Cloud Storage: An Overview
Unless you live on a far-flung island, you must have heard the term ‘cloud’ at least a dozen times in conversations revolving around technology. Each one of us uses online cloud storage in our day-to-day lives. We use Instagram for sharing pics, YouTube for watching videos, and Google Drive for storing files-these are nothing but applications of the cloud.
In this brief guide, we will dwell on the different facets of cloud storage: what it is, how it works, the benefits and challenges of using it, how the various types of clouds compare with each other, and how you should migrate to the cloud. So, let’s dive in.
What is Cloud Storage, and how does it Work?
At its core, cloud storage is the process of storing data in a virtualized space comprising multiple servers and locations. Hosting service providers sell and maintain Cloud storage solutions. Using these solutions, businesses and individuals store and access data in an online space maintained by these service providers. Microsoft Office 365, Google Drive, and Dropbox are some popular online cloud storage services that millions of organizations worldwide are counting on to store critical data and applications.
When the cloud was nowhere in the picture, organizations used massive hard drives and external devices such as compact discs and floppy discs for storing information.
Today, the same organizations rely on secure cheap cloud storage in India to store data. Cloud storage services are responsible for maintaining the physical environment in which the servers are housed and their accessibility, for which they charge a fee.
How do you benefit from Cloud Storage?
Many businesses are wary of handling their valuable data to a third-party. The idea of storing your critical data on a remote storage server far away doesn’t appeal to them.
Let’s have a look at the key benefits of using online cloud storage:
Location Agnostic: You can retrieve data at any time, anywhere. This eliminates the need for working from a fixed location; employees can now work from home (or any remote location for that matter). The location-agnostic nature of the cloud storage systems has gained more relevance in post-COVID times.
Collaboration: In any cloud solution, people in a team can access the data from their chosen location. They can load, share, and edit files on the cloud from anywhere, anytime. This allows for enhanced collaboration and productivity
Pay-as-you-go Pricing: In the early days, organizations purchased computing infrastructure depending on their business’s estimated growth. This resulted in wastage of resources-companies purchased far more than what they could use and were later left with resources they couldn’t use.
Later, when cloud technology became widespread, the same entities needed to pay only for the storage space they needed. They could scale up and down depending on the needs of/fluctuations in their business.
Reduced Energy Consumption: If you are environmentally sensitive, you can do your bit in reducing the carbon footprint by switching to the cloud-you could curtail energy consumption by up to 70%.
If you maintain an on-site data center, you have to make provision for servers, networks, cooling, and electricity-all of these are energy hogs. Cloud systems house many storage servers in one location and contribute to bringing down the overall energy consumption.
Improved Flexibility: With the cloud, businesses could implement any of their cloud service providers’ services. They can also scale at ease whenever required. All this leads to enhanced operational flexibility.
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Challenges While Using the Cloud
1) Security Issues
Security has always remained the top challenge for cloud users. Because they cannot view the exact location where their data exists, risks arise during the cloud implementation. Data breaches, compromised credentials, and account hijacking are quite prevalent in the cloud space. For these reasons, companies have a hard time entrusting a third-party with their sensitive and proprietary data.
2) Cost Management
While it’s true that the cloud obviates the need for large investments in hardware, the on-demand and scalable nature of the cloud can make it difficult to predict costs.
3) Lack of Resources
Companies are putting more workload on the cloud as cloud technology continues to evolve. These companies have a tough time keeping up with cloud tools. The need for cloud expertise continues to grow. These issues can be tackled by duly training IT staff on relevant technologies.
How do public, private and hybrid clouds compare with each other?
Different types of cloud storage architectures lead to the creation of different kinds of cloud solutions. These include the public, private, and hybrid cloud. Each of these comes with a unique set of features.
You must have heard of Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM Cloud, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. All of these are public cloud service providers. These providers manage all the computing infrastructure-hardware, software, etc.-and deliver it as a service through the internet. The resources of a public cloud are shared across organizations.
Unlike its public counterpart, Only one organization uses a private cloud. A private cloud is housed on the premises of the concerned organization or a third-party vendor and remains protected by firewalls, so only one organization can access it.
As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud is an amalgamation of public and private cloud models where the services can be distributed between public and private clouds. Companies can keep sensitive data on a private cloud while the public cloud can host less essential data.
Migrating to the Cloud: What you need to know?
If you want to leverage the cloud for business, you’ll have to prepare beforehand. Adequate preparation is the most critical step in adopting a cloud storage solution.
When migrating, you need to take precise, calculated steps towards your goals. First of all, you should decide which cloud deployment model (public, private, or hybrid) fits your needs. Then an application dependency assessment needs to be performed. Here, you need to research and find SaaS applications that can replace the existing software. The basic purpose of these applications is to work with specific cloud solutions, allowing a seamless transition to the cloud.
Assess your hardware systems’ shelf life to ensure you have made the most of them before replacing them. For best results, create a roadmap that dictates your transition journey.
So, that’s all on cloud storage. If you want to know more about the cloud, let us know in the comment section. Thanks for reading.