You’ve heard enough about the advantages of cloud computing for small businesses, and you’re ready to start using the cloud to store your data. But how do you choose the right solutions for your business?
To help you clarify your options and make a decision, a recent article on the IT news website ZDNet advises asking the following three questions.
- Do you require data backup, file syncing or both? The terms are easy to confuse, but file syncing and data backup are distinct technologies, not interchangeable. A small company moving to cloud data storage probably needs both tools. A file sync application offers an efficient way to share documents with others and access working files from your mobile device or home computer. A data backup service, on the other hand, helps protect your business in case your hard drive crashes or your system files have been lost, corrupted or overwritten.
- What hardware do you currently use for local data storage? Small businesses usually start out using an external hard drive. As a company grows, it may move up to a NAS (network-attached storage) device, and perhaps eventually a dedicated server. Ideally, you should have a dual solution: a local storage device and cloud storage. In a disaster, your fastest route to resuming operations may be to restore critical files with the local backup, and use the cloud copy if your local device is damaged. If you already have storage hardware, such as a NAS device, make sure any cloud backup services you consider are compatible with it.
- Which cloud storage tool integrates easily with your other cloud applications? When choosing a cloud storage solution, carefully consider which other cloud applications your business already uses or plans to implement in the future, the ZDNet article suggests. For example, if your company uses Salesforce and Google Docs extensively, you should look for a cloud storage service that integrates well with those existing tools.
For a small business owner, choosing the most effective cloud storage solutions can be a challenge. But taking the time to answer these questions about your company’s needs, existing hardware tools and technology goals can help ensure you select the right services for your situation.
We want to hear your thoughts. What do you think is most important when choosing a cloud storage solution? Let us know by posting in the comments section below.
Source: ZDNet, April 2013
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