budget to be more effective and predictable. Not to mention, it’s easy for you to cancel or downsize your cloud subscription at any time.
Today, there are three main methods of cloud data backup: Software-as-a-Service (Saas), pure cloud and Hybrid. The most popular option is SaaS, which is a web-based application that you can access via your web browser. With a pure cloud system, on the other hand, you can automatically copy your data directly to the cloud. Lastly, with a hybrid service you can copy data to an installed storage that resides between your infrastructure and the cloud. This solution, as the name reveals, comprises on- and off-premise components.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Storage?
Cloud-based storage solutions can bring a wide range of benefits to your organisation. Let’s dive in and see how you can benefit from cloud power.
- Decrease Costs
A cloud solution works off your current infrastructure, so there’s absolutely no need to buy or install new and expensive equipment. The software integrates with your IT system to locate and prioritise files for backup, and then securely transmits encrypted copies to offsite data centres. Overall, this is a more cost-effective solution compared to buying and maintaining other systems.
- Save Time
A cloud-based backup solution will save you time as well as money. Your files will be backed up automatically and continuously as long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, a web-based system makes files easy to find and restore – meaning that you will spend less time on menial tasks.
- Drama-free Security
A cloud-based system encrypts files to be backed up for transmission, and it ensures that remain encrypted until they reach their final destination. There is only one decryption key – and it’s kept by you. This is much more secure than an unencrypted on-data backup system.
- Instant Access
Storing data in the cloud means that users can access their data anywhere, at any time, wherever there is an Internet connection. A Hybrid system offers the best of both worlds, as it circumvents the limitations of either an on-premise or a purely Cloud-based solution. The hybrid cloud device offers the advantage of retaining data locally to smooth out transport to the cloud and in case restores are required. It eliminates the need for a complete second data centre or other off-site repository. If you only have one data centre, you can take your back-up data and add it to the Cloud. This data can be retrieved at any time, but with the additional advantage of being able to restore it to a different site.
With that being said, let’s take a closer look at some of the best cloud storage providers of 2019.