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The Beginner’s Guide to Cloud Storage

Cloud key icon above a PCs and Devices computer type icon, Databases icon, Servers icon, and Cloud based Applications icon.

When it comes to managing your company’s cloud strategy, the storage capabilities in the cloud should be a top priority. Before considering moving sensitive professional or personal data online, it’s important to understand what the cloud really is, the technology behind it, and how it can help your company thrive.

What Is the Cloud?

Cloud computing relies on clustered servers that are used for everything from machine learning to smart homes. Cloud services are widely distributed across the globe in data centers, where you access them online. You can think of the cloud as a network of mainframe hardware. The hardware components collaborate to provide computing services that are available online.

You won’t have physical access to the servers and other hardware in the public cloud. However, you can adjust the settings and perform operations on the machine through web interfaces. This is known as virtualization, a major feature of the cloud. Virtual machines are configured by software that parses out the storage, computing power, and memory of the physical hardware. Each segment has its own operating system that users can manipulate.

Benefits of Cloud Storage

The financial benefits of cloud storage include significant savings on hardware capital expenditures. Small and large firms alike save when they no longer have to buy their own equipment — which depreciates in value. They also avoid having to pay for expensive maintenance. With the cloud, companies pay for what they use. This system makes scaling project up simple.

Other benefits include:

  • Flexibility:Cloud-based services are the perfect solution for businesses with fluctuating travel. They can easily be scaled up or down.
  • Disaster recovery:Businesses of all sizes should implement robust disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Many simply can’t afford the capital expenditure required. With cloud storage, organizations can pay as they go instead of budgeting for massive upfront hardware expenses.
  • Automatic software updates:With services off-premise, global updates to software packages are the work of minutes instead of weeks.

How Does Cloud Storage Work?

Cloud storage involves one or more networks users connect to via the internet. Users send files manually or automatically over the internet, which forwards the data to several servers. The stored data is accessible via a user interface, typically a web page.

Cloud storage systems include many data servers to guarantee availability. If one server is down or needs maintenance, the users can still access their data on a replicated server.

What Makes Cloud Storage Safe?

Redundancy, enhanced security, and safe sharing features make cloud storage as safe as on-premises servers.

  • Redundancy—The service usually makes three or more copies of each data item, and they are stored in separate locations. All three copies would have to disappear simultaneously to lose the data permanently. That would mean all three hard drivers crashed, which isn’t likely.
  • Security—For firm’s that jealously guard their passwords, security is pretty robust. The passwords reside on servers in secure data centers. Your connection data is secured to prevent unauthorized retrieval or use. Therefore, your biggest concern becomes securing the local machine.
  • Safe Sharing—You can give other parties read — or even write — access at your discretion. This saves time and resources compared to traditional methods, which involved copying files.

Keep in mind that computers often lose gigabytes of data —audio, video and other important files — thanks to hard drive failures. Losing data in the cloud is rare. Every business must evaluate the pros and cons of sticking with traditional systems or switching to cloud storage.

Cost Structure for Cloud Storage

The benefits of cloud storage for small businesses are even greater than for large corporations. This is due to the flexible payment structure that allows companies to pay on a per-user basis — not to mention the cost savings on hardware small businesses no longer must provision and maintain.

Cloud storage providers handle network, storage, servers, and data center activities. Further, cloud data storage can be provisioned as:

  • Users who access web interfaces and pay per capacity or transaction.
  • Users who want a fixed size pay a standard monthly or one-time flat fee.
  • Users can work with service providers that allocate required resources and charge on a pay-per-use basis.

The largest providers are Google Drive and Amazon AWS. However, there are thousands of management service providers that help companies navigate the transition to cloud storage. It may be a good idea to check out local and regional MSPs to see which offers the best services for your company.

About BrightLink Technology

BrightLink Technologies provides professional IT Support for businesses in Jacksonville, Florida, and the surrounding areas. They specialize in backup and cloud storage for small and medium-sized businesses. Contact them today to get your business running in the cloud quickly.