The work of any organization these days is associated with the processing and use of large amounts of data: internal documentation, client databases, contracts and much more. That is why the problem of finding a place to store this information arises more and more often. For many companies the optimal solution is the use of cloud services. Let’s consider what the cloud is for business, what benefits this technology has, and what storage facilities exist.
What is cloud storage?
Cloud storage, or cloud storage, is a place designed for storing data online. Information is stored in isolation on a remote server and can be accessed over the Internet. Servers are most often managed by third-party providers, but it is possible to use your own servers and create private cloud services.
Many people have heard of various online data warehouses. These include the well-known Google One, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive. These services are most often used by ordinary users, but are of little use to large organizations. Companies, on the other hand, use specialized solutions that allow them to store large amounts of data and have a scalable infrastructure.
How it works
A single server connected to the Internet is sufficient to create a simple cloud repository. Users can upload their own files to the server, edit them, and upload them back. A simple web interface is enough to perform all the actions.
Cloud storage for business is built from hundreds or even thousands of servers, as it is necessary to ensure data backup and service operation in case of failures.
Cloud storage provides businesses with the following features:
- Download and transfer various files.
- Edit documents from any device.
- Communicate between different departments of the company.
- Distribute files and create an archive with a complex structure.
- Make backup copies of data.
Modern cloud providers use the principle of territorial distribution of data centers. This avoids problems with cloud operations during emergencies.
Compared to the traditional way of storing data, cloud services for business have the following advantages:
- Scalability. Thanks to this property, storage can be expanded almost infinitely, so when your firm grows, you won’t face the problem of storing documents.
- Constant accessibility and portability. Files can be viewed or edited from the right device at work, on the road or at home. Company employees will be able to work from any convenient location.
- Data redundancy. No threat of losing information as a backup is created for data.
- Access for all employees of the company. Users can access files at any time on any device with internet access.
- High level of security. Cloud storage functionality is used to transfer data and edit files. As a result, employees refuse flash drives and other storage devices, and the risk of information leakage is significantly reduced.
How secure is the cloud
Security in the cloudMany companies are still wary of moving to cloud storage, seeing it as a potential threat to sensitive information. However, in most cases, these fears have nothing to do with reality:
- Cloud storage provides much greater file security than analog storage.
- There is also a certain reserve of capacity, which solves the problem of insufficient memory.
- In addition, there is constant data backup in the cloud. That is, the risk of losing files is several times lower than when data is stored on a work PC.
- Today, most cloud providers offer availability guarantees above 99.95% SLA. That is, any risks in this case are insured.
- Several methods are used to ensure the reliability and security of the service. Among them:
- Data encryption. Even if the data is stolen, it cannot be decrypted without a special key.
- Authorization. This implies granting users access to different files depending on their status and position in the company.
- User authentication. Most often, it implies logging in with a username and password, but sometimes there are more complicated ways of authentication.
In addition, ISPs use a variety of cyber-threat remedies, including intrusion monitoring and anti-virus applications.
Types of cloud services for companies
The following types of clouds are used:
- Public. This is the most common storage option, which involves using a third-party provider’s server. The pros are that there are no deployment costs and affordable usage rates. A great option for small and medium-sized businesses.
- Private. This solution supposes using the company’s own servers, so it is suitable only for large corporations. The advantages of using it are high reliability and security.
- Hybrid. It combines the use of third-party and proprietary servers. Such cloud storage is characterized by reliability, which is the reason why it is more and more often chosen by large organizations.
There are also several types of services depending on the type of data stored. Popular business solutions are:
- File cloud storage. Designed to host files with the ability to distribute them into folders.
- Block storage. Services used by corporate applications, such as various databases.
- Object storage. Cloud used to store object properties, providing scalability for applications.
Criteria for selecting a cloud for business
When selecting a storage facility, the peculiarities of your company’s document flow should be taken into account first. If you have a company with a small amount of data, it is better to choose a public cloud. Creating a private cloud service is quite a costly procedure, so it will be unprofitable for small and medium-sized businesses.
If you choose a public cloud, pay attention to the plans, the amount of capacity provided and the reliability and security features used. It is best if the service provides a free trial period and you can evaluate the available functionality and its convenience. Choose a storage service that allows you to view and edit files on different types of devices. Also make sure the system allows you to work with multiple users on a file.
Also evaluate the following characteristics of the service:
- Level of reliability and security.
- Terms and conditions and cost of use.
- Support for file versioning.
- Creation of backups.
- Availability of technical support.
- Intuitive and user-friendly interface.
The difference between free and paid service
- For many people the difference between free and paid storages is not completely clear. The functionality of these services has a lot in common, but the free version most often has the following limitations:
- Little (or no) functionality for corporate use. Since the target segment of free storage services are ordinary users, such clouds are simply not geared for corporate clients. As a result, there are no features for integration with various applications, no functionality for information security.
- Volume limitation. A free cloud subscription implies a limited amount of storage, usually not more than 20GB. Such a cloud will not be sufficient even for small businesses.
- Data security. In free services, the contract usually includes a clause granting third parties access to your information in cases provided by law. Paid storage services have delimitation of access levels, which guarantees greater data security.
- Lack of integration with information systems. Paid providers provide integration with CRM, ERP and EDMS. The transfer of information to the necessary services is automatic.
- Synchronization between devices. Rapid solution of work tasks requires access to files from any device: desktop computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones. Only paid cloud solutions provide constant access to up-to-date files.
So if you want to use the cloud to integrate into your business processes and you need maximum data security, you should use paid storage. Free services are good as a “virtual flash drive.
The most important thing when choosing cloud storage is to clearly understand why you need it, what files will be stored in it and how employees will access information. This is what will allow choosing a service that best meets the needs of the company.
Our data center Xelent offers to pay attention to public and hybrid clouds – such services are currently practical and profitable from a financial point of view. We will be glad to help your business with the transition to cloud storage – ask our managers any questions!