Did you know that 61% of businesses migrated their workloads to the cloud in 2020?
The past year has demonstrated the benefits of the cloud in a variety of ways. From meeting with friends online to sharing memories with family far away, the cloud has made communication easier for everyone.
But many companies are still trying to figure out exactly how cloud storage works for business. Even if a business uses the cloud already, some managers and leaders may not be utilizing it as much as they could.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the cloud and how it works. Then, we’ll discuss how you can use the cloud to grow your business more than ever before.
What is the Cloud?
For a user, the cloud is simply online storage. More technically, the cloud is a connected network of virtual servers that remotely communicate to allow users to store data, deliver online content, run applications, and more.
The virtual server part is important here. Instead of using your computer’s physical storage or adding a second server in your office, the cloud is online. You use it by connecting to the internet and managing files, applications, and more through a user interface like Google Drive. This process allows users to store documents, files, photos, and more in one place.
The cloud works by connecting your device to a network. The network then connects you to a server housed in a data center where your data lives. Of course, individuals don’t usually know where the data center physically is, but businesses can make that decision if they use a private cloud.
Some large cloud storage options like Google Drive or Dropbox will tell you what region or city you store your data in, but you can safely assume it doesn’t stay there all the time. That’s because the cloud has global connections, allowing servers to optimize storage for all users by moving data around.
The closer you are to the data center, the faster your speeds will be. But, on a public cloud, files that you don’t use often may move to a server further away. This shores up space for other users in your area to be closer to their data.
Types of Cloud Storage for Businesses
Companies have multiple cloud storage options. An individual will usually stick to a public cloud like iCloud or Google Drive, but some businesses need something customizable. Let’s take a look.
Public Clouds for Businesses
Practically, there’s no huge difference between a public cloud for an individual and a public cloud for a business. The main factor is how much storage a business needs. Usually, a company will need a much more expensive plan to house all their data, applications, and more.
Some public clouds tend to be for business or organizational use only. Websites hosted through AWS or Azure, for example, are on the public cloud, but the average person isn’t going to use one of these services.
Public clouds are easy to set up, and they can be cheap for small businesses. However, you may experience slower speeds compared to other options. Because the closest public cloud data center may be far away, especially in a rural area, your business may move faster if you choose a private cloud closer to you.
The private cloud is just that: private. Instead of using a large public entity like Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, you use a private storage option for your business.
And there are a lot of benefits to this. Private clouds are going to be more flexible than your average public cloud. Since you’ll be working with a data center team, they’ll be able to give you a plan that fits your needs with more ease than a large company can.
Also, most public clouds will require you to purchase a cookie-cutter plan, which means you might be paying for more storage than you need. A private cloud usually offers custom plans.
The biggest downside to a private cloud is that it can take a little longer to set up and add more storage. Because you’ll be working with IT professionals and not just putting in a credit card online, it may take some time to get to process everything.
For businesses that can benefit from a private cloud though, it’s definitely worth the hassle. Plus, the scalability is more flexible, even if it takes more time to get started.
A hybrid cloud gives you get the best of both worlds.
Hybrid clouds combine all the benefits of a private cloud and a public cloud. You can mix and match features to ensure that you’re getting optimal performance out of your data storage.
Some businesses will use a private cloud for their most sensitive data like customer records and a public cloud for their less private information like marketing materials and business info. Others may want to have the option to use a private cloud for long-term storage and a public cloud for everyday documents.
It all depends on a user’s needs and IT infrastructure.
How Cloud Storage Works for Business
Now to answer how cloud storage works for business. Each business is unique, meaning that cloud solutions vary for each team. Plus, the type of cloud storage you choose can change the benefits you receive. Let’s talk about some of the benefits that apply to all cloud solutions:
- Disaster Recovery
Cloud Storage for Flexibility
Cloud storage allows for more business flexibility. Instead of being stuck purchasing more servers for your office, you can keep all your data online. It’s easier to add more storage and remove it if necessary.
Cloud storage makes it easier to add new people to your network and share information with others. On a standard server, you might need extra IT help to add more users, but a cloud makes it easy.
Flexibility needs to be balanced with security, of course. Sometimes, more flexible storage is less secure. This is part of the reason people decide to go with a hybrid cloud solution.
Cloud Storage for Disaster Recovery
Creating a disaster recovery plan for your business is a vital step in protecting your assets. A cloud can help ensure that you have a reliable plan for your data.
Even if your company’s building burns down, your cloud data will still be safe. Physical servers in your building wouldn’t be.
Cloud Storage for Scalability
Because of its flexible nature, cloud storage is great for a fast-growing company. It’s easy to add more storage and users while also giving you the security you need.
A hybrid cloud plan is your hero if you need extra security and fast scalability. You could use a private cloud for your sensitive information and add on a public cloud for other data.
Cloud Storage Next Steps
As you’ve seen, how cloud storage works for business depends on which business you’re talking about. Companies are evolving to find new ways to use the cloud, and this is just the beginning.
Want to talk to an IT professional about how you can improve your business’ cloud storage? Contact us today to see what we can do for you. Whether you’re looking for managed public cloud, private cloud, or a hybrid cloud, we’re happy to help.
Alex Holcomb is a marketing and communications specialist at SH Data Tech. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.