Are you lost in the clouds (literally?)
More than half of all corporations store business data in the cloud, and small businesses are following suit. But what is business cloud storage exactly?
Cloud storage or “the cloud” is a data center that operates online. Therefore, cloud storage is more accessible. Plus, data can be accessed from mobile phones and tablets.
Some of your go-to apps are examples of cloud storage, like Google Docs and Sheets. Online photo editors with file managers are another example of cloud storage.
Cloud storage is pretty straightforward, after all, but is it right for you? Besides easy accessibility, are there more benefits to the cloud?
Let’s mystify the cloud further.
1. Better Collaboration
Collaboration makes the dream work, but communication breakdowns can derail projects off track.
What does this have to do with business storage?
Cloud storage is a powerful collaborative tool with the following features:
- File sharing
- Media uploading
Some cloud storage apps come with voice and video conferencing tools for optimal collaboration.
These tools are essential for project managers. They also sync with other apps, like data visualization tools and coding apps. Thus, you can improve collaboration across job roles and departments.
Let’s dig deeper into these features and benefits.
2. File Hosting
There are many cloud storage tools on the market. The most basic ones are file hosting apps. Common examples include Dropbox and Google Drive.
You may know these tools as file managers. You’ll also find file managers in online website builders.
These tools let you upload most media types, including image extensions, movies, and audio files. Most of these tools have free plans with a limited amount of storage space. If you want more space, you’ll need to pay a monthly or annual fee.
You can also create folders for your content. Some apps let users color code storage folders for better organization.
Most free plans let users share files directly with team members. Plus, you can create shared folders with other users.
While you can perform many of these functions with email, file hosting apps have better visualization tools. Visuals improve information retention and collaboration.
3. Viewing Files
Viewing is a simple yet essential cloud storage feature.
All business cloud storage tools are designed differently. However, most allow users to enable or disable file viewing. They can also limit viewing to a custom list of users.
When a user allows viewing, some tools generate a URL link which the user can share at their discretion.
Other tools might not generate URLs. Instead, they restrict viewing privileges to certain users only. This can be a more secure method for some companies.
4. Sharing Files in the Cloud
The last question brings up a good point about sharing. One of the most important aspects of cloud storage is sharing. However, you need to mitigate as much risk as possible.
Cloud storage apps are becoming quicker and simpler. It’s much easier to generate a URL and share a link than jumping through hoops. However, you don’t want the wrong person to get their hands on that link.
Cloud file hosting is an invaluable (and cost-effective) asset. But file security is critical. All team members should follow a strict file- sharing protocol.
For example, URLs with sensitive data should never be shared from cloud storage apps. Examples include credit card information, passwords, and social security numbers. However, this risk doesn’t mean that cloud storage isn’t secure.
There are cloud sharing solutions with the following security features:
- Two-factor authentication
- Password-protected file folders
- Virus scans
- Security check-ups
You can also build customized cloud apps for storing sensitive data. This solution is necessary for connecting global workforces.
5. Editing Files in the Cloud
One of the best collaboration tools in storage apps is file editing.
Editing features let team members view and edit files. You can also leave notes and comments to clarify changes and suggestions.
Team members can use built-in voice conferencing to edit cloud files in real-time. This feature cuts out time-wasting emails and meetings.
Remember to color code file comments to distinguish between team members and departments. These tools are assets for agile project management models that rely on valuable and consistent feedback.
6. Advanced Business Cloud Storage Needs
Cloud storage isn’t just for file uploading, editing, and sharing. Many businesses require powerful cloud storage for running customized applications.
If you have advanced cloud storage needs, Turbonomic has a great breakdown of the benefits of cloud storage for application performance.
Storage automation is essential for preventing system downtime. If you’re looking for app storage, make sure your provider has adequate space for your application size.
Companies also need advanced cloud storage for running software, building software, and managing clients’ application needs. These needs require more than what any free storage plan can offer.
7. How to Pick a Business Storage Cloud Solution
There are cloud storage solutions for every business on the spectrum, from solo entrepreneurs to multinational corporations.
First, assess your business needs. This process starts with a series of questions.
Here are a few examples:
- Where do I see my company in five years?
- What are my storage needs?
- What will my storage needs be one year from now?
- Which solution would have the best ROI?
- How many apps and software require cloud storage?
- Do I want priority technical support?
For example, some businesses have more pressing storage needs than others. If you’re servicing customers, you can’t afford to have your payment app go down in the middle of a sale. You need a reliable cloud storage solution with well-managed servers.
If you’re a web developer, you need ample space for web pages, images, media, plugins, and more.
If your storage needs are basic or minimal, you could get away with a free plan. This option is perfect for students, artists, and writers.
Discover More About Cloud Storage
How can business cloud storage advance your goals?
Think about your current business needs. Even aspiring business owners should think seriously about cloud storage.
Do you want even more business resources? Stick around, and discover more tips for entrepreneurs!