IBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day – this amount of data is enough to fill 10 million Blu-Ray discs. The rate at which we have been creating data means that in the past two years alone we have created 90 percent of the data that exists today; this data includes everything from videos and social media posts to GPS signals and purchase transaction records.
With this continuously increasing volume of data, we come face to face with the issue of storing it all, and this is particularly a problem for businesses. In-house and datacenter storage can be expensive and inconvenient; many small businesses don’t have enough space to accommodate everything needed to store data in-house, and many don’t have the finances to fund it, either. This issue of finance is one of the main reasons why cloud storage has become increasingly popular. It is available at a fraction of the price and can be outsourced and managed by someone else.
Before you dive into the world of cloud storage and transfer everything to the cloud, you need to work out whether it is right for your business or not. There are a few things that can determine whether cloud storage will work for you or against you.
Types of Data
One of the main issues with cloud storage is its latency and bandwidth limitations. These problems present a weakness when it comes to handling operational or primary data. For businesses that mainly deal with just operational data, cloud storage may not be something that is suitable to them. For example, for a company that edits video footage and deals with extremely large file sizes daily, cloud storage could become costly and inconvenient with the amount of time it would take to upload and download to and from the cloud. You need to consider the accessibility requirements of your data and how fast you may need it to be retrieved.
Nearline and backup and archival data is more suited to cloud storage because fast response times are not of high priority when it comes to those types of data. However, whether storing nearline data in the cloud is right for your business or not depends on the requirements of the data itself. If the file sizes are large or need to be retrieved frequently, then cloud storage may not be suitable, but if response times are not an issue, then the cloud is a good solution. As backup data is typically never needed to be accessed unless it is part of a disaster-recovery plan or a file is accidentally deleted and needs to be replaced, cloud storage can be a great solution for this type of data.
A reliable Internet connection is paramount if you decide to transfer your data to the cloud. There is no use purchasing cloud storage if you can’t upload it in the first place, and if you have issues with uploading, you’ll probably have issues with download speed also. You should also investigate to see if your Internet service provider has put any data caps on your account because that could prove an issue when migrating to the cloud, too.
Storing all of your business documents of the cloud means that anyone can work on a file from anywhere and on any device. As any member of the team can access, edit and share any document, team members will be able to collaborate more together. They don’t all have to wait until they’re all in one room together to work on a project. It isn’t just restricted to employees. You can give anyone access to your documents in the cloud, so you can collaborate with anyone from your suppliers to your clients. The convenience of the cloud also allows your business to be more flexible. It gives you the option to offer employees the opportunity to work from home.
Ellie Hardman is a marketing manager for Infologic, an independent provider of IT services and solutions.