Cloud Storage is the term used to describe using an online facility to store your information. These are usually operated by a third party company using data centres and there are a number of different operators providing it such as Dropbox, Skydrive, My Secure Backup, and Google Drive.
Cloud storage is an increasingly popular concept, and many small businesses are embracing it to help them. But how can cloud storage help a small business?
One popular use of cloud storage is to store your important documents such as databases, spread sheets or client projects. By doing this, it doesn’t matter if your computer breaks down, is stolen, or the file is otherwise lost; you will be able to successfully retrieve it from your cloud. You can usually set up an automatic synchronisation, so that when you save a document to a certain folder in your PC, the cloud storage facility you use will pick it up and automatically save it there too. Alternatively if you log onto your cloud storage remotely from a remote device or there web site you can upload/maintain documents and these will automatically synchronise/update on your home computer.
It is also a secure way of storing your information. You can change privacy settings of the documents so that it can only be accessed by yourself, people listed, or people who you pass the link to. This allows you to share it with people if you need it, or stash it away in a private folder if it isn’t something you want to share.
The cost of cloud storage can be considerably lower than other solutions, with many companies offering you a small amount of start-up storage for free, with higher amounts becoming available to you for a small fee, often on a monthly subscription basis.
So lets take a look at the four services I previously mentioned and see what they have to offer:
Dropbox is a cloud storage facility which comes with an initial 2GB, which can be expanded to fit your requirements. A client application runs on your PC continuously monitoring and synchronising a specific folder so it can be set up to back up whatever you want, and all your documents are accessible from wherever you go through any PC or mobile device. It can be upgraded to Pro (designed for personal use) or Teams, which allocates space between your team. It also has management facilities so you can track the account usage of your team members and seamlessly shares documents across all devices.
This is Microsoft’s answer to cloud storage and allows users to upload their documents, again accessing them from a computer or device. New users get 7GB of free storage which can be upgraded for a small subscription fee. Because it is a Microsoft product, it has been upgraded to include Office Web Apps, which allows documents to be created, edited and shared online.
My Secure Backup
This is our own secure storage solution for businesses which allows secure access of all your data between teams of 2-100. All files are kept safe in Amazon’s S3 file servers in the US or EU, or RackSpace.com file servers – two very popular file hosting soultions. You can limit files that are stored locally, which unlike Dropbox or Microsoft SkyDrive’s “LiveDrive” in the event of a theft or unauthorised access you’ll benefit from the added security. You’ll also benefit from multi-way sync between machines which means that your files will never be out of date if multiple team members are working on them. My Secure Backup also offers the ability to backup multiple computers (even the main file server) on a daily basis in a single account. Remote monitoring is also a fantastic feature with configuration and ongoing support is provided by our very own Jaytag Computer, not a large faceless corporation. We also offer UK based technical support.
My Secure Backup is £10 per month for the first installation in a business which includes 50GB of storage and then £5 for each addon user per month – all users can share the same 50GB ‘pool’ of storage.
This is Google’s own storage service which allows users to store and share documents seamlessly between anyone. Google Drive also has Google Docs built in which gives users the ability to not only create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings by themselves, but invite collaborators to help with editing
Recently Google announced that they’re merging the storage space between Google Drive, Google+, and Gmail into one giving users 15GB free to use between the three Google services.
Cloud storage is becoming an increasingly popular way for businesses to share files as well as keep them safe, secure, and always available. DropBox, SkyDrive, and Google Drive are all fantastic cloud storage services, but they’re mostly aimed at individual users. My Secure Backup is made for business and offers more storage space as well as shared storage between employees and team members.