Store it in the cloud. Move it to the cloud. Find it in the cloud. These days it seems like everything is happening in the cloud. Cloud storage; an emerging technology that has fuelled numerous debates, lots of controversy along with some slight confusion. The need for flexible IT infrastructure, emergence of big data analytics, and increased mobile usage have shaped the current technological era.
Interest of this technology has definitely surged in most industries with more and more companies migrating their data to the cloud. This has led to more tablets and smartphones being sold than computers and laptops. For companies, employees can be offered a more flexible approach to work with more and more people choosing to work from home occasionally.
What is cloud storage?
Put simply, instead of storing data and programs on your computer as traditional practice, they’re now stored somewhere on the other end of your internet connection. The cloud is just a metaphor for the internet and the drivers somewhere in the world storing this information.
Cloud computing is no longer storing information or programs in the hard drive on your computer which is local storage. The data you needed was physically close to you or in the same building but now it is stored somewhere you may not know of but still accessible fast and easily. With local storage, you could only access the information you needed when you would be physically sat at your desk or within the connection of the company network. Cloud storage is accessing information anywhere anytime as long as you have some sort of internet connection.
Benefits for SME
Unlimited storage capacity – Due to the servers of cloud storage being so big, you practically have unlimited data storage. Most cloud services do charge higher subscription prices the more you increase your storage so make sure to check this however you’re no longer limited by the size of the hard drive on your computer.
Automatically backed up – With having physical storage, this means that a fire or loss of a laptop could mean loss of important data. Not only would this mean substantial amounts of money for disaster recovery but potentially losing unique or confidential information which could damage your reputation. With the cloud, you don’t need to worry about losing information or having complicated disaster recovery plans in place.
Automatic software updates – Updating drivers and software on our computers can be time consuming and put a halt on our working day. We’ve probably all experienced the annoyance of being half way through something and the computer needing to restart or network maintenance is needed. With cloud storage, the supplier will do all the maintenance and updates, not take up your valuable time.
Increased collaboration – Cloud storage means employees can work on documents simultaneously and share these updates in real time. For companies that work across different locations, this is even more convenient. Rather than sending files back and forth, working off one copy increase efficiency and encourage more employee communication.
Access anywhere – The main advantage of the cloud is you can access your data and programs anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. Traditionally, you’d have to carry your portable hard drive with you or stay at work to be able to access internal files. Now workers can have more flexible working practices, work on the go or work from home even helping to save on infrastructure costs.
Staying safe on the cloud
As with anything in life, being on the cloud doesn’t come without risks. We’ve heard recently of celebrity photos being stored on the cloud to then be leaked over the internet. Follow these key tips to keep your cloud data safe.
- Keep your password secure – Change your password every three months and don’t have the same password for every site. Try not to write down your passwords and memorise it but if you do have to, keep it somewhere very safe or use a password manager.
- Don’t use easy to guess passwords – Family names or birthdays are always the easiest to guess for hackers and information that can be easily attained. Use random words mixed with uppercase and lowercase, numbers and symbols.
- Keep out viruses – Make sure to keep your anti-virus updated and don’t open any attachments or emails from unknown sources. This will decrease the chance of spyware and malicious malware getting into your computer.