Pros and Cons: Storing Business Data in the Cloud
Cloud storage plays an increasingly important role in our everyday business functions. However, with greater security threats and risk of data mining, storing important information and documents on remote “cloud” servers has become a controversial workplace topic. Nearly everyone in today’s modern business world has, at one point or another, dabbled with cloud storage, especially on their smartphones and tablets. Still, many people don’t know enough about the very important issues revolving around cloud storage, which are only intensifying with time. Here’s our list of pros and cons to help you decide where you stand on using cloud storage for your business.
When cloud storage is supported by high-quality enterprise technologies, it can reach speeds comparable and sometimes even faster than onsite storage systems. According to a test by Mediatronic, incremental backup transfers in the cloud were 975 Mb/sec, which was faster than the 800 Mb/sec speeds of a 5,400 rpm hard drive. As cloud technology develops, these speeds are only going to increase and further surpass their onsite counterparts.
Cloud drives offer businesses a virtually limitless amount of data storage. This storage is scalable and can meet the needs of any business, no matter how big or small. This is great for companies undergoing rapid growth and compiling data faster than the average on-site server would be able to keep up with. Instead of purchasing a brand new server every time you max out your current storage, the cloud allows for simple storage upgrades through your provider. This valuable convenience is something that remains unmatched by hard drives.
Gone are the days of researching and scouring for the right data provider while throwing your money out the door on storage that just sits idle. Cloud storage has simplified this process and has dramatically cut the costs associated with the startup. The public cloud has become the easiest and most convenient way for businesses to purchase storage, often with very low upfront costs. The options are much less confusing and the end result is more cost-efficient, as you tend to only pay for what you are actually using and can upgrade only when absolutely necessary.
If you have a lot of freelance contractors, work-from-home employees, or frequent travelers, cloud storage can be particularly useful to keep everything within reach for everyone while away from the office. It gives authorized users access to data regardless of their location. This is great for business trips, off-site sales pitches, and tradeshows. It is an easy way to take your business farther than you could go before (literally). Cloud storage is a real stress reliever and time saver, helping you to grow and connect from anywhere so your work won’t have to suffer.
Costs Can Increase Over Time
The more you grow your data and add it to the cloud, the more maintenance and security filters you will need. While you may have started off with lower costs, you will later face a slew of expenses, one of the most popular being networking costs. Over time, using cloud storage can become expensive for your company to keep up with.
Lack of Control
With cloud storage, your IT department will have no control over the server. Instead, your data is often stored in an offshore warehouse by a third party provider. Because of this, your data becomes subject to the local laws of that area, which you probably won’t even be able to pinpoint exactly. These data regulation laws in other countries tend to be far more compromising than U.S. regulations would typically allow, potentially violating your privacy and security. Another concern with third-party providers controlling your data is you do not know the stability of that company. They could easily go bankrupt tomorrow and you would be left with an inadequate amount of time to save and transfer your data elsewhere.
We hear it more and more in the news these days: another public data server was breached and now people are freaking out. Data compromises have become an unfortunate reality for many, as practically everyone has felt the effects of a breach at some point in their life. When various groups of employees were surveyed, over 97% of respondents felt that sharing files on servers located outside of the office was not a secure way of doing business. While risks can never be completely eliminated, it is safest to never store anything of importance or sensitivity in the cloud to reduce your liability.
The Decision is Yours…
In the end, the choice to either use cloud storage or boycott the practice comes down to your business’ unique needs. Some basic things to consider are how your employees work best, the amount of data you need to store, the sensitivity of the information, your budget, etc. When choosing how you will store data, it is best to stay aware of these pros and cons, always remembering to proceed with caution and consider all aspects related to your business.