Lost data, is there anything worse than losing important items? That treasured family photo or how about an entire business’ list of customer files and data? Not only is data loss inconvenient, but it can be downright nightmarish and costly. So what does one do to prevent potential data loss? Some use external back-up systems, others use cloud storage.
Cloud storage, to some this is the greatest thing ever created. While to others, it is a mysterious force too overwhelming to attempt. So what exactly is the cloud? What are the advantages and disadvantages to using cloud storage? Why would anyone individual or business alike choose to use a cloud storage system rather than keeping data saved locally?
What is Cloud Storage - Several Servers, Several Locations
Before addressing the benefits or downsides of cloud storage it is necessary to first understand exactly what cloud storage is. Simply stated, this is the ability to securely store your data in another location. When you upload your information to a provider of cloud storage, your information is stored in a network of servers in several locations.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
Like any area of technology, there are positives and negatives to moving your information into the cloud. Companies can benefit from cloud computing in several ways. Reduced spending is a great advantage to cloud storage. It allows companies to maintain access to information with minimal spending upfront. There is also the benefit of reduced hardware needs as no server is needed onsite, and less need to upgrade computers regularly as information is saved in the cloud server.
Most important, two huge advantages of cloud storage are globalization and security. By keeping data stored in the cloud, users have access to the same information from anywhere which allows a company to expand to locations around the country, and even around the world. Security is in knowing that the information stored in the cloud won’t be lost. Information is not just stored in one location but is also backed up in other servers in various locations so if one storage site is impacted by a natural disaster, your data is still safe in another location. There is also the consideration of safe data storage off a single computer. Did you know that “some 800,000 laptops are lost each year in airports alone?” Having data stored in the cloud rather than on the computer keeps information from being lost or stolen.
Disadvantages of the Cloud
Of course, with great advantages there are also some disadvantages to cloud storage to consider. Downtime can be a concern as if there is no internet, there is no cloud access. Security while a benefit to have your information saved offsite, safe from natural disaster and stolen information due to lost computers, there is always a concern of hackers, disgruntled employees, or careless username/password security. Cost can be a concern as well, the cost of monthly or yearly fees needed to maintain your service can add up overtime. Finally support, getting company support services can be fairly difficult with some companies.
Making the Cloud Work for YouIn those disadvantages, there are ways to help compensate. Having a strong password and keeping the username secure will help. In cost, be sure to weigh-in the cost versus benefits. Saving information remotely can reduce equipment needs for a company but be sure to do your research before taking the plunge. Shop around, compare companies but be sure to compare like services to be sure you will get the services you need. Plus be sure to research the company for reliability. Finally, support, learn before buying how the company can provide service support to you as a client. Get information of how to receive support needs once you are signed on as a client.
Overall, cloud storage is a nifty method of keeping your information safe. That family reunion photo with five generations or a log of QuickBooks files of the entire client database for your company all can be kept safe in the cloud. If a server crashes, computer breaks, or hard drive dies, no worries. Once you’ve repaired or replaced the equipment, just log on in and find that data you’ve saved safely to the cloud!
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