How important is data and information in the world we are in today? Now is the time in history that communication systems flourish at a faster rate and broader reach. People wanted to be always informed about the whereabouts and “what-abouts” of their families and friends. Consumers wanted more details (photos, sampling, etc.) other than what they see on the labels or marketing collaterals. Online buyers research for feedbacks, or make product comparisons, in the internet before getting into a deal or purchase. People wake up and work with emails and social media, consuming information from various sources, but within the same platform. All of these, and more, are what comprises the information era.
The information age, is that period, wherein information was regarded as a commodity. Through the simultaneous advancements in communication systems, information is easily disseminated and shared, using digital means. A major part of it is being driven by the internet, where serves as both the source and means of data, and its dispersal.
Today, even an average consumer will accumulate so much data in different forms. An internet usage statistics held in 2015 revealed that 29% of users spend the most time they are online in Social Networking. The rise of smartphones enabled access and sharing in social media sites more convenient. The more popular forms of data that are mostly shared and streamed are photos, videos and music. The Social Networking platform holds a significant amount of data across all personal accounts created within its system. It is a worldwide network system of interconnected people, that should be able to hold not just massive amounts, but of rich multimedia, data that are intended to be streamed and shared alike. Just imagine how big its data center should be!
It is not just the consuming public that utilizes big data, but it is also very important in businesses nowadays. Data hold the key to different perspectives associated with business analysis over performance, operations management, ROI, innovations, strategic planning, marketing and even market predictions. This type of in depth analysis of data is called data analytics, which is a science itself, which is already being used in large scale and enterprise business setting even before.
Data has become one important foundations of both personal and professional aspects of our lives today. There is a rising need for an indispensable, almost unlimited, way of storing and backup of data. Also, this data should be easily accessible and shared across an expansive network of users. And must also be strongly protected against unauthorized access and theft.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storages, became an answer to these pressing demands for a reliable and accessible network system of data storage and distribution. Cloud storages utilize the expansive internet gateway network for its access and dissemination. Storage is being provided by third party hosts, or cloud file storage service providers, which invest heavily in hardware infrastructures to create a huge data storage and management system. This scheme has multi-tenancy and usage monitoring and distribution capabilities to support a highly efficient use of bandwidth.
In a local data filing system, data is storedon physical devices such as hard disks, thumb drives or CDs. For cloud storages, it is instead put in a virtual space, which resembles like a “cloud” because the data just “floats” within. This makes the a dynamic and vast data storage area. Its space can be almost made “limitless”, supposing hardware infrastructures can be well adjusted without limit. Future advancements in data compression and improvements in hardware might be able to do this in the future.
For wide accessibility and sharing, cloud storages utilize the extensive network range of the internet, making your data almost as mobile as you travel around the world. No need to carry physical devices with you, saving you from potential loss and power related issues (refrains from carrying power dependent devices, aside from your smartphone or tablet).
Data streaming is not a problem anymore, as well as rapid deployment and access of data, all because it is dependent on the recent upgrades in internet speed and efficiency. Data syncing is also a valuable subset of data streaming and accessibility levels, which enables data stored in the cloud to be accessed instantly across multi platform and cross channel devices.
Businesses benefit from collaborative work capabilities of cloud file storage services. First, some business tools are already integrated with cloud storages, making an instant saving of work to the cloud. Then, each authorized team member can work on a single spreadsheet, and make changes and updates which can be simultaneously viewed by other members. The data manager can also do more effective supervision, distribution and evaluation of work across the team, to ensure that all workflows are streamlined and appropriate to the goals set beforehand.
Cloud based backup and data archiving are effective methods of protecting historical or “old” data, intended for future reference. Cloud storages enable this by adopting sophisticated security measures, especially when deployed in private cloud storages.
Disaster recovery is one of the strongestbenefits of employing cloud storages in businesses, which accounts to 63% rating from company executives according to a cloud storage statistics conducted in 2013. Functioning in an inter networked system can introduce risks whenever viruses or errors related to computers happened. It is best if a business will adopt a disaster recovery program which will lessen the impact of such circumstances, especially in large scale.
Concerns/Risks in Using Cloud Storages
As with any technology or web based applications, cloud storages also has its own set of concerns and issues that are currently being addressed. Among is over its security and privacy of all data it handles and manages.
Cloud storages currently has four business service models: personal, private, public and hybrid cloud. Each cloud storage type varies in accessibility, scalability, management, cost and levels of security.
Personal cloud storages are actually a subset of public cloud storages that is often utilized by a consumer in storing his personal data like photos or documents. The data are usually the ones who are directly streamed and gathered from the mobile device of the user like smartphones or tablets, which is usually in the form of photos, documents, music and other multimedia digital assets. Personal cloud storages are mostly used as a personal file backup system and alternative to portable local storage devices. Personal cloud storages are also called mobile cloud storages.
Concerns and risks in using personal cloud storages aren’t that high, considering the limited bandwidth it offers to users, thus limiting the amount of data that is integrated into it. Personal cloud storages are usually offered free of charge, as a promotional aspect for large scale users.
Public cloud storages have the most widespread accessibility among all cloud storage types. It will be considered the “mother” of cloud storage types, should all others will be part of a hierarchy in terms of how expansive its network could be. Most public cloud based storage providers have sub partners, which utilizes a more targeted specialization of data storage according to client type. It is multi-tenant, or the capacity to support different data segments from different clients.
Public cloud storages are also scalable, which makes a more efficient use of data bandwidth. Inlocal data storages, it is normal to purchase huge capacity storages for future expansion. But as we know, data storage capacities grow at rapid rates, which also renders some capacities to lower its cost, or sometimes, become obsolete. This is not economical for long term deployment. Less data means “wasted” space, but full storage can as well introduce the slow performance of the computer system or the storage system itself.
Public storages are mostly used as backup storages in enterprise use, with less emphasis on live or interactive data access. Although public storages are dynamic to contain varying data types; whether static based or constantly updating data and information. Public cloud file storage services are also capable of syncing and data streaming, which are more adaptable to be used in social media networking, that are also popular with consumers these days.
Costs in utilizing public cloud storages vary according to preferred purchase type, which could be per-bandwidth or per-access model. Overall business cost is minimized, as long as we are talking about long term deployment. The expensive hardware infrastructure needed to create this vast and public type of data storage is shouldered by the host, or third party provider. Overall data management of the network system is also on the side of the provider, so control over their own data is the one left to the tenant or client.
Private cloud storages are most likely to be adopted by businesses that have more crucial data in nature. Users prefer this kind of storage type when there is a need for a more robust and secured data environment, as well as a more controlled management and access.
In businesses, private cloud storage offer sub, and multi tenancy capability to segregate data per department, but is still part of a localized data management system.
Private cloud storages are on-premise deployed, and mostly the business IT department is the one who created it. It lacks support from third party cloud storage companies, and hardware infrastructure and networking is shouldered by the company itself. Although, infrastructure cost is not as expensive as public cloud storages, but still depends on the type of business scale it is deployed on. On enterprise setting, this is still cost efficient, especially that a whole business organization and its affiliates can benefit from it.
Hybrid cloud storages are a mix of both public and private cloud storages, wherein businesses both have an on-premise cloud storage and at the same time, outsource to public cloud for better backup and disaster recovery program. However,combining both models will entail some extra effort in making a centralized data management across static data and active data, that separately live in different environments. In this case, there should be a dedicated set of rules or guidelines in access and update of data across this kind of hybrid scenario.
Cloud Storage Providers Stability Issues
Since cloud storages operate in a virtual environment, as well as it is services based, there are some concerns over long term stability of vendors that utilize this kind of system. Technology based resources are continuously varying, and is constantly being upgraded, rendering some to become obsolete in the future. Cloud storage providers should also provide within their contracts a clause, stating future references to data stored within its system. Data is a different kind of indispensable resource, and have more sophisticated needs in terms of storing and archiving. Cloud storage providers should be able to present to its clients a backup plan should disaster happen to their own system.
Characteristics of a Good Cloud Storage Provider
Getting the right cloud storage provider for your business, first stems from knowing the amount of data that is needed to be deployed in a data storage. From this analysis, a business can now decide which cloud storage model would fit the necessary requirements in security, accessibility and scalability that the storage would need. Data, whether raw (unstructured) or processed, may be valuable in the future, and businesses address this by setting aside resources to sustain a protected environment for it to live for a while.
Technology of bandwidth utilization, capacity and data compression are growing at a fast rate nowadays, driving cloud storages to lower in usage cost. Being software based means that configurations and upgrades can be easily deployed. A good cloud based provider should be able to update itself with the latest in these technologies to be able to keep up with the growth and development in internet based storages.
The best cloud storage providers adopt a high level security implementation across its network systems, which guarantee its tenants that their data is in the environment of privacy. They also deploy a strong encryption methodology to prevent unlawful and unauthorized access. Strong firewall and data segregation implementation is strongly imposed to prevent tenants (in public and hybrid storage models) from accessing data from other clients.
In search for the best cloud storage provider for your business? Check out this list, and read on different cloud storage company reviews, to get that top match for your pressing digital assets storage needs.
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