The advent of cloud storage has surfaced the easiest and most cost-effective data storage options for businesses in recent years. It’s no longer entirely necessary for organizations to invest in resource heavy, on-premise or remote storage space to house data. And that can alleviate a lot of strain on the wallet for a business, especially for small-to-medium companies.
Cloud storage has reached a critical point in its short existence, however. According to a recent Cisco Global Cloud Index Report, global cloud traffic has tripled since 2013 to reach 8.6 ZB this year. That is a lot of strain on a relatively new model of data storage, and this can lead to loss of efficiency and reliability for its users.
So, how can you as the owner of a SMB ensure that you are getting the most value out of your cloud storage solution? Here are some tips and best practices to keep your operations running smoothly, secure your data, and guarantee that you are getting the best bang for your buck from your cloud service provider.
Monitor activity for potential issues
As the old cliché goes, prevention is the best medicine. If you are proactive in monitoring your cloud systems for issues that could arise down the road, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache, prevent downtime, and be able to cut costs down the road.
As cloud storage grows in popularity, so do services and solutions that help augment their capabilities. Cloud management platforms are integrated products that provide for the management of public, private, and hybrid cloud environments. These platforms allow for companies to get a glimpse of the cloud environment in a succinct and user-friendly interface, including billing and metering, self-service options, and workflow optimization policies.
One example of a CMP is VMWare’s vRealize Automation. VMWare has long been a frontrunner of virtualization software, and its vRA offering is perhaps the most helpful and user-friendly CMP available today. With capabilities such as data load balancers, virtual switches, and distributed firewall security tags, groups, and policies, you are able to get a 360-degree view of your cloud environment to avert any roadblocks before they become an issue.
Utilize file assurance offerings
As you grow, your data can become increasingly difficult to organize, track, and archive, especially if you are using several cloud providers for your data storage. There are some best practices that you can and should follow to keep your data secure and easy-to-navigate. But, if you want to take your data integration to the next level, you should invest in a file assurance provider.
File assurance providers are in the business of protecting your cloud data, which guarantees easily searchable and secure data for its users. You can think of file assurance as a kind of curator of your cloud data, bringing all of your files into one safe environment for ease of use.
One such provider, FileShadow, provides its users with simple, automatic, and continuous centralization to all of their cloud files. FileShadow enables customers to link all of their cloud services into one account, which means that all data can be searched at one time. Additionally, FileShadow is hosted on the IBM Cloud, which allows FileShadow to offer “11 nines” of durability, meaning that your data will never (and they mean never) be lost.
Know which provider is best for your business
No two cloud service providers are created the same. Each one offers slightly differing plans and capabilities, and you may find that where one cloud provider might offer excessive components for your needs, some might offer too little.
“Sometimes you cannot go wrong simply choosing the largest cloud providers based solely on reputation and longevity, but there is value in choosing a provider that understands your business [or industry],” said Mark Wojtasiak, segment marketing manager for Cloud at Seagate, a provider of storage solutions.
It really all comes down to the immediate and long-term needs for your business. Cloud computing has opened up a whole new avenue of data storage for SMBs. Its ease of use, convenience, and affordability can be very attractive to companies on a tight budget, but it can also requires a little know-how to get the most value out of its offerings.