The Benefits & Disadvantages of Cloud Storage for Business


According to the recently published report Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky: The State of Cloud Adoption and Security, which surveyed 1,400 IT security professionals from around the globe, 73 percent of businesses are planning to store all their data in cloud data centers within 2 years. This is not unexpected as International Data Corporation (IDC) expects worldwide spending on public cloud computing to increase to $162 billion by 2020, up from $67 billion in 2015.

The question is what makes cloud storage solutions so valuable to businesses that they dedicate most of their IT budgets to cloud adoption. And, perhaps even more importantly, are there any disadvantages of cloud storage for business? This article will help you find the answers to these questions.

The Disadvantages of Using Cloud Storage

Vendor Lock-In

The term vendor lock-in describes the situation when a customer becomes so dependent on a single vendor and the products or services the vendor provides that the customer is unable to switch to another vendor without substantial expenses. Not all cloud hosting solutions integrate equally well with all business software solutions and operating systems, which means that it’s paramount to select a vendor that will be a good fit for your business.

Privacy

While cloud storage providers go out their way to ensure that malicious hackers can’t access your data, what guarantee you have that your cloud storage provider won’t be the one with malicious intent? Depending on who your customers are and what kind of business you run, it might be feasible for you to trust a third-party with your data. In that case, a private storage solution is your only option.

Security

In 2016, Dropbox made headlines when it was revealed that the prominent cloud storage provider had become a victim of a hacker in 2012, which ultimately led to over 68m users’ email addresses and passwords being leaked online.

When you store your data on the servers of another company, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the company’s cyber security defenses. For most businesses, it’s a risk well worth taking, but not for all. How comfortable would you be handing over your whole company’s data over to Google or Dropbox?

Bandwidth Issues

For a cloud storage service to work flawlessly, it’s necessary to have a high-speed Internet connection, and the bandwidth requirements only grow higher with more employees using the cloud solution. Internet Service Providers will always boast about the speed, but the first number they give you is the download speed, not the upload speed. With cloud storage, having a fast upload speed is VERY important. This issue is especially more prevalent when dealing with uploading and downloading large files. Say you’re an architect firm that renders high resolution designs everyday. Cloud storage would definitely be a bottleneck in this scenario. For businesses with a limited budget or those located in rural areas, cloud storage may be out of the question simply because they don’t have access to a fast internet connection. Surprisingly even some urban communities have limited broadband speed.

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The Benefits of Using Cloud Storage

If the above concerns of cloud disadvantages didn’t scare you off, then cloud storage may be for you.

Cost Savings

Physical storage servers that businesses keep in-house to store data on premises require the maintenance of a costly IT infrastructure by skilled IT staff. Even when properly maintained, it doesn’t take a long time for any IT solution to start showing its age, which means additional expenses in the form of upgrades.

Cloud storage solutions allow businesses to significantly lower their IT expenses by placing the burden of IT infrastructure maintenance on ongoing upgrades on someone else’s shoulders. Thanks to the pay-as-you-go payment method, businesses only pay for the resources they really need, instead of spending money on resources that may be used for only a few days every year.

Some of the most popular business cloud storage services include Microsoft OneDrive (starting at $5 per user per month), Dropbox (starting at $8.25 per user per month), and Box (starting at $5 per user per month).

Flexibility

Another advantage of the pay-as-you-go payment method is the ability to flexibly provision resources based on current needs. Flexibility is especially important for seasonal businesses, which tend to have vastly different resource requirements during the season and for the rest of the year.

But flexibility is also essential for small businesses with big plans to expand and grow. The last thing any successful business wants is to be held back by its IT infrastructure. Cloud storage solutions are almost infinitely scalable, and their features stay at the cutting edge of modern technology.

Guaranteed Availability

A Forrester market study titled The State of IT Resiliency and Preparedness revealed that one in three businesses have had some kind of disaster in the last five years, resulting in prolonged downtime. In the day and age of instant communication, downtime doesn’t mean just a loss of revenue—it also means a possible reputation damage.

Most providers of cloud storage solutions offer a Service Level Agreement that guarantees 99.99 percent availability (also referred to as four nines), which translates to less than an hour of downtime per year. In addition to this, cloud storage providers automatically back up data to protect their customers against hardware failure and natural disasters.

Mobile, Collaborative Workforce

The mobile workforce is a major driver of enterprise change, and the cloud is a major enabler of the mobile workforce. According to Richard Esposito, the GM of Mobility Services for IBM, “The global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people or 42.5 percent of the global workforce in 2022, up from 38.8 percent in 2016.”

Mobile workers can better respond to the changing needs of modern businesses, which emphasize agility and collaboration. Cloud storage solutions allow mobile workers to seamlessly share files across devices and among one another in a way that feels instantly familiar.

Security From The Cloud Side

With the increasing number of devastating ransomware attacks, which are expected to exceed $5 billion in damages in 2017, up from $325 million in 2015, businesses can’t afford to neglect their cyber security. The problem is that most businesses don’t have enough money to build effective cyber security defenses in-house while maintaining a steady growth rate. The solution? A reputable cloud storage vendor capable of securing clients’ data even against the most dangerous threats out there.

Conclusion

Physical storage makes sense for businesses with privacy and security requirements or limited Internet bandwidth. However, even those businesses can greatly benefit from a hybrid cloud storage solution, which is a combination of private physical storage with public cloud storage. Having a cloud backup solution while still having a private physical server to access daily files is a perfect example of a hybrid solution. Most businesses should consider moving at least some of their data to the cloud to reap the numerous benefits it has to offer.

NE-INC is an Indiana-based IT company. They have an advantage over cloud-based computing. They're secure, local, accessible, and reliable.

Click here for a free evaluation!


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