Why Individuals & Businesses Should Use Cloud Storage
We’ve all heard about cloud storage. The practice of moving data off local hard drives and into web-accessible servers has become more and more ubiquitous in recent years, and there are scores of surveys and analytics showing the trend will continue hitting its stride.
Right Scale, for instance, reports that Enterprise workloads are shifting to the cloud and that both public and private cloud adoption is on the upswing. Meanwhile, analysis from Forbes shows that “28% of organizations’ total IT budgets” is socked away for cloud computing next year.
Impressive, but what all this data doesn’t clearly show is why cloud storage is such a hit. For that, we’re going to have to delve into the advantages it holds for both individuals and larger organizations.
The Cloud in Brief
We should start by making sure we have a good understanding of our definition of cloud storage. Most people have a tangential grasp, but miss a few of the crucial points of the matter. In the simplest terms, cloud storage refers to making use of online data housing (remote servers that reside inside data centers) that are owned and operated by a third party. You can park what information you want on these servers, then access them when you’d like from multiple devices.
This contrasts with storing files locally, where they are saved and accessible only from a device’s internal hard drive. Data stored “in the cloud” requires an internet connection to use, but, because of this, you can access and alter your data from multiple devices and in multiple locations. As you might imagine, this (along with a few other details) affords great benefits to cloud storage adopters.
How Cloud Storage Helps Individuals
On the individual level, cloud storage offers an unparalleled level of convenience and accessibility. Of particular value for freelancers and workers on the go is the ability to have your files in a place where you can get to them anywhere.
It isn’t uncommon in today’s high-paced working world for someone to have a whole slew of devices that they work from, and not always have the same one on them at all times. The average number of connected devices per person is edging ever closer to five as the overall number of connected devices multiplies.
Using the cloud, you can grant yourself the ability to work from anywhere, whenever you’d like, as your data is stored in a centrally accessible location, and changes made from any one device will sync so that you can see them from all others.
If you need to share a file with someone else, you need only send it to them online or grant them access to a shared cloud folder where they can view the information for themselves.
It also relieves you of the burden of trying to organize and track down files in many different locations. When everything is in one spot, it’s much easier to sort through and get to at a moment’s notice.
Cloud storage also affords users with an enhanced level of security for their data. Second only to perhaps a heavily encrypted hard drive, the cloud provides one of the safest places to store information.
This is because many cloud storage services make use of thorough encryption to keep data safe from brute-force attacks and other forms of unauthorized access. Coupling that with some individual best practices you can take regarding cloud storage, and you’re looking at a platform where your files are about as safe as they are going to get.
On top of that, keeping your data in the cloud means that if a device is lost or stolen, you won’t have to worry about files on your hard drive falling into the hands of someone else who shouldn’t have them. Speaking of which, storing data in the cloud is an excellent way of keeping a backup in the case a device is misplaced.
Since everything is tucked away on the internet, and your devices are merely providing a means of accessing your data, the loss of one doesn’t mean the loss of everything that you’ve done.
Lastly, using the cloud gives individuals a way to store more information than they otherwise might be able to by just using an internal or external hard drive. Many personal cloud storage options provide up to (or even more than) 1TB with inexpensive paid plans, making them a suitable alternative to even external HDDs.
How Cloud Storage Helps Businesses
The business applications for cloud storage are just as persuasive. Most notably, using third-party cloud storage helps organizations cut down on costs. In addition to saving on setting up an in-house data storage center, Businesses don’t need to invest continually in the maintenance of such a system.
Taking this component out of the equation lowers the costs of employing the necessary IT staff, getting the space, keeping the equipment in good order, etc. Those resources can then go to other aspects of the business instead.
Using a cloud-based system for storing files also increases the level of teamwork among your employees. They can all get to the latest versions of whatever documents you’re working on, and have access to them without having to be in a specific location or jump through complicated hoops.
This is especially useful for businesses that employ many remote workers or freelancers. They can get to the information they need without all having to be in the same location, again, cutting down on the overhead of maintaining a big office with dedicated space for a lot of workers. As the trend towards increased amounts of remote workers continues, this is one aspect that is hard to overstate.
Finally, the same advantages of security and data protection that apply to individuals apply to businesses as well. In the unpredictable event of a catastrophe at headquarters, all the crucial information is stored offsite and ready to be accessed once operations are back up and running.
Cloud storage is here to stay. Knowing and taking advantage of its best features will be vital to both individual and organizational success. Best to continue following what’s on the horizon so that you’ll know exactly how using cloud storage options will benefit you.