The storage requirements in businesses are growing manifold with the increasing information that companies access, collect and process. Cloud computing is now a rapidly growing and evolving concept now and its popularity is due to a plethora of advantages. The biggest feature of the cloud is the data accessibility from any part of the world that increases work efficiency and reduces costs of operations in the longer run. Another advantage of cloud storage is that remote data backup on the cloud reduces the costs associated with disaster recovery and backup units.
The five major advantages of cloud storage include:
• Mobility —Cloud storage enables mobility to the business user so that they can acccess files and applications on any device and in any location, given Internet access. The capability also allows multiple people to collaborate and work together at the same time irrespective of their location. This increases efficiency and collaboration.
• Scalability –With cloud storage, businesses can pay for what they use and as they go along. They need not plan or anticipate surges in storage space requirement nor do they have to pay for unused space without the risk of running short of storage. Cloud storage providers help businesses achieve agile resource availability and allows the to pay based on their current needs, modifying it as they go, based on requirements or spikes in demand.
The ever-available storage resources allow companies to scale up easily and give them a competitive edge over competitors. This is because the time required for IT procurement is almost zero. A business can deploy mission critical applications without much upfront costs and minimal provisioning time. Cloud computing allows companies to forget about technology resources and focus on key business activities and objectives without worrying about scalability while reducing the time to market for products and services.
• Business continuity –Cloud storage ensures business continuity by holding a copy of documents, applications and systems and makes it all accessible from anywhere on the internet. Additionally cloud storage typically costs less than storing it on a medium like DVD or external disk. Cloud storage can be considered the cornerstone of business continuity planning while it also serves as a back-up for making off-site copy of data and applications on a daily basis.
Cloud storage can serve as a back‐up and business continuity plan for businesses. It emerges as important part of any disaster recovery or back-up plan in the event of fire, theft, disasters or hardware failure. The data stored in the cloud could help get the business up and running again making cloud storage an important part of emergency backup for business continuity.
• Data security – At the outset, it may seem risky to store business data on the cloud, but techniques such as data encryption, automation and password devices mitigate those so that cloud storage now typically has a lower risk profile than the on-premise server in a typical office.
Cloud storage enables security by reducing the number of copies of documents, holding them off site and enforcing encryption. Security is also maintained since
• most cloud providers offer 128 or 256 bit AES encryption
• cloud providers have a redundancy in place to ensure files are not corrupted due to lack of access
• Cloud storage providers also ensure that a physical site is secure and hold backups on multiple servers and redundant locations.
• Cost saving and faster ROI –Cloud storage helps businesses and organizations reduce annual operating costs associated with storing data internally. Users can see additional cost savings because it does not require internal power to store information remotely. The most significant cloud computing benefit is in terms of IT cost savings. Cloud computing helps businesses save substantially in capital costs since it entails zero in-house server storage and application requirements besides removing associated operational costs for infrastructure. Additionally cloud storage providers distribute the costs of their infrastructure and services across many businesses while also eliminating the costs related to hardware and maintenance.
Additionally, cloud storage is reliable and consistent with Service Level Agreements guaranteeing 24/7/365 and 99.99% availability besides redundant IT resources and quick failover mechanism.