Every business needs to have a plan in place to store their information in a secure, accessible and convenient place. The answer? Cloud storage.

Chances are, you’re already familiar with cloud storage - at least for personal use. But you may still be using external hard drives or paper systems to store and back-up the majority of your business data. That’s why it’s time to talk about shifting your business information to the cloud. 

What exactly is cloud storage?

Cloud storage is when you save your data to a remote offsite database, which is accessible anywhere and at any time you have an internet connection. Instead of saving your data in-house through physical servers or filing systems, cloud storage is the virtual alternative and is managed by a third party like Google, Amazon or Microsoft, and some smaller, lesser known players.

Ten reasons why cloud storage is vital for modern businesses:

1) It’s flexible: More and more people want to work from home/a nice café/outside. Cloud storage allows you to access your information anytime and anywhere. So for any reason you, or your colleagues can’t, or choose not to, go into the office, you can still do your work when, where and how you choose.

2) Collaborate: With cloud storage, multiple users can access a document at the same time. It automatically gets updated in real-time, so you can be confident that the document you are working on is the most current. Plus, you can see the version history.

3) Diversify – As with investments, it’s important to have a variety of options available in your toolkit when it comes to storing and backing up information. Sometimes, you need to keep original hard copies, other times a hard drive might be the right call. If you diversify where you save and back-up information, it minimises your risk should one of them become temporarily or permanently unavailable or destroyed (like in a fire or from theft).

4) Accessible – You don’t have to go into the office or have the hard drive available to access important information when it’s stored in the cloud. Access is reliable, fast and can be achieved from a variety of devices. 

5) Environmentally friendly – There are zero carbon emissions for storing data with a third party cloud provider.

6) Store, sync and share – Just some of the features of cloud storage. There are a lot of options out there, and the one you choose depends on the scale of your business and the level of complexity that you need.

7) User friendly interfaces – As it’s a competitive market, cloud service providers compete not only on features, but also on the convenience and ease of use of their interfaces. Cloud storage interfaces should make it easy for you to quickly search and find the document or information that you are after. No more hours searching through Miscellaneous.

8) Secure – Some cloud storage providers, give you the option of end to end encryption of confidential files to protect your security. 

9) Scalable – It is usually straightforward to increase your cloud storage as your business grows.

10) Cost-effective – You could potentially save thousands on not having to invest in costly physical infrastructure and large utility bills. You could also reduce your I.T budget or divert that money elsewhere in the business. 

The difference between cloud storage and online back-up

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking cloud storage and online back-up is one and the same. But there’s an important difference. And simply transferring your information to a cloud service is not the same as backing up that information. 

We’ve found a quote from another blog which nicely sums up the difference:

“The vital purpose of cloud storage is to supplement your hard drive; the vital purpose of online backup is to replicate it.”

From: https://www.cloudwards.net/online-storage-vs-online-backup-whats-the-difference/

Let’s look at an analogy. Imagine a toddler with a favourite toy collection. If the toys have different purposes and you don’t want to risk losing all of them, you might spread them across locations – a teddy in your home, books in your car, balance bike at their grandparents – this is like cloud storage as you are diversifying your storage locations. But the problem with this strategy is that one of the toys can still be lost. The same applies to cloud storage, as information can be lost, stolen or deleted through human error or malicious intent. For example, you may delete the licence with the cloud provider, or your system may be misused or hacked. 

In contrast, another strategy is to buy several of the most precious toys – you are replicatingthem so that you can access one again, if one of them gets lost – crisis averted. This is like online back-up. Of course, your business information can be instantly replicated with online back-up services. So, as soon as you have created a file on your hard drive it can be automatically copied online, or, if it is more convenient, you can schedule specific times for back-up. 

Next steps 

As the need for alternative ways to securely back-up and store your data increases, it can be hard to navigate which solution will work best for your business. There can be a lot of technical jargon about and you may not be certain which option is the most effective. And you don’t want to invest in a service that either doesn’t give you enough capabilities, or gives you features that are surplus to your needs.

The I.T. Psychiatrist can assess your information storage and back-up needs and help you find a solution that suits you, your needs and your budget. We’ll also help you implement your cloud service, as well as develop policies and processes around appropriate use for you and your staff.

To discuss which cloud solution is the best for your business, please give us a call today.

Further reading: 

https://www.avepoint.com/blog/backup/cloud-backup-vs-cloud-storage/

https://www.cloudwards.net/online-storage-vs-online-backup-whats-the-difference  

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