Should Cloud File Storage Replace Local File Storage In Your Business?

Posted by Bob Garst - Owner (technical perspective) on Tue,Jul 14, 2015 @ 09:35 AM

Remember when life was much simpler? Gas was cheaper, only 30 channels on the television, and files where stored on a local server.

As time advances so does technology. The internet has opened new ways for companies to store business data. What was once only on a local server can now be made mobile across the world.

While this sounds really good, it does come with some hesitation. How can I secure my mobile data? How do I control who can see this data? Is the cloud the best option for my company?

Because of this, companies have to determine the best option for themselves, “is my data stored locally or in the cloud?”

What about local file storage?

Local storage is pretty simple and as the cost per Gigabyte of storage goes down, pretty economical. Your IT teams are already accustomed to managing the server, the data, and the users access to that data.

One challenge is that is your server goes down, so do your files. A power outage, internet outage, theft, or malware can all bring your file server to its knees.

What about cloud storage?

Think of cloud storage this way. Instead of your IT team managing a physical server in your building, a file storage provider hosts it for you and makes your files available through the internet.

Providers usually have backup power and internet capacity, 24/7 technical staffing, and software that allows the end users to work with data on any desktop or mobile platform. Talk about productivity!

But the cloud is not without its challenges. Devices can be lost with company data on them, malware can be an issue on end users computers, and how do I handle security and file access?

What about both?

It is possible to have some data (maybe your sensitive files) stored on a local in-house server, while the non-critical files are synced to a file storage vendor.

This way you have direct control of the sensitive files, but also give flexibility for your end users and their mobile devices.

Of course managing two different systems for file access could be a headache. And if you have large data sets, determining which data goes where, who can access, and how is it all backed up can ad another layer of confusion.

The blog over at Accellion discuss the opinions of of two industry analyst.

Frank Gillett of Forrester Research states that you can trust cloud services, “without cloud services, our mobile devices become far less useful. We need access to our data for those mobile moments where we’re going to make a decision or take action on the go.”

Triona Guidry, from Guidry Consulting has a slightly different view, ”when consumers use cloud services, they trade security and reliability for convenience.”

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, for CIO, offered an interesting perspective, “you can and should store important items in the cloud, especially whatever you want to be easily access, but there’s no reason to store everything. You can keep less critical, or maybe even highly critical items if nothing is encrypted, purely off-line.”

Overall the cloud is here to stay and can present some excellent opportunities for file management. The challenge is to balance security, access, and cost to find the right solution for your workforce.

So you've got your file storage strategy in place and know files you wan to store in what location, now it's time to think about budget. Check out this article to help you understand what moving to the cloud may cost your organization "Cloud Storage Costs For The Small, Medium, and Large Size Companies."