All businesses generate data—marketing assets, financial documents, etc.—and it's stored somewhere. As some data is business-critical, it needs to be stored somewhere easy to access and has backup procedures in place to avoid a loss of information due to a breach or hardware damage.
Before the internet and cloud computing, we stored data on hard drives and memory cards. While these are still options for data storage, many businesses are looking to cloud computing.
What Is Cloud Storage
The cloud is a virtual information bank that stores and manages information, delivers content and services, and runs applications on the internet. Cloud services can function for users anytime and from anywhere using an internet-connected device.
In the simplest of terms, "the cloud" takes applications and files which were once housed on servers sitting in your business' closet (or collecting dust-bunnies under the spare desk) and moves them to servers "out there."
A cloud environment consists of databases, hardware, and software tools. These components are combined to create a server. Your organization may have a server room in your building that provides internet service for connected hardware devices.
In a managed cloud hosting environment, different organizations share access and resources to a cloud environment. You purchase a server in slices or as a virtual server. Besides accessing this resource, you are also paying for a provider—like Amazon or Microsoft—to do everything necessary to maintain the cloud environment. By outsourcing management, you save on costs and can focus on operations.
One way to think about managed cloud hosting is to imagine an apartment building. You can rent as much space as a tenant based on need and budget. You have control over an area (your apartment) but share amenities with other tenants. You can occasionally prioritize amenities, such as using the pool or clubhouse, but this comes with an extra cost.
Need a little more? Let our Operations Manager Adam Brunkhorst break down public, private, and hybrid clouds.
Though features can vary from provider to provider, most cloud services provide the following essential features.
The primary advantage of the cloud is the elimination of hard drives and disk space on your computer. The server handles most data storage, which helps preserve your computer's memory for greater machine efficiency.
Scalability is one of the most straightforward benefits of cloud storage to see. With on-premise storage, current hardware and software to your existing hardware and software. Your on-premise equipment may hinder any innovation.
Your storage capacity is limited to your hardware's capacity. To get more storage, you will need to purchase more equipment. With cloud storage, you add more storage to your plan without a significant capital expense.
Your business will keep growing, and your service providers should be able to manage your company's needs as they expand, including your data center needs.
Synchronization & Sharing
Gone are the days of only accessing data from the office. The pandemic may have sped up the transition to hybrid and remote work, but it's not going anywhere now that it's here.
Cloud servers allow employees to work securely from anywhere, as long as they have an internet connection and easily share and collaborate on resources.
With a cloud approach, backups are completed at a more frequent interval. They are also readily available should they be needed.
Location & Security.
Unsurprisingly, you should want the data center where your company's data is stored to be safe. Therefore, the data center needs to be in a secure location, preferably with multiple redundancies, to protect against power outages, natural disasters, etc.
But physical security should not be your only concern. It would be best if you also evaluated how the company protects data against cyberattacks.
Cloud storage often offers organizations a higher level of security than they would be able to access independently.
In addition to basic features, many cloud providers offer additional features to enhance the experience. Some capabilities include
- Tracking and Alerts
- Enhanced security through endpoint and ransomware protection
- Cloud application development
- Application integration
Guide to Choosing
If you're in the market for a cloud provider for the first time, you're looking to switch providers, or you're interested in restructuring your data storage as a whole, there are a few things you should consider.
- Security. You will need to evaluate what security levels are essential for your organization, including compliance regulations should they apply.
- Pricing Structure. Not only do you need to consider your budget when looking at options, but the pricing structure of the providers as well. It is also essential to consider what data loss might cost your company and include that in your calculations.
- Downtime. It is necessary to consider what downtime would cost your organization and what providers can offer you in terms of uptime.
- Import/export rules. You will need to consider how easy importing and exporting data is.
How Anteris Can Help
Transitioning to a cloud setup can be a daunting project. It's essential to have an IT strategy defined and in place. A strategic IT provider will help your organization make the right cloud choices for your business objectives and goals.
Determining your cloud needs and choosing the right cloud provider are essential. That's where a strategic managed IT services provider is necessary. We have specialized systems in place to address the needs of the legal industry.
At Anteris, our hardware-as-a-service structure allows for greater availability of equipment. Since we maintain an inventory of related models, we can quickly dispatch replacements when required. Hardware-as-a-Service provides a longer use-life and more excellent value for the team.
In addition, we can combine hardware with data management to create greater resilience. We can do this in various ways, such as linking onsite servers to our data center or installing multiple servers on the same site so if one fails, others remain online. These solutions could easily cost up to $100,000, putting a significant strain on your bottom line. At Anteris, we've already made these investments—allowing Clients to access enterprise-level technology at a fraction of the cost.
That's the benefit of Haas: turning what would generally be a considerable capital expense into an operating expense.
If you're ready to talk about upgrading your IT setup or have more questions, we're here.
Let us make your technology freeing, not frustrating.