Earlier in this blog series, we explained how Cloud technology enables remote working. We also discussed different Cloud Service Providers, along with their offerings. Now, does everyone need to adopt Cloud Computing for remote working? Well, if you intend to utilize the computing power of cloud such as building and testing applications, analyzing data using artificial intelligence or machine learning, deliver software on-demand, and more, you need the capability of Virtual Machines (VMs). However, if your staff work primarily on files like documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, you can easily achieve it with a cloud storage option.
What is Cloud Storage?
With Cloud storage, a company can store its data, files, and documents in the scalable space of the internet as against storing them on the off-site storage facilities and computer hard drives with limited space capabilities. Further, these files are accessible from anywhere that facilitates remote working for geographically dispersed teams or even individuals, working from home due to situations like COVID-19 pandemic.
Benefits of Cloud Storage
Just like cloud computing, cloud storage offers its sets of benefits including
- Cost-efficiency – Cloud storage saves you not only from spending on the purchase and maintenance of hard-disks, server-rooms, and RAID cards but also from the electricity and costs associated with the personnel to manage them. These are substantial cost savings. Further, many cloud storage providers charge you based on the frequency of backup restoration and the length of duration for which you intend to keep them in the storage. It will help if you go for hot storage for quick or frequent backups. For long-term storage, you can opt for archival storage, which offers slower restore but provides significant cost-savings.
- Disaster recovery – It offers data protection by maintaining multiple copies of data that reduce any likelihood of data loss, providing the much-needed business continuity in any unforeseen situations like disasters.
- Helps comply with regulations – By offering the capability to store a vast amount of data, cloud storage options help businesses to comply with the data retention policies that are mandatory for specific industries such as healthcare and banking domains.
- Provides data security – With efficient backup security, your cloud storage can protect your data from the increasing incidents of malware and ransomware. Also, it offers robust data security with stringent authentication policies.
- Convenience – It offers a great deal of comfort with its simplified usage, such as drag and drop features to upload or download files to and from the cloud storage besides anytime-anywhere access. There is no need for any technical knowledge to use it. Additionally, you can access it from any device with internet access, and it’s easily scalable based on your changing business needs.
- Enables collaboration – Cloud Storage enables collaboration with ease of sharing documents with colleagues and clients. There is no need to send files through email attachments, and there is no need to search through email-threads. Multiple people can access, edit, and collaborate a single document in real-time. Further, it boosts employee productivity by automating version maintenance and guarantees that you will always get the latest changes updated in the document.
Out of the many cloud storage providers, here are some of the leading ones that offer cost-effectivity with great features –
- Google DriveIf you have a Google account, you have access to Google Drive with 15GB of free storage and Google’s office suite. You can purchase additional storage at extra cost, which you can share with your family.
- AWS S3Amazon Simple Storage Service or Amazon S3 by Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers secured, highly-scalable, and low-latency data storage. There is no limit on the size of storing and accessing data. However, there is a size limitation on individual objects, which is 5TB. For storing data, you need to choose a region and create a bucket. You have to pay for what you have used at the end of the month.
- Microsoft OneDriveIt’s one of the leading cloud storage service platforms offered by Microsoft and an obvious choice for Microsoft Office users. It provides 5GB of free storage, close collaboration with Microsoft Office apps, and hassle-free linkage to leading social networks.
- Microsoft SharePoint Document LibraryBusinesses that are having an Office 365 Basic plan also get access to SharePoint Online features and, thus, to SharePoint Document Library. SharePoint Document Library provides a novel way to store and organize your data with its innovative features as compared to a simple storage solution and helps increase overall productivity and efficiency. You can organize your files in folders and subfolders, co-author – multiple people can access and edit the same file simultaneously, synchronize your offline files, and more. The best thing is, unlike other cloud storage options, you need not explicitly share your file with your colleagues. Once you upload a file on SharePoint, it will be accessible to users based on the rights they are granted by the SharePoint administrator. It also comes with out-of-the-box features like web parts and others that help you customize it further without a single line of code. You can further secure the document access using Information Rights Management (IRM) in SharePoint, which can be applied to document libraries.
Following table gives cloud storage platform comparison at a glance
|Offered By||Free Storage||Pricing Starts from|
|Google Drive||15 GB, Charges applicable for additional storage||Comes as a part of G Suite. Pricing starts from $6/user/month|
|AWS S3||Amazon||None||Varies per region. For U.S. East region, starts from $0.023/GB/ for the first 50 TB/month|
|One Drive||Microsoft||5 GB, Charges applicable for additional storage||$5/user/month for 1 TB storage|
|SharePoint Document Library||Microsoft||No Free Storage||Comes with Basic Office 365 version. Starts from $ 5/user/month|
In this age of the internet, where data is expected to keep growing, cloud storage is the only alternative to on-premise storage. Besides offering flexibility, it provides the much-needed business continuity and efficiency, especially in scenarios like the current pandemic.