Hi, in this article we’ll be discussing the Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage for a business, covering key areas such as:
- What is Cloud Storage?
- Cloud Storage for Business.
- Cloud Storage for Business Pros & Cons
so let us begin-
1. What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage is a service through which data can be managed, maintained and backed up remotely. It is available through the internet for a network of users to store files online for their access conveniently at any location. The use of a server is a boon but could prove to be costly at first but is extremely beneficial for businesses due to its ease and availability. The service provided is free upto a certain gigabyte restriction that can be altered according to the service plan that you choose from among the various cloud storage providers available in the market. Each cloud storage provides drag and drop accessing as well as syncing of folders and files between desktops, mobiles and other devices with the cloud drive. They also facilitate collaboration for documentation of files between those present in the network.
There are various cloud storage services providers present in the market. Find below the most popular options:
Dropbox: This cloud storage provider allows its users to share entire folders among other Dropbox user accounts. The updates on these shared files can also be viewed by each of its collaborators. Shared files can be directly downloaded through the website interface without installation of the Dropbox client after agreeing to the terms and conditions given. Files shared to the “Public” folder can be sent to both Dropbox and non-Dropbox users. One shortcoming though is that non-Dropbox users are required to download these files in order to view and edit them. It also has a mobile app which allows easy access to documents through phones and tablets.
Dropbox offers a total of 2 GB free storage space. It’s strengths primarily lie in the fact that it is easy to use. Just a right click on the required file or folder would allow you to share or view a file. It also lets you monitor the speed of the file syncing as well as recover previously deleted files.
The drawbacks of Dropbox lie in the mediocre free storage that it provides. Another inconvenience is the requirement to send invitations to the Dropbox user’s email address in order to send files to them.
Google Drive: A well-known name in the cloud storage market, Google Drive allows collaboration and syncing of documents onto its drive. It requires one to have an account in order to be used. Files can be transferred by sending links to them. Documents require permission to be accessed, unless otherwise allowed by the sender. You can receive notifications on any changes made to your shared files. It has a mobile app that allows quick sending, viewing and editing and syncing of files. It offers a total of 5 GB of free storage space. It comes with a built-in document editor that supports Microsoft Word, Excel and other Microsoft Office programs. You can also add comments to your stored files. A drawback of the app is it’s requirement to send files first through the Google Drive app before later forwarding them through e-mail or otherwise.
SkyDrive: Users can send files through SkyDrive without the need of having an account. It allows updating of documents online at the same time as your colleagues. It’s mobile app allows you to view, share, edit and update files on the go on your mobile device or tablet. SkyDrive files can also be opened on third-party apps such as Keynote and pages. It offers a total of 7 GB of free storage space. Editing of documents can be done directly through a browser without the need of downloading a client. It is considered to be less user-friendly than its competitors Dropbox and Google Drive.
2. Cloud Storage for Businesses
Today companies rely heavily on software to manage their files. Cloud computing acts as a saviour to storage solutions as it’s expansive storage capacity and affordable pricing makes it a go to solution for many businesses both big and small. It offers businesses a wide variety of ways to store their data at just a minute percentage of the cost that would usually be incurred using other options. Cloud Computing allows files to be transferred effortlessly between employees within the company as well as externally while also keeping security tight as each file is encrypted and can be tracked to reassure safety.
There are a number of other features that must be present in a ccloud-based storage in order for it to be considered useible for business purposes. Accessibility, traceability and security are of the highest importance. Find below the features that are essential while make the right choice of cloud storage facility for your business:
Protection of data is a more daunting challenge than it ever was before. Security features such as storage layering, inbound and outbound encryption of files, identity management etc. which were previously considered advance, are no more optional but completely necessary for your business. Although most IT professionals may not having the required budget for advanced security capabilities for research, deployment and management of data, cloud services have made it a key to their primary setup, constantly updating their protection with each passing year. This also helps companies comply to various security standards that are to be followed by them.
Loss of crucial files can cost a company thousands and sometimes millions of dollars. With employees in companies bringing their own devices to work, it becomes challenging to control the flow of sensitive documents and information. When these devices are lost of compromised, having a remote wipe function on your cloud storage system allows you to delete all crucial information and prevent it from reaching the wrong hands. Cloud storage also give you the ability to control access seamlessly and create multiple nested groups according to job roles.
Raw storage space has increased by leaps and bounds over the last few years while also becoming much more affordable with users commonly being given terabytes of storage space to use. Focus has now shifted onto additional services provided in order to stand out against competitors.
While some storage providers have their own data centers, others such as Amazon Web Services outsource their storage requirement to third party cloud service providers. It is always advised to check your potential service provider’s track record and level of service before making an affirmative decision to go forward with them.
When it comes to data sharing, one must see the assurity at which the data on the cloud can be synced with local replicas of it. For businesses especially, team folder creation is a must and should be available on the cloud support used. It creates a central point of collaboration access can be granted, revoked and passed on as well. Integration with popular Microsoft Office products has been a common moves as it is today seen as a necessity.
- Use of APIs and their integration:
A primary benefit of cloud computing is its ability to have information available to a large ecosystem of connected applications. This allows businesses the ability to create new business processes and keep workflow going without the need of outsourced programmers. For example, configuring your task tracking app to input notes automatically into its system while also storing all reference material in a secure and easily accessible location. APIs or application programming interfaces that aid integration reduce barriers and help apps to work together, making work much smoother for regulating business as well as for your IT department. Most of today’s recommended cloud solutions such as Dropbox Business offer varied integration options to streamline your business functioning completely on it.
The expansive and dynamic nature of business requires cloud computing to be accessible through multiple platforms. The Storage facility being available on a larger spectrums of platforms allows a smoother flow of data and files without the hassle of barriers between diverse landscapes of the device. The list of usual platforms that should necessarily be accessible by the cloud computing are as follows: Linux, Android, Windows, Apple iOS and OS X.
The effectiveness of a platform in a business landscape lies proportionate to its accessibility to the internet as having an authorised device is now an outdated option with the workforce always on the move. Being able to grab important documents swiftly from any remote device before meetings or at times of need can truly be a lifesaver and brings additional flexibility to your business too.
Mobile phones have cemented their position in the business landscape especially in the case of businessmen who are always on the road, moving from one place to another frequently for work. Having a cloud storage unit that allows you to store, edit and analyze documents on the go for their particular operating systems is a competitive service that must be offered by the cloud storage service you choose.
It can be a daunting task to choose the right cloud storage product and the decision must be strategized and made after consulting of business leads, IT managers as well as cloud solutions providers. Business requirements and the variables involved have to be taken into consideration while also balancing out usability, customisation and security necessities. Making a calculative decision always lays in the best interest of your business.
3. Cloud Storage for Business Pros & Cons
The internet can safely be tipped as being the largest platform of our time. It is an infrastructure that centralises data and leaves opportunities for us to participate in it. Cloud computing technology, an internet service sensation is now the need of the hour for various businesses both big and small, around the globe. There are a number of pros and cons to cloud storage as mentioned below:
- Affordability: Cloud storage allows businesses to enjoy their facilities at minimum expenditure. Apart from storage cloud access comes with other inbuilt advancements as well that can be used for businesses. Thus it can be seen as an upgrade from previously used costly systems.
- Convenient Accessibility: Cloud storage could be considered as the most convenient options for those working on the go. It can be accessed not just from your computer but from tablets, mobile phones, notepads, and iPads as well, just at a few simple clicks or taps on your device. It allows efficient and accessible service, enhancing the service value provided to consumers.
- Decreased Software Expense: Cloud storage have a number of softwares present on them to aid you with your cloud experience. It eliminates high software costs of businesses and neglects past needs of paying for expensive software and their licencing costs. The removal of the need for constant upgradation saves a lot of money for companies.
- Least Traditional Server Costs: The excessive cost of increasing memory, processing power and hard drive space are eliminated, leading to a decreasing server costs.
- Data Centralisation: it allows all your data to be stored in a centralised location, available from any remote area. A true benefit of cloud storage.
- Data Recovery: Backups on the cloud system enables automatic data backup. A hard drive crash is no longer a major scare to business thanks to this.
- Free Storage with Security: All your valuable information is stored at gratis. It is much more secure than regular systems. High security data centres keep it safe with proper encryptions and auditing.
- Sharing Capability: all files can be sent to the respective persons with just an email whenever required, even when on the move!
- Internet Connection: it is necessary to have an internet connection to be able to use the cloud.
- Bandwidth problems: Cloud storage benefits cannot be utilised without a decent bandwidth. Satellite connection issues could hinder performance as well.
- Security: Your Cloud storage provider must use optimal security measures to ensure your data security. If not, threats and hackers might become a major threat.
- Lack of Support: improper customer support with vendors not being available through live conversation leads to less transparency to use of the system. Just depending on online FAQs could be a haste.
- Lack of insight: Lack of network insight: The insight to your network becomes minimal when you use cloud computing. You cannot resolve issues such as bugs or hardware problems by yourself due to this.
Though there are cons to cloud storage but the pros outweigh them. It has become an integral part of the business world. Enhanced dependability and flexibility will makes the argument even stronger for cloud storage in businesses.
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