Modern businesses process and store a lot of information. There are two options for business owners trying to figure out how to keep track of valuable data. They can either store it locally or upload it to the cloud. This article will outline the pros ad cons of each of these data storage strategies, making it easier for business owners to decide which one is the best fit for their companies’ unique needs.
What Is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage lets people and organizations store data in digital form online. The data is kept on servers in one or more secure locations, and those servers are monitored by a hosting company.
Those who want to take advantage of cloud storage should contact Managed IT Services Tampa, a firm which clients can trust to keep their data safe.
What Is Local Storage?
Local storage involves keeping digital data on-site instead of uploading it to servers in different physical locations. Business owners can use external storage devices like thumb drives and discs, hard disc drivers (HDDs), or solid-state drives (SSDs) to store their data and can access it from the company’s network.
The Pros of Cloud Storage
More businesses are switching to cloud storage every day. Experts believe the cloud computing industry will grow to $832.1 billion by 2025. Every company has its own reasons for switching to cloud-based data storage. Here are six of the most commonly cited reasons for making the switch:
- Retrieve Data From Anywhere
Data stored on the cloud can be retrieved from anywhere on any Internet-ready device, provided, of course, that the person accessing it has permissions. Easy data retrieval facilitates modern business models that require remote workers and increased business agility.
- Disaster Recovery
Cloud-based data storage providers can create backups for easy retrieval should on-site data losses occur. Having a disaster recovery strategy in place is a must for any business that relies on data access for its routine operations. These days, that’s most companies.
- Improved Collaboration
Remote workers and teams can collaborate easily via the cloud. No matter where they are, they’ll have access to the same tools and data.
- Cost Efficiency
Most cloud-based data storage companies allow their clients to pay for only as much storage space as they need. This highly scalable business model helps to save clients money as their companies grow and thrive.
- Go Green
Today’s consumers want to work with companies that prioritize environmental stewardship. Switching to cloud computing can cut energy consumption, especially for small businesses.
- Increased Capabilities
The cloud isn’t just for backing up data. Business owners can also get access to collaborative tools, applications, disaster recovery services, and advanced security protocols.
The Cons of Cloud Storage
There are few things in life that come without a cost. Cloud storage is no exception. Not all business owners are making the switch, and those that are opting to stick with local storage tend to cite the following two concerns.
- Security Risks
Some businesses that handle sensitive data feel more comfortable using local storage with on-site security. Although cloud computing has come a long way, even protocols like encryption and two-factor authentication can’t always stop the most determined cybercriminals.
- Lack of Control
When business owners work with cloud providers, they rely on them for everything from network maintenance to data security. Not all business owners are willing to put forth that level of trust in a third-party provider.
The Pros of Local Storage
Local data storage used to be the only solution for businesses that needed quick access to large swaths of data. Today, most small and mid-sized businesses avoid storing data locally. Larger companies may still choose to keep servers on-site for these reasons:
- Faster Access
Uploading data to the cloud and downloading it onto different devices takes some time. Local storage provides faster access to data. Just keep in mind that the advent of 5G technology may change that soon.
- On-Site Security
Larger companies with in-house IT and security sometimes prefer local storage because it gives their employees more control. With local servers, information security experts can set controls over who accesses data, how it’s stored, and what security protocols are in place to protect it.
The Cons of Local Storage
As cloud-based technologies continue to advance, local storage advocates have fewer advantages to justify their choice not to make the switch. The disadvantages, on the other hand, just keep piling up.
- Greater Costs
Businesses that want to store data on site are responsible for footing 100% of the bill, from hardware and infrastructure to providing power. It may be feasible for small startups just getting off the ground to store data on thumb drives or HDSs, but storing large amounts of data requires more complex solutions that come with higher price tags.
- Less Accessibility
Locally stored data can only be accessed from the company network. Businesses that rely on remote workers or collaboration with third-party providers will find that the lack of data accessibility impacts both usability and collaboration.
- No Disaster Recovery
If locally stored data gets destroyed during a natural disaster, business owners who don’t have off-site backups will be out of luck. Cloud storage provides an excellent alternative because it keeps data backups in multiple locations to provide a hedge against localized power outages and data losses.
Some businesses use hybrid models of data storage that involve both keeping essential data on-site and backing it up to off-site, cloud-based servers. Hybrid models are more expensive to implement since they require both local storage and collaboration with a cloud-based service provider, but they do offer the best of both worlds.
How to Choose the Right Data Storage Solution
There’s no one solution that’s right for every business owner. Companies of all sizes can benefit from cloud storage as long as they work with managed IT services that provide comprehensive security. Those who are on the fence about making the switch to the cloud should schedule a consultation with a managed IT company to discuss their concerns and potential solutions as soon as possible.