Sponsored Storage is a growth area in IT, as the volume of data generated by users and applications keeps on expanding at an increasing rate, while legislation dictates that organisations must retain some types of data for regulatory purposes and cannot just delete it all to free up capacity.
Traditionally, data would simply have been stored on-site, residing on hard drives inside the organisations own servers and PCs, but the development of cloud services over the past decade means that users now have the option to offload some of that burden to online service providers that have much greater storage capacity available.
For many users, including SME organisations, cloud-based storage is an attractive solution to the storage issues they face. It is always available, you do not have to worry about managing any hardware, and it makes it simple for workers to collaborate by sharing files and data with colleagues.
But this does not mean that cloud-based services should be viewed as a replacement for on-premises storage. There are good reasons why some data is best kept under the direct control of the organisation itself.
In fact, on-premises and cloud-based storage are best regarded as complementary. Each has strengths and weaknesses that make them suitable for particular use cases, and both should therefore be considered as essential parts of the toolkit available to organisations for meeting their storage requirements.
Smaller organisations are likely to turn to network attached storage (NAS) or a low-cost server in order to meet their primary storage requirements. A NAS device is often the simpler option, as this delivers an appliance-like box that is relatively easy to configure through a browser-based console. For companies with 25 users or fewer, Microsofts Windows Server Essentials platform provides a wizard-driven setup for configuring a local server.
Whether the choice is a NAS or a Windows server, the organisation gets the advantages of a pool of storage connected directly to the local network, where users can have folders for their own files as well as shared folders for groups of users to store and access data for collaborative working while in the office.
The chief advantages of such an on-premise solution are performance, because data is stored locally on a high-speed network, and security, because it is more difficult for anyone outside the organisation to access the data. Users also get the reassurance of knowing exactly where their data is located and can physically secure it.
For cloud-based storage, the advantages are convenience and ease of access. The convenience comes because you can simply sign up for a cloud storage service and get instant access to a pool of storage capacity, and the fact that it is located online makes it easy to access for users both in the office premises and off-site, while travelling or at a customer site, for example.
Another advantage of cloud-based storage is the available capacity. Services such as Box, Google Drive and Dropbox now offer unlimited storage in their business-focused plans, although in practice there are often limits such as fair use restrictions when you look at the small print.
The most common use cases for cloud-based storage services such as these tend to be as a platform for file sharing and collaboration, or as an online backup facility.
Backing up data to the cloud is widely used even by large organisations, as it provides a safe off-site repository in the event that your primary storage is destroyed or damaged, rather than just a file getting deleted or corrupted.
Many backup tools now support cloud storage services as a backup target, and this includes those bundled with NAS appliances. In the latter case, endpoint devices can be configured to use the NAS as their backup target, while the NAS can then back itself up using either another NAS as the target, or to a cloud storage service.
Some NAS appliances also support synchronisation with common cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive, so that files stored in public folders on-premises can easily be made available to users roaming off-site. Users can specify synchronisation of just the files and folders they want, while a one-way sync feature is often supported to only copy files from the NAS to the cloud, or vice versa.
Another potential application for cloud storage is archiving. This enables the user to migrate to cloud storage any data that is no longer used or seldom accessed, in order to free up capacity in their on-premises storage.
There are dedicated cloud archive services, such as Amazon Glacier, that offer very low costs, provided that users do not expect speedy access to data stored there. Some cloud storage services such as Box offer governance capabilities that implement data retention rules and support discovery of content for data governance and regulatory compliance purposes.
When it comes to the question of security, an administrator can easily set access privileges for on-premises storage such as a NAS by individual users or groups of users, while each user can have their own private folder as well as access to shared folders.
But many of the cloud storage providers are catching up fast, with some business-focused services offering user access controls, plus support for single sign-on, two-factor authentication and usage logs, as well as encryption to protect data stored on their cloud.
The question of whether data is best stored on-premises or in the cloud will depend upon a number of factors, such as whether easy access is required for collaboration, whether the data needs to be kept secure, or the costs of storing it in a particular repository.
However, both on-premises and cloud storage have their place in the storage strategies of organisations, and a smart IT professional will make good use of both in order to meet the demands of applications and users.
Sponsored: The Joy and Pain of Buying IT – Have Your Say
- Foscam Cloud - April 7th, 2018
- Data Storage - Flash Storage, NAS, Object ... - Dell EMC US - April 7th, 2018
- Best Cloud Storage Providers 2017 Reviewed & Rated - December 13th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Topics - SearchCloudStorage - October 18th, 2017
- Cloud Storage - 2017 News, Articles and Trends - Tom's IT Pro - October 18th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Pricing Comparison: AWS, Azure, Google, and B2 - October 18th, 2017
- 18 free cloud storage options | Network World - September 19th, 2017
- Best Cloud Storage Solutions For Your Small Business - CBS Chicago - CBS Chicago - September 7th, 2017
- How Secure Is Cloud-Based Data Storage? - HuffPost - September 7th, 2017
- Best Cloud Storage Solutions For Your Small Business - CBS Detroit - September 7th, 2017
- Deals: A Lifetime Of 2TB Cloud Storage For 90% Off - Gizmodo Australia - September 7th, 2017
- Microsoft Azure: 8 Ways to Save on Cloud Storage - Enterprise Storage Forum - September 2nd, 2017
- There's a lot more to the Cloud than storage these days and competition is getting crowded - Financial Post - September 2nd, 2017
- Cloud storage provider Box's revenue rises as growth slows - Reuters - August 31st, 2017
- Whatchu doin' Upthere? Western Digital moves on cloud storage space - The Register - August 30th, 2017
- pCloud First Cloud Storage Provider to Offer Lifetime Plan | 08/29/17 ... - Markets Insider - August 30th, 2017
- Nearly 300 years worth of porn was recorded to test Amazon's ... - Neowin - August 30th, 2017
- Western Digital (WDC) Acquires Cloud-Storage Startup Upthere - Nasdaq - August 29th, 2017
- Faction Partners with CoreSite to Launch Multi-Cloud Storage and ... - Business Wire (press release) - August 29th, 2017
- A Man Backing Up Millions Of GB Of Porn May Have Ended ... - Indiatimes.com - August 29th, 2017
- pCloud First Cloud Storage Provider to Offer Lifetime Plan - PR Newswire (press release) - August 29th, 2017
- Person tests Amazon's "unlimited" cloud storage by uploading 1.8 petabytes of porn - Boing Boing - August 27th, 2017
- Hedvig Advances Private, Hybrid and Multi-cloud Storage with New Integrations, Security, and All-flash Capabilities - insideBIGDATA - August 27th, 2017
- Why Storage Companies Are Partnering with Microsoft Azure for ... - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 26th, 2017
- Microsoft Unveils Cost-Cutting Archival Cloud Storage Option - eWeek - August 25th, 2017
- A Redditor Archived Nearly 2 Million Gigabytes of Porn to Test Amazon's 'Unlimited' Cloud Storage - Motherboard - August 25th, 2017
- Back up everything with lifetime 2TB cloud storage for under $50 - Popular Science - August 25th, 2017
- Google Cloud: How to Reduce Data Storage Costs and Maximize Performance - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 23rd, 2017
- Enterprises Encounter Cloud Storage Cost and Management Challenges - Enterprise Storage Forum - August 23rd, 2017
- Cisco Validates SwiftStack's hybrid cloud storage software - Read IT Quik - August 23rd, 2017
- Another Free Data Backup Option Bites The Dust - Fortune - August 22nd, 2017
- Apollo Cloud 2 Duo offers personal cloud storage with no monthly fees - Techaeris - August 22nd, 2017
- pCloud first cloud storage provider to offer lifetime plan - PRUnderground (press release) - August 22nd, 2017
- Top 5 tips for doing a cloud storage cost analysis - Information Age - August 21st, 2017
- BBB Tip of the Week: What to look for in cloud storage - The Spokesman-Review - August 20th, 2017
- Get 2 TB of Cloud Storage from Zoolz for Life for Just $50 - The Escapist - August 20th, 2017
- Optimize a public cloud storage service with these performance tips - TechTarget - August 19th, 2017
- XenData Launches Hybrid Cloud Storage Appliance Optimized for Media Files - Broadcasting & Cable - August 16th, 2017
- Lima Ultra: Tiny, personal cloud storage which just misses the mark - ZDNet - August 16th, 2017
- Secure 2TBs of cloud storage space for life for under $50 - TNW - August 16th, 2017
- Results: do you pay for extra cloud storage? How much do you need? - Phone Arena - August 16th, 2017
- XenData Debuts CX-10 Hybrid Cloud Storage Appliance - TV Technology - August 16th, 2017
- Datrium Splits Provisioning to Boost Private Cloud Storage - SDxCentral - August 16th, 2017
- Migrating from server to cloud storage - THE BUSINESS TIMES - August 16th, 2017
- Film maker shuns cloud storage for Spectra Logic tape - ComputerWeekly.com - August 14th, 2017
- NetApp Has Better Storage Trends than Pure, Says Maxim - Barron's - August 14th, 2017
- Cloud Backup vs Local Backup Which Option Should I Choose To Protect My Data? - Fossbytes - August 14th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Works Better With Cloud Secure! - MustTech News - August 13th, 2017
- UPDATE -- Maxwell Health Reduces Cloud Storage Costs and Reduces Recovery Times with Datos IO RecoverX for ... - GlobeNewswire (press release) - August 12th, 2017
- Cloud Storage: Mature Saturation or Early Adopter Phase? | Hacked ... - Hacked - August 10th, 2017
- How To Have Cloud Storage and Backup For Life For Less - Daily Beast - August 10th, 2017
- Wasabi Technologies takes on Amazon S3 on price, performance - TechTarget - August 8th, 2017
- Here's one good reason to not rely on cloud storage - Business Insider Australia - August 6th, 2017
- Veritas Technologies Named a Leader in the 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Center Backup and Recovery ... - Markets Insider - August 6th, 2017
- Microsoft wants your cloud storage to sleep with the fishes, literally - Digital Trends - August 5th, 2017
- MEGA Privacy brings 50GB of free cloud storage space to Windows 10 - Windows Report - August 5th, 2017
- Team sets new record for magnetic tape storagemakes tape competitive for cloud storage - Phys.Org - August 3rd, 2017
- Attala Systems Announces Its High Performance Composable Storage Infrastructure Technology for Cloud and Analytics - PR Newswire (press release) - August 3rd, 2017
- Hybrid cloud technology gets the most out of primary storage workloads - TechTarget - August 2nd, 2017
- IBM and Sony breakthrough on tape storage density could lower cold storage costs again - GeekWire - August 2nd, 2017
- Mega's beta cloud storage app for Windows 10 now open to ... - Windows Central - August 1st, 2017
- Startup Morro Data launches CloudNAS services for SMBs - TechTarget - August 1st, 2017
- Morro Data Announces CloudNAS | StorageReview.com - Storage ... - StorageReview.com - August 1st, 2017
- IBM deprecates its first cloud storage platform - www.computing.co.uk - July 31st, 2017
- Senate Resurrects Cloud Storage Protections Bill | Broadcasting ... - Broadcasting & Cable - July 31st, 2017
- Geared up to make best use of cloud storage, AI: Naidu - The Hindu - July 31st, 2017
- Hybrid Cloud Gives Government Flexibility for Storage Needs [#Infographic] - FedTech Magazine - July 12th, 2017
- Scality Zenko.io brings hybrid cloud storage virtualisation - ComputerWeekly.com - July 12th, 2017
- Cloud Storage Privacy Policies: What It All Means - Cloudwards - July 12th, 2017
- Quantum to Present on Cloud Storage for Media Workflows at SMPTE17 in Sydney - Below the Line - July 12th, 2017
- Security lapse leaks data from millions of Verizon customers - KKTV 11 News - July 12th, 2017
- Why Cloud Backup Alone is Not Enough - Net Newsledger - July 10th, 2017
- Degoo Affordable Cloud Storage Solution | NewsWatch Review - NewsWatch - July 10th, 2017
- Maxthon Offers Free Cloud Storage Space And Cash Bonus For Its ... - PR Newswire (press release) - July 7th, 2017
- Microsoft Teams updated on iOS and Android with new cloud ... - OnMSFT (blog) - July 5th, 2017
- Storage the favourite use case for public cloud customers - ComputerWeekly.com - July 5th, 2017
- Clean up and protect your devices with 2TB of ultra-secure cloud storage only $59.99 - TNW - July 2nd, 2017
- Tintri up slightly after lowering IPO price - TechCrunch - July 1st, 2017
- Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Aren't the Only Cloud Innovators Around - Fortune - July 1st, 2017
- IBM DS8880 arrays lift mainframe archiving to the cloud - TechTarget (blog) - June 30th, 2017