It’s not just professional web developers like DevTeamSpace and their clients that benefit from so much choice when it comes to good cloud data storage, but now all of us do too. Cloud storage was one of the first mainstream uses for the cloud, both in the public and the business worlds. It seems that these days’ providers are literally showering us with free or heavily discounted storage packages in order to provide businesses with a safe and reliable place to store our much-prized data, and of course get our custom.
With so many options here are a few helpful tips on how to choose the best one for you:
What and how much data?
Begin by assessing your data storage needs. If you are looking for a simple offsite data backup system, for example, then you will need to know how much data you plan to store and decide on a range of other options, including whether you want this data back to be automatic and how regularly you intend to back it up.
Also, you will need to consider the type of data you intend to use and what platforms it might be required to be used across. If you require a straightforward backup of non-confidential information, then a public cloud system will be the best option. If on the other hand, you intend to store any kind of sensitive information, such as employee details or business profit data, then a private cloud will be the most suitable option.
You should check to make sure that any private cloud provider is compliant with state and federal laws on data privacy, because if they are not, you may also be liable for any data breach.
It is also a good idea at this point to consider any possible future migration needs that your data might be required to undertake. Though I accept that this can only be considered for the foreseeable future, it is definitely worth evaluating this in order to minimize the effects of possible changes down the road. Is your company, for example, planning any kind of system overhaul or upgrade in the future? How will this affect your current data usage and storage solutions? These are just some of the questions you need to be asking of your business before you sit down to decide on a long term cloud storage solution.
Spend the time to research and compare viable cloud storage providers
Once you have a good idea of your data storage requirements then it’s time to start crunching data. You should compare any potential data storage providers carefully, making sure to read the fine print as well as plenty of customer driven reviews also. This will help you establish whether you really are getting what it says on the tin, so to speak.
To help you, consider evaluating each provider in the following criteria:
At the end of the day, all businesses are out there to make money. Price is always going to be an important consideration and indeed a limiting factor for all companies. If it wasn’t, every business on the planet would have the same kind of cloud performance and data storage resources that the likes of Amazon.com currently have.
Consider price carefully, don’t automatically opt for the cheapest price. Evaluate all storage solutions carefully and choose the best one for the needs of your business, rather than on price alone. Establish a budget before you begin and just choose the best option from within that price range to ease the decision making process.
When it comes down to it, performance is king. If your customers are constantly being frustrated by slow page load speeds and poor site uptime, then as Andy Crestodina points out in his blog post entitled ‘Speed Is A Killer – Why Decreasing Page Load Time Can Drastically Increase Conversions’, slow page load speeds “mean you’re not just losing conversions from visitors currently on your site, but that loss is magnified to their friends and colleagues as well. The end results – lots of potential sales down the drain because of a few seconds difference”.
Not only is a cloud providers security vital, but so is the security of whatever private system that is being used to connect to it. Without exception, you should fully review your own system’s security at the same time as that of any potential cloud provider. Keep in mind that as a web based service, the cloud will require all aspects of internet security to be up to date and suitable for use. I suggest a full review of existing passwords and domain access as well as researching the encryption methods used by any cloud provider in order to establish suitability. Remember, once data is lost or stolen, there is no such thing as getting it back. So follow the important tips to securing your data.
As part of your review, you will need to establish how much data will be stored in the cloud. There is no point opting for a data storage provider or plan that has to be changed within a few weeks of operation. Part of this planning should be in making sure that you are only sending the desired data to the cloud and not, for example, backing up useless data that you are actually paying to store.
The location where a cloud provider operates might not seem like something important when considering a suitable cloud storage solution but there are a few things worth keeping in mind so far as this is concerned. Globally, companies are still liable to the laws and institutions where they operate. If you decide to use a cloud data provider that is based in Europe, for example, you will find that you must also comply with the laws of the EU and not just the United States. This is definitely something worth considering.
A great way to establish how reliable a cloud storage provider may be is to take a closer look at its reputation. Spend some time researching exactly what customers are saying about a particular service so you can evaluate the company’s service in better detail. I recently passed on an excellent cloud storage deal purely because the feedback relating to the provider’s customer service was so bad. Criticize me if you will, but I’m a firm believer in the value of all aspects of service so you know are fully covered, no matter whether the sun is shining or if it’s pouring with rain.
My final thought
I hope you found this article somewhat helpful. Cloud storage offers such a secure and flexible option for all kinds of data storage that we have reached a stage where it can no longer be ignored by even the smallest businesses.
Provided you do your homework and approach any data storage solution in a comprehensive and thorough way, you can be assured to find a storage solution that means your data will be in a place that no fire, theft or even power cut can get destroy it.
Try to keep in mind all the steps and advice I have included in here, and last by not least, always remember to fully read any service level agreements that you enter into with your cloud storage provider, so you are fully protected.