It’s estimated that by 2025, over 100 zettabytes of data will be stored in the cloud. By that time, the cloud computing market might be worth a staggering $712 billion, which makes it one of the most promising and fastest-growing industries in the world.
The reason for the rapid rise of cloud computing is its ability to provide secure, fast, and reliable data storage for individuals and businesses alike. In fact, most businesses today couldn’t function without access to providers of cloud storage services who can safely store huge amounts of data and allow it to be retrieved at a moment’s notice.
To better understand how cloud storage solutions work and how to make the most of it, let’s go over everything you should know about gaining unlimited storage online below.
What is Cloud Storage
Cloud storage is an integral part of cloud computing that stores data on the internet instead of on a local device. The service is delivered on-demand, which means the data can be accessed from any location or device, providing unparalleled convenience to personal and business users alike.
For instance, many people use personal cloud storage to ensure they never lose their wedding photos or other precious memories. In professional settings, cloud storage means not having to maintain complex data storage infrastructure and instead switching to a secure cloud solution that can offer virtually unlimited storage.
Today’s professional and personal cloud storage options have evolved to encompass a long list of purposes. Individuals, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations all need secure cloud storage space, and cloud storage providers have developed various business plans to accommodate different types of customers and their unique requirements.
Why is Cloud Storage So Important?
For a long time, most organizations stored their data locally. At first, it was done in huge storage rooms housing thousands of essential business documents. Then, it evolved into digital storage facilities with servers.
But today, in-house data storage is becoming less prevalent. As cloud technologies continue to evolve, businesses are finding it harder to justify not switching to the technology or at least not combining private and public data storage options to take advantage of their advanced features.
But why has cloud storage such as Google Drive been so impactful?
Well, one of the main reasons for the rise in its popularity is convenience. Businesses no longer have to worry about maintaining complex infrastructure, leaving the technical details to professional cloud storage providers.
Another reason why it’s such a game-changer is accessibility. In a business world that’s increasingly global and remote, having instant access to vital business data from a mobile device is an invaluable feature that’s hard to match. You can utilize apps such as Google Docs, Google Cloud, Google One, Google Workspace, Google Photos, Amazon Drive, and Dropbox Business from any device with nothing more than an internet connection required, and with advanced access controls built in.
Cloud storage systems have also made scaling virtually effortless. Today, businesses can have unlimited storage and continue adding data to their storage area networks indefinitely. Instead of having to rebuild their entire storage infrastructure, companies can leverage the capabilities of established cloud storage providers to quickly expand their capacity as much as necessary.
Finally, with data security becoming more important than ever before, utilizing the expertise of modern cloud solution providers allows businesses to keep up with current trends and keep their data safe from unauthorized access. The public cloud storage services provider will take care of correcting the errors of previous versions, reduce the risk of human error, and maintain the external storage devices in various locations so that you always have a business backup you can rely on.
How Does Cloud Storage Work
One of the main reasons businesses might be hesitant about implementing cloud storage systems is not being familiar with the technology. After all, entrusting vital business information to a third party can be concerning, at least without a solid understanding of how the technology works and why it’s actually one of the best backup options you could go with.
Therefore, to familiarize yourself with the basic principles of cloud technology, it’s important to clearly understand the fundamental principles behind online storage and how it works.
In its most basic form, cloud storage is little more than a data server that’s connected to the internet. When a customer buys cloud services, they gain access to part of that server and can store their data, gaining access to files and retrieving them at any time while keeping the data protected from unauthorized access.
But when you consider the ever-increasing file storage needs of modern businesses, today’s cloud storage servers have become much more complex, providing additional features that enhance the storage space and keep business data protected.
At the forefront of these features is ensuring that the data is 1) secure and 2) accessible at all times. This is achieved by having multiple backups of the same information.
Cloud-based storage service providers usually have multiple machines holding the same information, which is a process called redundancy. This way, even if one of the servers goes down because of power loss, breakdown, or maintenance, the user can access the files on another server, ensuring undisrupted access.
At the same time, having the data stored at multiple locations ensures that even if one storage device gets destroyed, there are others containing the same information.
Today’s cloud security features also revolve around reducing the likelihood of unauthorized access to a minimum. Cloud storage systems use cutting-edge encryption, authentication, and authorization practices that make it more difficult for hackers to access, retrieve, or decrypt files. Multiple layers of protection have made most of the storage cloud safety threats much less probable.
Some companies choose to take it a step further and combine on-site storage on a NAS device with cloud storage. For instance, you can enable ElephantDrive on your NAS devices and start syncing the data with the cloud.
Types of Cloud Storage
There are thousands of cloud storage systems providers on the web today, catering to different audiences and offering various storage capacity plans to different audiences. But despite the abundance of different options, cloud storage types can be grouped into four main categories.
Let’s explore these categories below.
Private Cloud Storage
Even though professional and personal cloud storage today is mostly offered as a service, larger organizations sometimes still opt for a private cloud storage alternative, which does come with a few unique benefits.
Private cloud storage means that a company chooses to set up an independent internet-based storage facility, with data centers and in-house privacy policies that can offer larger companies a bit more control over how their data is handled.
However, the biggest drawback is that maintaining secure, scalable, and convenient private cloud storage systems can be very expensive and difficult. As you can imagine, the company has to take on the maintenance, updating, and overall management on its own, which requires a dedicated IT team, various computing resources, and a lot of time.
Still, if a company has a lot of sensitive information and can’t find service offerings that match their requirements, going with private cloud storage might be a viable option to consider.
Public Cloud Storage
Perhaps the simplest cloud data storage solution is the public offerings by companies like Amazon, IBM, Google, and Microsoft. These and many other public cloud storage providers are very easy to set up and give access to anyone who buys a subscription to the service.
The biggest advantage of using public cloud storage companies is the affordability and ease of use it offers. Instead of having to develop your own cloud infrastructure, you can get started very quickly and scale your cloud storage needs at any time using professional and personal plans that are available.
At the same time, when you use public cloud storage services, you won’t have to deal with any maintenance or updates, shifting the responsibilities to your provider who will need to ensure that you get constant access to your file storage and that it’s protected from unauthorized access.
Today, the public cloud is an optimal choice for the majority of businesses. But for those who want more flexibility or have security concerns, entrusting the entirety of business data to public service might seem like too big of a risk.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
As the name implies, hybrid cloud storage is a combination of online data hosting, blending the security and customization possibilities of private hosting with the simplicity and scalability of a public hosting solution.
With the hybrid cloud storage model, business owners can store some of the more sensitive business data such as client information on a private cloud, which creates an additional barrier in case of a breach.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of data that is less sensitive can be stored on a public cloud storage server, where it’s easier to increase or decrease the amount of storage space needed based on the changing situation.
The great thing about the hybrid cloud storage model is that it offers SMBs without the capabilities of developing full-scale private cloud hosting solutions the option of leveraging some of its main advantages on a smaller scale.
A community cloud is a type of private cloud storage that’s used by multiple organizations or communities simultaneously. Even though it’s based on a private cloud model, it has elements of public storage as well since it can be used by many organizations at once.
This type of storage cloud can be useful for government agencies, as well as private companies with many branches such as banks or universities.
If set up correctly, this type of cloud storage could provide a lot of flexibility and security while remaining relatively cost-effective. However, the need to collaborate between multiple organizations means it’s not the most practical option for most businesses.
How to Implement Cloud Storage
The success of using cloud solutions will largely depend on your company’s ability to effectively implement the technology into your business processes.
Choosing the right type of cloud solution is a big challenge on its own, but then you need to ensure that your business actually takes advantage of its possibilities and that you don’t make critical mistakes that could put your data at risk.
Let’s look at the key steps of implementing storage cloud solutions and determining your storage capacity needs below.
- Evaluate your needs. The first step in choosing the right storage cloud solution is identifying your needs. Even though the cost of storage online is going down, you need to choose a cost-effective and robust solution that is versatile enough to match your needs now and in the future. A good starting point is to look at what type of individual files you want to store, how many people are going to need access, and the security measures you want to have in place.
- Explore the options. Once you identify the basic requirements, you can start looking into cloud storage deals from various providers on the web. And the good news is that there are plenty of providers who specialize in offering versatile and adaptive solutions for businesses who plan to grow in the future.
- Prioritize security. Keeping your cloud storage safe is a top priority for any business. In fact, it’s one of the biggest concerns many companies have about using the technology. To avoid issues, you must be very diligent about understanding how the provider handles their security, as well as about what practices you can implement to keep the data safe on your end.
- Look into the provider’s reputation. Data is at the forefront of what makes a business successful. Because of that, you want to make sure that the cloud storage systems you utilize are protected and looked after by a competent, experienced, and reliable company that has a track record for keeping its customers’ data safe.
- Include your team. The only way to make the most of a cloud storage solution for your business is to ensure that it matches your company’s requirements. To better understand your data management needs, consult your employees and take into account their suggestions regarding additional storage on the cloud.
- Consider the future. The technology behind cloud storage is continually moving forward. Many companies are experimenting with hybrid and other innovative approaches for keeping their data secure and accessible, which means new and better options are likely to become available in the future. When selecting an option, it’s a good idea to go with a forward-thinking cloud storage services provider that can help you stay ahead of the curve and adopt the newest cloud technology as it becomes available.
Even though the cloud storage service industry is relatively new, it has already made huge strides in the past years and managed to significantly bring down storage costs.
But even though most businesses are already using cloud technology in one form or another, few are actually making the most of what it could offer for their growth potential.
By gaining a solid understanding of the fundamental principles behind cloud storage, you can make better judgments about the potential cost of cloud storage, ensure seamless integration in your company, and choose providers that are equipped to provide you with a customized and secure solution.