The cost of storing company and client data on site can be very high, given the required hardware, security measures and ongoing maintenance. As a result, many savvy business owners now store their crucial data with online cloud-based storage providers instead.
As well as cutting costs and effort, storing business data online makes sense as an emergency preparedness measure. It means that in the event of theft, power failure, network downtime or other disruptions at your business premises, you’ll still be able to access important data at a moment’s notice.
A further factor is what’s known as the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend. Increasingly, both employees and customers want to be able to access data from any device, at any time. Storing business data on the “cloud” is a straightforward way of making this possible. Anyone with permission to access the data can then do so via the internet.
What to consider when choosing a cloud storage provider
The main factors to consider when choosing cloud storage options for your company are:
- storage capacity – how much data can the provider store? Can this amount grow as your business does?
- security – How will the provider protect your data? What encryption is used, and will the provider itself have access to your files?
- collaboration – Can employees and clients access and work on cloud-stored files in a secure environment?
- access – Can the stored data be accessed anywhere, any time and from any device?
- assistance – If something goes wrong, will you have access to a reliable and efficient help service?
Top cloud storage providers for business backups
Box is a content storage and management service aimed at enterprises. It allows for stored documents to be accessed and edited from various mobile platforms. Some of its business-centric services include online document exchange, tracking of changes and tracking of file activity.
Despite joining the cloud storage market rather late, Google Drive has an edge in that it integrates seamlessly with the much-loved and used range of Google online services, including Gmail, Google Docs and Google+. It’s accessible from PC, Mac and iOS, making it ideal for collaborative projects and companies with employees who aren’t all in one office.
Dropbox is the best-known cloud storage option out there, thanks in large part to its intuitive user interface and offer of free 2 GB accounts. Although Dropbox doesn’t encrypt files by default, it now offers optional two-factor authentication (in which a once-off authentication key is sent via SMS to the user) to help ensure data safety.
Microsoft SkyDrive offers a larger amount of free storage – 7 GB – than most, and you can purchase an extra 100 GB per year at a reasonable price. SkyDrive integrates with most Microsoft Office apps, such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and enables you to both view and edit stored files.
The main selling points for SpiderOak are its privacy and security features. It provides a combination of encryption techniques that keep your files completely invisible to outsiders. SpiderOak is supported by Windows, Max and Linux, as well as iOS and Android.
A tailor-made solution
If you aren’t entirely confident about choosing a backup service for your company then you are better off leaving it to IT consultants to tailor a suitable business data backup service for you. A number of local IT companies can back up your company’s critical data, set up an automated back-up service and maintain off-site backups for added security and peace of mind.