Cloud storage isn’t a new concept. Many customers are likely already using a cloud storage solution in their personal lives, such as Dropbox or Microsoft’s OneDrive for over a decade.
The Benefits of Cloud Storage
At a consumer level, many individuals have embraced cloud storage as a safe, viable way to manage their devices, photos, and even shared folders with family members. Consequently, the advantages to storing your data in the cloud are transparent and fairly well understood.
Extending cloud storage to the workplace brings a number of additional benefits:
- Cloud storage enables easy access to your work and data from anywhere in the world with an internet connection (or even offline, with synchronisation the next time the user connects)
- Your data is always backed up. Working in the cloud means changes are saved instantly, with comprehensive version control enabling easy rollbacks to any changes and restoration of previous versions. Just as importantly, your data is backed up off-site (unlike traditional backup tapes or external drive backups) aiding disaster recovery following physical office type outages
- Collaboration within teams or with external parties, including customers, on important projects, becomes a piece of cake, thanks to built-in collaboration features such as commenting, mark-up, chat and audit trails
COLLABORATION IN THE CLOUD – AN IMPROVED WAY OF WORKING
Say goodbye to the annoyance of version control!
With collaborative editing through a cloud computing service such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive and many other vendors, multi-user editing of documents becomes a cinch, thanks to always-up-to-date versions, synchronised across all collaborators (internally and externally).
Permissions for external (to your organisation) sharing is managed via a stringent authentication and authorisation process, tailored to comply with specific organisational policy.
Are multiple users editing a document or spreadsheet at the same time? Not a problem. Each active user is notified via an alert that there are other users also editing the document, and any conflicting edits are flagged for manual review and approval.
Rolling back any unwanted changes is also a doddle, with exhaustive version control dating back 120 days for every change made to files or data in the cloud.
BCDR – BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND DISASTER RECOVERY
BCDR is a broad industry term relating to organisational policy and procedures that ensure a business can continue to function, with minimal downtime and operational impact, in worst-case scenarios.
In a culture that increasingly demands an immediate response from technology, whenever and wherever we need it, extended downtime and the resultant loss in productivity have become an unacceptable risk, both for businesses and their customer base.
Smart planning and thorough risk management are crucial to forming an effective disaster recovery and response plan. Moving to the cloud helps solve several pieces of the puzzle, and ensure a swift return to normalcy when things go south.
Some common barriers to effective business continuity today include:
- Hardware downtime – it is estimated that up to 75% of unscheduled business IT environment downtime in 2018 was due to power or hardware failure. Cloud storage means no on-site servers, as well as the ability to up sticks and move your workstation to another location, should power fail at the office or home
- Cyber-attacks and ransomware – attacks are on the increase, and put your business, its reputation and your employees at risk
- Lost data due to hardware failure and lack of backups – with traditional on-site servers, backup solutions typically only run nightly. An entire day’s work (for the whole of your workforce) could be lost due to catastrophic hardware failure, whereas with cloud storage, all changes are backed-up and replicated immediately
Of course, not every single element of your IT systems and data will exist in the cloud, typically. As your holistic IT health provider, we also take steps to replicate all of your on-site backups to the cloud and verify their integrity, to ensure that all of your data can be restored swiftly in the event of a disaster.
In a similar vein, we ordinarily recommend and implement a temporary cloud-based failover design for services that run best in a local environment, and will failover to a working backup solution quickly following identification of a catastrophic local server issue.
Cloud storage and collaboration removes barriers and enables secure, rapidly accessible data from anywhere with an internet connection, from any device, giving you piece of mind and forming an effective part of an overarching Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan.