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Cloud Storage: What is it? Why do I Need it?

Cloud Storage

It’s become a quite a general, ubiquitous, or sometimes even a vague term in Information Technology. Some may still call it a, “virtual locker”, where documents, media, or images, can be stored, edited, and/or deleted. And while innovation makes its presence known, this online space just got juiced up with better bandwidth, security, and accessibility to more applications. So let’s break down the types of storage used in everyday computing…

Collaboration Cloud Storage

Chances are, you’re probably intertwined with this method right now; it’s the most commonly used storage for personal and organizational use. It refers to applications that store (& backup) data in the cloud to easily be shared and used anywhere, at any time. Common applications that use this (for personal data) are Google Drive, OneDrive, & Dropbox. In an organization, applications such as SharePoint, Box, Citrix ShareFile are used to serve a more cohesive function. Simply, all this information is stored in a (remote) location, or what we call a data center, which also allows a business to retrieve, edit, save, & share data reliably using a web interface.

Hot/Cool/Archive (or Cold)

These are storage types that reflect how fast you would like to access the data. It could be file sharing on your computer or a secure FTP (hot storage.) It is quickly accessible and doesn’t incur any fees for using the storage constantly. Cool storage is a storage system that uses slower storage and can still be accessed easily and may incur fees if you pull the data out of the storage system before its allowed (usually 6 months). These fees are generally small, but this is meant for long-term items that need be saved between 6 months and a year and can be deleted. Archive Storage or Cold storage (aka., Glacier, if you are using AWS) is very slow long-term storage; getting your data out of this type of storage can take up to 24 hours. However, it is a perfect low-cost storage for very long-term data. This storage typically around a cent per gigabyte.

Having a cloud collaboration platform also allows you to start implementing controls that were previously out of reach for the small to mid-sized businesses such as: file classification, file auditing, data loss prevention policies and audit logging. Each of these would have its way of costing thousands of dollars, but this innovation is now available on a per-person per-month basis, & in some cases come with the licensing you have already purchased from Microsoft or Google. Most compliance standards require or recommend file auditing and audit logging. Additionally, (these days) more companies require file classification that would protect against preventable data leaks.

“So I’m handing my keys over to, who?”
Most cloud storage providers should go through protocols and meet the strictest compliance and/or regulatory guidelines. Using a certified platform saves the hassle of going through the certification process as well as the money that it takes to prepare and keep up with compliance. It is an approach to a safe, cost-effective solution to store & monitor your organization’s data. Allowing for firm standards and most importantly, protection for your organization & the information within.