Cloud storage has become a part of our everyday business lives, but do you understand what it is and whether it fits your business needs?
While cloud storage may sound complicated, it is actually quite straight forward. When you save a file on your computer, it is normally saved to your hard drive (unless you have an external storage drive). This copy is stored locally on your computer.
When you save to cloud storage (such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Onedrive) you are saving your documents on to servers controlled by the provider via your internet connection – whilst it’s not as straight forward as this, it is similar to saving it on their computer. This means you are not storing the file on your computer. There are security considerations if you use cloud storage – the ICO have advice and information on their website regarding this.
Now things get a little more complicated when you sync cloud storage directly with your computer. The documents remain ‘in the cloud’ but you have a version accessible locally via your computer’s drive. If your computer is linked up to the internet the document will automatically update to the cloud storage. If your computer is offline, it will make the update next time you are online.
This means if you change or delete a file, as soon as you connect to the internet, this change will be replicated in your cloud storage.
So should you use cloud storage or an external drive? Ultimately the decision is down to you and your requirements. Here are some things you might want to consider:
« How much storage space do you need?
« Do you need to share data with an employee or contractor?
« What are the security requirements for your business data and is there a provider that satisfies those requirements?
« Do you need to access your documents from multiple devices and locations?
Cloud storage is an incredibly useful tool. It helps teams in multiple locations collaborate on documents. It also means you can access your documents from multiple devices wherever you are. However, as with any business tool you need to make sure your chosen storage is fit for you and your business needs.