Cloud Storage and collaboration may be a great mystery to many consumers, but it is popular and here to stay.
While the public has accepted utilizing off-site servers as a great way to ensure that they will never lose another document or image, business are also starting to sit up and take notice. It can be hard for corporations to willingly accept the change from complete onsite storage to off-site sharing and archiving.
However, there are many ways that cloud storage can benefit businesses.
One of the main benefits cloud storage can bring to companies is through backup. Traditional archiving and backup was once completed using tape backup, ZIP drives and external hard disk backup. Some companies often use two hard drives within a server, one mirroring the other.
In the event that the main drive goes down, the backup drive would be ready to take over, becoming the main disk. A new redundant drive would be put in place and will act as the backup.
The problem with using traditional storage of ZIP disks, external drives, and tape is that over time, these backups can fail–even if they are never used. The files could become corrupted and degraded, making the backup worthless. Mirrored drives on servers could also be damaged simultaneously, causing loss of all information.
Cloud storage eliminates these problems. The cloud provider has safety measures in place to ensure that the information remains accessible and does not become corrupted. These files can be retrieved quickly without having to wait for someone to “dig up” the storage drive.
Increase Employee Efficiency
While it might sound strange, the cloud is actually helping employees work faster and smarter. Instead of working on a document, saving, attaching, and sending it to a colleague to get feedback, cloud storage providers often offer a way for teammates to collaborate on documentation.
Both workers can be in a document at the same time, seeing each others changes and making comments as they go. Instead of wasting hours waiting on someone to review the work, it is all done instantaneously.
By having team collaboration tools available, employees can work together even if they are not in the same location without having to worry about figuring out when to conference the other. Teammates who need to work from home can easily do so with cloud computing and sharing technology. Thus, employees work more efficiently.
Additionally, administrators can monitor projects much easier. Instead of having to track down someone working on the project, they can simply log into the work space and see what is going on, offer feedback and approve work.
Employees don’t have to wait for a chance when they can get together with the manager to get their work approved, it can happen with more fluidity and with greater ease.
One of the biggest benefits of cloud storage for companies is cost efficiency.
Even if the business is only considering using off-site for archiving and backup and not utilizing any work tools, it is still a cost benefit. Instead of having to pay for equipment and personnel to maintain on-site equipment, administrators can pay a fraction of the cost to have someone else maintain the product.
Companies that are also investing in online tools will find that their IT departments will have more time to do important projects because they won’t be spending all their energy rolling out updates and patching the system.
Businesses can also save by allowing employees to bring their own device to work with these tools in place. Teammates will have access to the latest technology and the company do not have to pay for it.
Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
While the cloud can be beneficial to a company, it is hardly without its pitfalls. Many businesses jump into cloud computing and storage and make a mistake right away. These managers then feel burned by their decision and back away from utilizing this handy tool.
The top 10 mistakes that can be made during the transition to the cloud are:
- Lack of attention to data security
- Inadequate disaster recovery plans
- Inefficient bandwidth usage
- Inattention to cloud management
- Paying hidden fees
- Choosing an infrastructure that doesn’t meet the company’s needs
- Lacking information about storage location
- Failure to ensure cloud provider honors service level agreements
- Choosing a cloud provider for its cost rather than its service
- Not researching the cloud provider enough
By failing to do any one, or a combination of these items, a company could potentially put its data at risk and cause bigger headaches than necessary. Additionally, these errors could end up costing the business more money in the end.
Moving Your Company to the Cloud
Moving even just part of the company to cloud services is a smart move. However, some practices should be followed in order to ensure the move is successful. First, research the cloud service provider to ensure that the right service is chosen. Don’t go with a vendor just because it is a big name.
That doesn’t mean their services will meet the needs of a business: look at what they offer, not just who they are.
Move slowly and don’t push everything into the cloud at once. IT needs time to get everyone caught up with the move. Employees have to learn how to use the new tools at their disposal, and the tech department needs time to ensure everything is secured as it should be.
Not all cloud providers are the same in the security of data, the IT department needs time to make sure data isn’t being compromised as well as getting everyone migrated to the new system. Know where the data is being stored. It might not seem like an important factor, but again, security is not the same everywhere.
Even countries differ on how security works when it comes to data being stored online. One country’s regulations may not be stringent enough to keep the company in compliance with their country’s regulations. It’s critical to know where the physical servers are located.
While the great thing about the cloud is that the cloud provider is responsible for making sure the data is available, companies still need to have a disaster recovery plan in place. Should the undesirable and unfortunate event of a total melt down happen, the cloud provider needs to be able to help the company get back up and running quickly.
The cloud can be a huge benefit to a business. It can help lower costs, ensure data is backed up and prevent total system meltdowns. With the cloud, employees can work more efficiently and gain greater confidence in their jobs.
Smart IT administrators will do lots of research and find a provider that will be able to meet their needs and transition the company slowly to ensure a smooth move to the cloud.