Evaluating cloud storage options

Cloud storage

When’s the last time you shared a file with someone else? Chances are pretty good you’ve done it in the last week, if not the last day, or maybe last minute!

Over the years, there have been a number of different technologies used to share files with others. You may have first shared files using floppy disks. Then came CDs, followed by USB thumb drives.

But in the business world, it’s common for people to share files remotely. So, do you need a server in order to do that?

While sometimes a physical server can still be a good choice, often it’s not required. Cloud storage services like SharePoint (Microsoft 365), Dropbox, and Google Drive have opened up a new set of possibilities for small businesses and nonprofits.

Of course, there are several questions you should ask yourself when looking at the different cloud storage services available to you.

How important is file security?

Some of the most popular file sharing services are insecure. While that may not matter for some, it’s extremely important if you’re sharing sensitive date like personal or financial information.

Where are cloud servers located?

Cloud based storage is still on physical servers somewhere. You should not only be concerned about the security practices of the data center where the servers are, but be aware that the location of your server means that data center is subject to local laws; it can make a difference if your servers are located outside of the United States.

What is the pricing structure?

Because data storage is so inexpensive at large scales, pricing for cloud storage is all over the place. Whatever the investment, make sure you’re okay with the amount, the payment terms, and the flexibility available.

How scalable are the services?

Even if your organization is not in growth mode from a financial or personnel standpoint, there’s a decent chance you are in growth mode as far as data goes. Is it possible you’ll outgrow the space you signed up for initially? If so, how easy or difficult is it to scale up?

How good is the customer service?

This one is extremely important. Research online and see what others are saying. Find out if anyone you know personally is using the services, and ask them about their experience. Does their customer service have a good reputation overall, or a poor one?

Of course, an IT professional can help you determine which cloud storage solution is best for your organization based on your needs and budget.

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