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What Is Cloud Storage and How Does It Work?

Cloud storage offers huge advantages for businesses today. Not only is it more cost-effective to rely on cloud servers, but your organization also gains mobile access to data. This translates to increased flexibility and greater resilience – something every business is looking for more of in 2021. But, what is cloud storage, how does it work, and is it truly a smart option for your company?

What Is Cloud Storage?

With cloud storage, data and files are stored off-site on servers housed in a secure data center, rather than via on-site servers. These cloud servers are maintained by a third-party provider. Your employees can then access files and business applications from anywhere. As long as they have an internet connection, they can log on to your system. This is how the public cloud model works.

The cloud makes productivity location-agnostic, and remote work possible. It offers a level of flexibility that has been critical during the pandemic.

The Cloud Involves a Trade-Off of Control for Agility and Cost-Savings

When your business uses cloud storage, you don’t have to devote resources to maintaining, updating, and protecting expensive hardware. Nor does your organization have to pay for new servers when your data storage needs grow. When you store files in the cloud, scaling is easy and inexpensive – an important advantage for small to medium-sized businesses.

On the other hand, because a third-party manages the servers your data is stored on, your business doesn’t have total control. Data lives on shared resources that your cloud provider is responsible for. This is why some organizations opt for private cloud storage – where your data and systems are stored on privately dedicated resources. In this situation, your business can dictate factors such as access control and security protocols. Private cloud storage is more expensive than public cloud storage.

Another option is to use a hybrid cloud model, which combines public cloud services with a private cloud. A hybrid cloud solution gives you the flexibility and cost-savings of public cloud storage, but you have a private cloud for storing highly sensitive files. You can also move data between clouds as needed.

How to Stores Files on the Cloud Securely

Ready to use cloud storage but worried about keeping files safe? Even with public cloud solutions, you can have high confidence in data security as long as you’re using a trusted cloud provider. Research the steps different cloud vendors take to ensure your cloud provider is following practices that live up to data security standards for your industry. There are also steps your organization can take to further protect data.

  • Use a secure file backup solution that allows you to restore real-time files stored in the cloud.
  • Protect files and business applications with two-factor authentication and strong passwords.
  • Deactivate old devices that still have access to the cloud, for example, devices of former employees.
  • Regularly remind employees about best practices when accessing the cloud, such as changing their passwords and logging in over secure networks.
  • Run regular audits on shared files and clear out deleted files that contain sensitive information.
  • Be mindful of third-part apps that access your cloud storage files – these can serve as an entry-point for hackers.

Modern Businesses Can’t Afford to Miss Out on the Benefits of Cloud Storage

Because your data is stored off-site, your business can continue no matter what’s happening in the world. Natural disasters, power outages – even a pandemic – won’t stop your organization from operating, communicating with customers, and staying productive.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that were already using the cloud for part of their business adopted it further during lockdown. Many have started to move data and workloads to the cloud. Some are planning on using cloud technology to help them extend remote work for a large chunk of their employees, far into the future.

Cloud storage is the first step in building a resilient, adaptive business that’s ready for 2021 and beyond. By taking a smart approach to moving data to the cloud and implementing steps to keep your cloud data secure, you can experience the benefits of cloud storage without taking on unnecessary business risk.

Learn more about how Intermedia can empower your business with the right cloud solutions and communication tools.

About Kirsten Barta

Kirsten Barta is Sr Marketing Communications Manager at Intermedia