Best cloud storage for small businesses
Is it time to send your small business to the cloud? Today, just about everything is in the cloud – pictures, music, movies – the list goes on. Moving your small business’s information to the cloud is a logical and practical business move. It allows you to keep your data safe and accessible, even when you’re not sitting in your office. Read on to learn more about cloud storage and tips on choosing the right one for your business.
What is cloud storage?
We’ve all heard about it, we may even use it. But what exactly is cloud storage? Simply put, it’s your data saved and stored on a server that’s not attached to your own physical location or a USB drive thrown in your pocket. Cloud storage gives companies the ability to store their data – large amounts of it — without worrying it will put a strain on their internal servers. These storage powerhouses are comprised of servers hosted in multiple physical locations. (Spoiler alert: it’s not an actual cloud!)
How to choose the right cloud provider
Small business owners should take a few things into consideration when choosing a cloud service and package for their business. You’ll want to figure out some of the following before you choose your provider:
- What you want to host in the cloud
- What types of files (pictures, movies, music, data, etc.) you want to store
- Whether you want software provided in a package with cloud storage
- Approximate amount of space you’ll need for the information you want to store and overall scalability based on changing business demands
- Whether you want to sync your data in real-time, on a schedule, on-demand, or not at all
- Whether you need do share your data with those outside your organization, like vendors or contractors
- Number of users needing access
- How much you’re willing to budget for a cloud storage provider
Pros and cons of cloud storage
Similar to most choices in your business, choosing to host your data in the cloud comes with pluses and minuses. Most businesses find the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but you need to decide what’s right for your business.
- Data is stored on an external server
- Access to company information is available when outside the workplace
- Files can be shared and worked on remotely with co-workers and partners
- Presentations are simplified with information available on mobile devices – if you’re at a trade show or business meeting, your data is right there with you
- Simple integration
- Technical service is available if issues are encountered
- Security of information stored
In general, cloud hosting companies are secure environments to store your data with. However, nothing is 100% when it comes to the cyber world. Hackers and cyber criminals get smarter every day. It’s important that you take the time to research cloud host providers prior to selecting one. Read reviews and their past performance on cyber security. You want to feel confident with the provider you choose to safeguard the data of your business.
Top cloud services for small businesses
A simple search for cloud services for small businesses on Google will provide you with pages of providers. Many of the most popular are offered by well-known tech giants. However, you can also find providers who are dedicated solely to cloud hosting. If you’re ready to bring your business to the cloud, here are some providers to consider:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) – this service also provides tiered pricing structures. In addition, it offers website hosting, mobile data backup, business apps hosting and gaming
- Dropbox – this popular provider offers similar service and integration options as OneDrive
- Google Drive – especially good for video and photo storage
- iCloud – the obvious choice for Apple users looking to store their files. iCloud can be used by Mac and Windows desktop users; however, it can only be used on iOS mobile devices, not android.
- MEGA – Free storage service up to 50GB. If your business needs more storage than this, they offer affordable tiered plans
- OneDrive by Microsoft – complete ease of integration if your business is already using Windows 10, you already have OneDrive.
Check out all these services offer and their pricing plans. Several offer free options and trial periods. Choose the one that fits your business and can grow with you as your business grows.
Sky’s the limit with the best cloud servers for small businesses
The biggest challenge of moving to a cloud server is actually taking the plunge. Once you’ve selected your service, you’re ready to send your data up to the cloud – where it can be stored safely and shared with those you intend to have access. It’s that simple. Don’t spend another day with your head in the clouds, rather send your data there to increase productivity and simplify your business.