Data storage devices come in all shapes, sizes and prices. However, there are many failings to physical devices. For one thing, they can be damaged by the environment, human error and just plain old wear and tear. They can also be physically removed from the premises and all the information contained within will be spirited away with it.
A cloud based data storage service can be the solution to this conundrum. Not only is it one of the more cost effective solutions available on the market, but one of the safest as well. By transferring business and client information into the cloud, a business is able to alleviate the budget required to maintain and refresh storage hardware. The ability to access all of that information also increases, from anywhere at anytime. No longer will users be required to connect to the physical file server in the office, as all files are accessible via the internet. With regards to data security and data continuity, there is little chance that data can be compromised or stolen from the cloud with military grade encryption and multiple data copies (replication) or a natural disaster affecting the storage itself. It also means all of your critical commercial data is available and can be restored in various scenarios, from simple file restores to full site-wide data recovery.
One of the biggest benefits of adopting a cloud based file storage system is the ability to share information in real-time. Since the data is highly accessible through secure sharing, several users can access the same document and can collaborate with each other simultaneously. Another major benefit is should your primary site become inaccessible, all of your data can be restored from the cloud to a secondary site, insuring your business with a disaster recovery/business continuity plan.
There are many cloud storage providers to choose from but which one to go with? Below we look at two to keep your eyes on this year:
Perhaps the most innovative solution we’ve seen at the moment, Zoolz offers the standard backup storage and security that all other major competitors offer including de-duplication techniques that increases file storage and access efficiency. Their innovation comes in the form of what they call “cold storage” with the actual storage on Amazon’s AWS platform. You pay the standard fee to store files that you need to access/restore more frequently. However, for files that you don’t access often you can choose to put them in cold storage. You only pay a fraction of the standard cost for this type of cloud backup storage, but the catch is that retrieval can take three to five hours. Although if you use their Hybrid+ feature then restoration is more immediate as the backup software will choose the local device path first before attempting their cloud repository to restore files.
Zoolz also offers a “Tribid” backup solution, which they promote as the world’s first! This is essentially where files are copied locally (to a locally connected or network storage device of your choice), to their cloud storage and to cold storage. Zoolz is a solid option, excelling in all aspects with some of the best price points around. Even though it doesn’t offer personalised branding options, Zoolz de-dupe, compression and other features means that you are neither wasting time nor money in storing, securing and retrieving critical business data. For more information on Zoolz Business visit http://www.zoolz.co.uk/
Widely regarded as one of the industry standards as a secure, reliable and affordable storage and sharing solution, Dropbox gives its users a business file storage and backup solution all in one. The mention of unlimited storage plans usually turns heads fast and with Dropbox Business it might as well be. You get 1TB per user of storage space and if you need more (if you actually manage to run out that is!) you can request more at no cost. Now your storage solution can grow and expand accordingly with your business. A major downside that users find is that deleted files are only archived for a short time. With Dropbox all of your files are recoverable with an unlimited retention period. Sharing folders and files with Dropbox users is incredible simple and easy to setup, meaning document collaboration is extremely productive for both internal company users as well as external ones. You even get a little widget on the right hand side of your document informing you who’s accessing the document.
Administration is also a key feature and the management interface is very user friendly where you can put in place some clever sharing permissions and company group folders (called Team Folders). Security provisions for remote wiping of files is a great data leakage prevention feature as is local network integration for single sign-ons. With productivity apps that can be connected and integrated such as Office 365, together with more and more online software building API’s to access Dropbox files (for example e-signing) Dropbox really does bring a mature and enterprise-led cloud storage product at an SMB price to the table. For more information on Dropbox business visit https://www.dropbox.com/business