The growth in cloud services makes online storage attractive to small businesses. For a start, there’s no need for capital investment in computer kit that will need maintaining and upgrading to keep it up to date and working 24/7. And you don’t to have to worry about the security and integrity of your systems if disaster strikes your premises.
What do you need to consider before you start storing your data in the cloud?
First of all, your internet connection needs to be fast, reliable and cost effective. You don’t want to be waiting minutes to access data, nor do you want to pay over the odds by exceeding your bandwidth allowance when working with large files. And you certainly don’t want to be stopped from running your business if your connection goes down. A good internet connection priced to take into account large volumes of data traffic is essential for using cloud storage.
Likewise, your cloud provider needs to guarantee virtually uninterrupted uptime so that you can access your data whenever you want, wherever you are. Scalability is also important, enabling you to pay only for the capacity you actually use and to increase this as you grow. Services can charge per user or by storage capacity, with or without bundled cloud software applications, while others offer enterprise rates. Make sure you choose the most suitable level of service as you could end up paying more for features you don’t need, wiping out the benefits of using cloud services.
Many services are flexible, charging by the month and per user, enabling you to increase users and/or capacity, but take care not to lose sight of costs. Providers are only too happy to upgrade you, but may be less willing to downgrade you during a long contract period. Remember too that ongoing monthly or annual costs can increase sharply when you add users to your account. You could reach a point where the total of your monthly or annual charges over, say, five years exceeds the cost of purchasing and maintaining your own server on your own premises.
You must also consider what action you need take to recover your data take if you don’t pay charges or your cloud account is closed for some reason.
And remember that GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulations) comes into force this month. As well as your own responsibility to store data on your customers securely, you need to ensure that any cloud supplier meets the new regulations, especially if they are located or store your data outside the European Union.
If you want to consider moving to the cloud in more depth, FX7 solutions can go through all the options with you to ensure you make the right choice of cloud storage for your business.