You might not realize it, but you already use cloud storage. If you use iCloud or Google Photos on your phone, you auto-upload files to the cloud. Cloud computing plays a vital role in both our personal and professional lives. But when it comes to business, these services are revolutionary.
You can access your files from anywhere, use cloud-based office apps, and take advantage of high-speed server networks. You can use it to increase productivity, reduce costs, and ensure the security of your business. This ultimate guide to cloud storage for small businesses will teach you how.
What is the Cloud?
It refers to storing data offsite in remote servers accessible through the internet. The cloud storage providers manage, maintain, and protect your files. They also make sure you have access to them wherever and whenever you need it.
Why Does My Small Business Need the Cloud?
It doesn’t matter how new your computer is; we’ve all experienced issues with data loss. Sometimes an application fails. On other occasions, it’s a human error – a coworker deletes a file.
Backing up to the cloud prevents data loss. It ensures some natural disaster or other calamities won’t cause you unexpected problems with files. That’s why more and more businesses are adopting a “cloud-first” approach. They back up their data offsite and make it always accessible.
How to Choose the Best Cloud Platform for Your Business
There are a wide variety of Cloud Storage providers you can choose. You’ve likely heard of some of the more prominent names like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. These major companies offer what we know as “proprietary cloud computing.” When it comes to storage, there are two major categories — proprietary and self-hosted.
Larger platforms like Dropbox and Google Drive offer their custom cloud software. They are easy to use, come with a variety of features, and both free-tier and premium plans. The latter starting at $9.99 per month.
Such companies usually have restrictive rules on your data. For example, they may harvest anything you store on their site for marketing and other purposes. Moreover, since these platforms are so large, they often become the target of hackers and other cybercriminals.
Bottom Line: If you want something easy to use and affordable, go with a popular platform. But be aware that you will need to take additional measures to protect your privacy and security.
Are There Other Types of Cloud Storage?
You can also choose a self-hosted platform. The name self-hosted can be a little confusing. It doesn’t mean you store your data on your local network or servers. Instead, it describes a more DIY approach to cloud storage. When you use self-hosted storage, it may require more technical expertise on your part. You may need an IT professional to coordinate with the platform to help your business integrate with the services it offers.
Don’t expect any significant discounts as well. Instead, think of self-hosted as a more customizable and feature-rich opportunity for your business. For example, you can use platforms like NextCloud, which goes well beyond Google Drive and Dropbox in features. It includes a custom office suite, voice and video chat, and advanced file-sharing options.
Bottom Line: If you want to harness the power of cloud computing and have the resources to create and maintain a more DIY approach, you should use a self-hosted platform. It’s also a good option for businesses with already some cloud presence. It helps to unlock better and more adaptive cloud storage opportunities.
What About Security?
Nowadays, almost every cybersecurity threat occurs over the internet. Hackers create different ways to steal your data, observe your networks, and restrict access to your files. When it comes to anything you do online, you need to make sure security is your number one priority.
Cybercriminals often target files because of the sensitive information they tend to contain. For example, more hackers utilize ransomware attacks where they gain access to work data. Then they block owners from accessing the files or threaten them to release records to the public unless they pay a hefty ransom. Ransome attacks can happen both when hackers attack platforms or intercept files in the transfer.
Thus, regardless of whether you choose a proprietary or self-hosted option, you need to protect yourself by using a file encryption service. File encryption services like Nordlocker encrypt your files with the latest security technology. That keeps the data safe even from the worst hackers. Best of all, it’s easy to use. Choose the files you want to encrypt before you upload them to the cloud, and you’ll ensure your data is safe — both on the way to the cloud and there.
With the adoption of Internet-of-Things and 5G technology, cloud computing is only going to grow over the next few years. Thus, now is an excellent time to step into it and take advantage of it. It offers convenience and many features that will boost the productivity of your small business.
There are many excellent cloud storage providers on the market, so look around to see which one has the best deal for your business. Finally, be sure to protect your files with encryption before you upload them. You’ll have everything you need to join the cloud computing revolution and help your small business thrive in the digital economy.