August 6, 2010
The Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage for SMBs
A business' servers, systems and data are the most important part of its functioning, and maintaining the continuity of these business systems is an essential and full time effort.
Despite the many cited reasons for companies to switch over to cloud based storage, a lot of businesses are still wary of the technology because of it being a relatively new concept. Also, many users have questions about the cost and technology itself. It's time to analyze what exactly are the pros and cons of using cloud backup and recovery.
First the cons
The biggest concern faced by small and medium business when they consider moving over to cloud storage is the cost effectiveness. For some enterprises, the cost of cloud storage is less than the cost of storage capacity, management, and all the other costs that go with data storage. Since the data requirements of a small business are on a much lower scale, some businesses would consider not jumping on the cloud storage bandwagon. However, it is advisable to make an actual cost of storage comparison for maintaining your own versus using cloud storage.
Also, most businesses are worried about losing control since the company's precious data is residing on someone else's servers or even worse, a competitor may get access to the data. To lessen control problems, you should have a contract with a solid service-level agreement (SLA). You also need to check the provider's background and be sure you are dealing with a company that is capable of providing the level of service you need.
Lastly, since cloud storage uses the Internet to backup, the business needs enough capacity to transfer files to and from the business location and the storage service provider. Your storage service provider should be able to provide you with answers based on their specific setup and analysis of your storage traffic.
Now for the pros
Data storage in the cloud can be very easy to setup and easier to maintain, thus making it convenient for small and medium businesses. Most of the requirements required for storage maintenance become someone else's responsibility since the data is stored off-site. Once the whole set up is up and running, there is almost zero maintenance for the business. There is also a daily validation process built in through e-mail notification and even phone in some cases. Apart from maintaining user accounts, array maintenance and monitoring the health of your data storage becomes a thing of the past as it is taken care of by the data storage company.
Also, the whole system is scalable, and as your business grows, you can simply buy additional capacity through convenient methods. That means you need a lot less excess capacity in your data storage system because you can increase your storage on the go.
Also, cloud storage, when set up in the right manner, is even more secure than storing data on a company's own servers. Storage at a remote site in the cloud avoids problems with a local disaster such as a fire, flood, or criminal wiping out all of your stored data.
When it comes to data security from the user's end, cloud storage providers make sure that they use secure communications links such as SSL and data is always encrypted when transmitted and stored. You also need to make sure that passwords and access are secure on your end.
All said and done, the benefits of using the cloud far outweigh the cons. Thus, cloud storage is convenient, low maintenance, scalable and secure.
CoreVault, America's most endorsed cloud backup and recovery solution, identifies, protects and manages your business's most valuable asset. Their tailored and managed services will automatically store and encrypt your firm's critical data off-site at their private data centers with 24 x 7 customer support. You also get to enjoy technologies and benefits like monitored backups, data deduplication, local storage, 4 levels of data recovery 24 x 7, continuous data protection (CDP), hosted data services, CBRM certified engineers and SAS 70 Type II certified facilities to name a few.
About the Author: Jeff Cato is VP of Marketing at CoreVault, an online data backup and cloud based data storage company located in Oklahoma.