Not all cloud storage spaces are created equal. The main reasons that businesses use cloud data centers is to improve the agility of the company and enhance its financial efficiency. However, once your data leaves the local network, it typically ends up stored in the provider’s data center, which might not be the best place for it after all.
What is cloud storage?
Many businesses utilize cloud storage to archive old data, facilitating remote access and information sharing, or as a repository for backing up its primary information. There are likely many appealing factors in utilizing cloud storage, including the ability to quickly expand the IT department without the burden of purchasing and developing more computer infrastructure.
In the last few years, there has been a huge adoption of utilizing cloud storage. This is often a result of increased security, continuous compliance, and the ease of management at nearly every level within the company or organization. As more businesses flocked to the technology, cloud storage is significantly more affordable now than in the past. It serves as a viable solution for many SMBs (small to medium-size businesses) and even has advantages for larger organizations.
Having the ability to move confidential data completely into online cloud storage, many IT service providers and IT departments are able to cut their expenditures in areas that include dedicated staffing, training, cooling, power usage, along with resilient proficiency.
Utilized for Primary Data
Transferring primary data from the business into the cloud is often problematic. The main goal for most administrators in charge of storage is to ensure smooth performance of production data. They often utilize lightning fast drives and links to ensure maximum throughput. This is often accomplished by positioning storage systems next to the servers as a way to minimize or diminish latency.
Using cloud-based technology to store company data can produce slower performance results no matter what type of data is being transferred. This is often a result of limited bandwidth from the ISP, or the data being located at great distances requiring numerous “hops” through the internet. Working in the office, and having company data stored on the other side of the world can significantly slow down delivery times when working in real-time.
Remaining in full compliance with HIPAA, PCI, SOX, GLBA and others often require that the cloud database center be located in the US. Companies can easily fall into noncompliance by selecting the wrong MSP.
As a Backup
Response time is never really a factor when using cloud services as an online backup. Many companies choose to use managed service providers that offer extensive backup services. MSPs can configure the system to backup automatically directly into the cloud account. At its most basic level, using the cloud for backup proves to be a natural application. While the initial backup can take hours if not days, any follow-up backup happens in incremental stages much faster.
Using the cloud as a backup tool is the easiest way to circumvent local disasters, to eliminate any potential loss of data from flooding or natural weather occurrences. The only true downside to using the cloud for backup system is the amount of time it takes to restore a downed server. Transferring huge volumes of data over the Internet can slow down the restore process.
As an Archiving Tool
Unlike backing up which usually happens in little snippets, archiving in the cloud requires bigger chunks of confidential data more often. Additionally, the worth of the data is different than when used primarily for the business or as a backup. By its very definition, archived information is much older and will never change. As a result, managed service providers need to ensure that the process they use will securely store the data and maintain its integrity over time.
The greatest advantage of using cloud technology as an archiving tool is the avoidance of having to purchase additional hardware and the ongoing costs to maintain the data. Typically, in-house archiving tends to be more costly and less reliable, then farming it out to a third-party MSP.
As valuable a tool as cloud technology is for any size company, it is important to maximize the results it provides. Using an MSP that stores its servers in the company’s country of origin will ensure a faster transfer time and higher levels of security. Cloud computing and cloud storage is here to stay. However, it is up to every storage administrator to make the best decisions for the company when selecting a managed service provider.
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