Pros and Cons of Cloud Storage
Any person you talk to, working in the field of technology, would be using or exploring the different methods to use the cloud. In the past few years, cloud storage has become predominant, offering a wide variety of solutions for consumers and end users of all types. In simple words, cloud storage can be described as an online space developed for storing and backing up valuable business and personal data. The cloud platform allows convenient and on demand access to a collective group of computing sources, such as networks, servers, services and applications, to a foreordained user or set of users. Making use of online storage of business data will allow business organizations to foster innovation and to respond more swiftly to changing needs.
Uses of the Cloud
The cloud can be used in several ways. However, the two core uses include the following:
- For a business owner, the cloud is useful in hosting their apps and for consuming services and components from the cloud providers, which are inclusive of database, storage and computing, and much more.
- For a consumer, the cloud is useful in storing personal data such as images, files, videos, and for synchronizing these data to different devices from any place by making use of few apps.
For both the above mentioned uses, storage is an integral element. Cloud storage is more cost-effective than most corporations or individuals can provide for themselves.
Access to Cloud-Based Data
Many providers across the web offer data storage that remains in the cloud. Based on your access requirements, the data stored on the cloud can be accessible in the following ways:
- By way of a web browser interface that allows you to move files from and to the storage area by making use of a wide variety of devices.
- By way of a mounted disk drive that occurs to your computer as a locally mounted file system or disk drive letter.
- In case of application developers, the storage area may offer itself via a set of Application Program Interface (API) calls.
Advantages of Cloud-Based Data Storage
Cloud-based data storage offers the following advantages to its users:
- Accessibility: Files or data that you store on the cloud can be accessed by using just an internet connection from anywhere.
- Scalability: Most cloud storage providers offer you with the ability to scale the capacity of your storage (either up or down) in order to align perfectly with your storage needs.
- Pay for use: With most cloud-based data storage service providers, you are required to pay only for the amount of service you avail. You are not obliged to purchase or subscribe to any of the whole cloud storage package. All you pay is only for the amount of storage you require for your business and the number of people who will be accessing the cloud.
- No data maintenance is required: With cloud-based data storage services, you need not keep track of your huge amounts of business data. In addition, you are also free from maintaining the data centers and servers installed at your building. Yes, all such responsibilities can be left to your cloud storage service provider. This reduces the operating cost of your business to a greater extent.
- Reliability: Many cloud storage facilities offer transparent replication of data.
- Better communication: The data uniformity provides room for better communication between users, who are usually the various employees in an organization.
- Ease of access: Many cloud-based data storage providers enable the accessing of files through the web from any place, at any time, and on a wide variety of devices.
- Less number of IT staff: When you use the cloud for storing all your business data, you are eliminating the risk of making mistakes in maintaining your storage systems. This reduces the number of IT staff you would require for maintaining your data storage centers, servers and other types of communication tools.
- Ease of use: Most cloud-based data storage providers allow users to draft a drive letter to the remote area of file storage and access the files by using a logical drive.
- Effortless business modification: If you have plans to modify or alter the infrastructure of your company, a cloud storage service will eliminate all your worries about data maintenance and retention.
Disadvantages of Cloud-Based Data Storage
Following are few disadvantages of using cloud-based data storage:
- Performance: As the cloud-based data storage services are accessed through the internet, their speed can never match that of the local drives. Whenever your internet connection slows down, so will your cloud storage access.
- Data security: Certain users may not feel comfortable having their valuable data stored on the cloud. This is because of the possibility that data can comingle with that of other organizations, as they are all stored remotely. And, some may be concerned about the general privacy and security of the sensitive information stored in such remote facilities. To mitigate these concerns, you may choose a cloud storage provider that encrypts your data before storing it on the cloud.
- Bandwidth limitations: Many cloud-based data storage providers provide storage options with a specific allowance of bandwidth. If your data storage needs exceeds this allowance, you may have to pay significant charges. However, there are also providers that offer cloud storage with unlimited bandwidth. So, remember to compare the services offered by different providers.
On the whole, cloud-based data storage has more advantages than disadvantages. The major advantages are associated with security and finance. On the basis of security, data stored in the cloud is free from hardware crashes or accidental erasure, as it is duplicated across several physical machines and if one machine crashes, the data will automatically be duplicated to other machines in the cloud. Financially, the cloud’s virtual resources are usually cheaper than most physical resources connected to a network or a personal computer.