What Is Cloud Storage and How Does It Work?
Cloud storage is a critical part of your IT infrastructure. Most organizations use the cloud to house their files and applications. The movement to the cloud has been swift and accelerated in the modern working world as accessibility and mobility become even more crucial. In this article, we’ll answer what is cloud storage, identify its benefits, and how to find the right solution for your business.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage describes a computing model that allows you to store data, files, and applications through the internet via a cloud computing provider. Cloud storage can occur with private or public clouds or a hybrid approach.
The provider stores, manages, and maintains the servers, infrastructure, and network, enabling access from anywhere with an internet connection and login. With this model, you can scale as needed and won’t be responsible for any on-premises equipment, such as servers.
What’s the Difference Between Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud Storage?
There are three main types of cloud storage:
- Public clouds: Owned and operated by third parties, these clouds are cost-effective, have high reliability, and have near unlimited scalability.
- Private clouds: Your organization owns this cloud and must maintain it. With these, you can have better control and privacy.
- Hybrid clouds: These combine public and private, allowing flexibility of configuration and prioritization of when to use what cloud.
The predominant model is a multi-cloud strategy, as 92 percent of organizations have this in place. Currently, half of all workloads reside in the public cloud. For SMBs, specifically, the number is even higher at two-thirds.
The use of cloud storage has changed in many ways over the past few years, with more companies adopting it to meet the demands of employees and customers.
How the Best Cloud Storage Keeps a Business Agile
With cloud storage, your employees can access files and applications from anywhere securely and reliably. Additionally, with file synching, all your business software tools and apps update work files automatically, resulting in more seamless workflows.
The agility you realize with cloud storage has numerous benefits, from reduced costs to being able to hire people all over the world and ensure they have the same user experience. Collaboration is easy with cloud storage, as you can co-edit in real time and the file remains in the folder. There are no emails back and forth with versions, and it supports a hybrid work culture.
To achieve this, you’ll need to review all the available cloud storage options. The market for cloud storage is vast, but not all cloud storage is the same. So, what features should you look for to find the best cloud storage?
8 Features to Seek Out in a Cloud Storage Service
Cloud storage is much more than just a house for your data, files, and software. It can be the backbone of your company’s ability to work smarter and leaner. When researching cloud storage, be sure to look for these features.
- Automatic syncing: This functionality enables automatic file updates when making edits and doesn’t require manual work.
- File versioning: You’ll be able to save multiple versions of a file and retrieve older ones if needed with this capability.
- High availability: Providers should inform you of their uptime metrics and support responsiveness. The best cloud storage will have industry-leading reliability.
- Anti-malware and antivirus protection: Cloud storage must be secure, involving multiple layers of protection. The optimal security features will include anti-malware and antivirus software to mitigate these cyber risks.
- Two-factor authentication: Accessing the cloud needs to not only be convenient but also include safety precautions, such as the requirement to authenticate with an additional action beyond a password.
- File encryption: Standard encryption of data is part of any cloud storage. To ensure further protection, find a provider that allows you to choose your own encryption key. When you can do this, you have greater control over who can view files and can limit access within your organization. Additionally, this functionality facilitates sending protected files with a password to other devices.
- Real-time file backup: Most cloud storage provides some sort of backup of files. When elevated to real-time backup, you’ll be able to recover data, files, and applications much quicker should a cyber incident occur. Since the threat of ransomware and attacks is great, real-time backup is an essential feature to have.
- Integrations: Cloud storage can integrate with many applications and platforms, including Mac, Windows, and mobile devices. Be sure your cloud storage aligns with your infrastructure.
By working with a cloud storage provider that delivers these features, you’ll empower your staff to work more efficiently.
Effective Cloud Storage Is Good for Business
Cloud storage is a vital component of your IT network. If your current storage doesn’t meet your demands or if you’re ready to adopt it, consider all your requirements and the robust features outlined above. An effective cloud storage framework will combine access, security, collaboration, integration, and user experience. Adopting cloud storage that enables your team to be more productive while the security of your network improves is critical to optimizing every aspect of your business processes and workflows.
You can learn more about cloud storage, its benefits, and how to select the best option by reading our post on how cloud storage can optimize your business.