Is It Worth It? An Overview of Cloud Storage Services for Businesses

For decades, computer operating systems have likened data storage to office file cabinets. The word “file” itself originates from a tangible, real-world item. Most user interfaces even incorporate file icons to represent the physical equivalent. This approach made it easy for computer users to visualize where their data was going on the hard drive — and where they could go to retrieve the information.

The world of computing is becoming more decentralized, and the importance of local processing power and storage capacity is giving away to cloud solutions. But this transition has led to some confusion over what exactly happens to data once it goes “into the cloud.”

Read on to learn more about online storage solutions for businesses to decide if they’re right for your business.

What Is the Cloud?

Although the concept of the cloud might not seem as intuitive as local storage, it is simply a buzzword for someone else’s server. There is nothing magical about the cloud — it is simply a network of external servers that provide storage or processing power to end-users who have access to the network.

The equipment used to power the cloud isn’t a small server in an ordinary office somewhere. There are massive, warehouse-sized data centers with enough computing power to handle global demand. Technology companies are in charge of maintaining and protecting these networks of data centers.

Once you’re set up with a cloud provider, you can access, organize and edit your data from any device with an internet connection as long as you possess the sign in information for your cloud platform.

What Applications Are Best for the Cloud?

Most IT departments have a huge number of computer applications they rely on for their workflow, but not every program is right for the cloud. In fact, there is no way to move all of your company’s applications at once to a cloud platform. Many applications were designed before advances in cloud technology and will only work on your local server hardware.

Some applications work great in the cloud, and others may be slow, or just not work at all.

Before you transition your programs to the cloud, make sure your programs will work as expected. We can help identify programs that will work well in the cloud, and programs that won’t work well once migrated.

Security is always a top concern with cloud servers, so the programs you choose to use in the cloud should feature some type of encryption protect your data.

Who Benefits Most from Cloud Storage?

Cloud services are becoming a more attractive option for a large number of businesses, yet local servers may still be the superior option for certain companies. If your business does not have enough time to commit to the transition to cloud storage solutions, it may be best not to attempt one at all. Time commitments vary by company size, resources needed for the transition and the amount of data necessary to move.

On the other hand, if your business has the time and expertise to shift to cloud storage, it can sometimes be a convenient and cost effective option depending on your needs. Cloud servers can sometimes be easier to access (from anywhere in the world) than local servers and can reduce energy, hardware and software costs for businesses open to the idea of relying on an external resource to handle their data.

What Can Go Wrong?

Cloud services for businesses can be secure, but they’re not a guaranteed way to keep your data safe. By relying on servers in the cloud, you are putting your data in the hands of another company, and there is always a certain amount of risk in doing so.

It’s important to remember that on-site IT hardware is vulnerable to data breaches as well, so there is no infallible security solution for your company’s data.

Do your research when choosing a cloud data storage provider by looking into company histories. Even one data breach in the past should raise a red flag when you’re choosing a cloud storage solution.

Get Set for the Cloud

Transitioning to cloud storage is a huge undertaking for most businesses, but when you have experts to help you with the process, it’s much more manageable. At OAC Technology, our cloud services are designed to help you focus on other areas of your business while we handle the details of your move to the cloud.

Whether you’re still deciding if the cloud is right for you, you need help moving data or you’re looking for assistance maintaining your cloud storage, we have you covered. Contact us today to see how we can make the cloud work for your company.

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