Cloud storage has simplified the way we store our data. Now, you can access documents stored in the cloud from anywhere in the world, at any time, and from any device, such as smartphones, tablets and PCs.
You can listen to your favorite music collection from anywhere, share files or photos with friends, collaborate on documents, and most importantly, you don’t need to worry about data loss as it’s always safe in the cloud.
The best part is, you get all these at just a fraction of the cost. While everything regarding the cloud sounds fascinating, the biggest hurdle is choosing the cloud storage provider that meets your needs well.
There are plenty of choices available with varying costs, security features and storage sizes. Every provider has its own pros and cons and if they aren’t assessed based on your needs, you will most likely end up choosing the wrong one.
In this article, we’ve highlighted six ways to simplify the decision and find the right cloud storage solutions for your needs. Let’s take a look at them.
What Are Your Storage Requirements?
First, you need to know how much storage is really need and whether the cloud service offers flexible plans. If you only plan to store some files or photos, then a free storage solution should be the best fit. You can go for storage services like OneDrive, Google Drive, Box and Backblaze.
Even if you intend to go for a paid service, it is advisable to choose the one that offers a free trial for a couple of days, like Carbonite, so that you can assess their services to see if they fit your bill.
The best part about cloud storage is that it is scalable, so even if you have low storage requirements currently, they can always be upgraded to a more spacious plan whenever you need it. An example is Dropbox, that offers a basic plan with 2GB of free storage space, which is fine for storing some pictures and important files.
If you need more space later on, the Pro plan that comes with 1TB storage space at just $9.99 per month.
Is The Service Provider Credible?
When buying any electronic appliances such as a TV or refrigerator, what’s one of the most important things you look out for – the reputation of the product and the manufacturer, right? It’s the same with cloud storage.
Research what others are saying about a specific storage service, how long the company has been in the business, and what kind of customer base they have. This will give you an idea of how stable the provider is in terms of both finance and reputation, and if they are worth considering.
How Responsive is the Customer Support?
Aim for a storage provider that is available 24 hours a day to answer questions and solve any problems. The best service providers will have support available 24/7 through multiple contact methods.
You should ask about the average response and resolution time of the storage provider, to see if they are readily available whenever needed. Also, try to determine whether the customer service reps are simply reading out scripts to answer your questions or actually know what they’re talking about.
Do They Have Apps for Other Devices?
Most cloud services come with an application (called a client) which manages storage, backup and file transfers. But not all are compatible with non-Windows operating systems.
Additionally, if you want to access files from an iPad or Android phone, you’ll need to select a service that offers specific apps for those platforms (most do).
What Kind of Security Systems Are They Using?
No matter what data you intend to store on the cloud, evaluating the security measures the provider has employed is crucial. Check what safety measures are in place to protect your data from theft or loss, where their data centers are, and what kind of physical security they have in place to protect their servers.
Also, evaluate if the company is compliant with HIPAA or ISO 9001, what kind of encryption they use for data transmission and storage, how strong their intrusion detection system is to counter external threats, and if they maintain copies of your data in several geographical locations.
What Are the Terms and Conditions in Their SLA?
Before you make a decision to go for a specific cloud storage provider, please review their service level agreement and terms thoroughly. You need to know which provisions they have in their SLA that address compensation for potential data loss or outage.
If you plan to use cloud storage solutions for a business, then the aforementioned points still apply. Because your storage requirements might have changed, but the evaluating criteria hasn’t (be it reviewing the SLA or the security measures). The end requirement is the same — selecting the provider that addresses your needs well.
No matter what cloud storage service you plan to go for, always weigh the different features offered, comparing the six points we have mentioned.
Which cloud storage do you currently use and how has your experience been so far? Got any additional tips you’d like to share? Please let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!