Data storage is a vital part of the modern world and is used by almost everyone, from storing precious memories to large corporations to storing and securing mission-critical information about their operations.
However, due to this popularity, many cloud storage solutions are available on the market, and selecting the right one for your business is far more challenging than finding one subtle for personal use. Nonetheless, with some forethought and reflection on your requirements, identifying a suitable provider shouldn’t be too difficult.
Assess Your Data Storage Needs
Identifying your data storage requirements is a critical step in finding the right cloud storage provider that fits your requirements. You should first ask yourself how much data you need to store and how sensitive it is.
Depending on your answers to those questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of providers who you believe fulfill your needs. For instance, if you need backup solutions with collaborative features, you may need to search for a full-service cloud solution. Conversely, if you merely need to back up your data and only retrieve it when necessary, there will be options that are more affordable but won’t offer the same level of features.
You should also consider any existing logistical constraints or plans already in place. For example, if your company already uses specific software or services for other operations, see if there’s a way to integrate them into your desired provider.
Compare Service Level Agreements Of Cloud Storage Providers
One of the most crucial steps before signing any contract is to examine and compare different service-level agreements (SLAs) from various providers.
Not all cloud storage has the same performance guarantees and requirements, so the best way to ensure that the service you select meets your needs is to read through their SLAs thoroughly. Each provider will offer different levels of commitments related to:
- Data integrity (more on that in the next section)
- Availability and service response time
Understanding these commitments ahead of time ensures you get what you need when you need it. Moreover, even if two providers appear to offer the same features on the surface, taking a closer look at their respective SLAs can reveal differences that may influence your decision.
Understand Your Security Requirements
Cloud storage offers an incredibly convenient way to store and share data, but you need to ensure the provider is storing your data securely.
As such, you should understand what data security protocols are in place and if they meet any industry standards or certifications (such as HIPAA or PCI compliance). You should also consider who can access your information, both internally and externally, and how you will manage this access.
This can involve creating passwords or other authentication steps like two-factor authentication or developing user roles for each team member to compartmentalize things and keep everyone on a need-to-know basis.
Consider The User Interface And Usability Of The Product
When it comes to selecting the right cloud storage, you should consider both the user interface and the usability of the product. The user interface is critical as it determines how easy or difficult it will be for teams and individuals to access their data.
Usability is another key factor as it measures how quickly users can complete tasks such as uploads and downloads, setting permissions, and more. Moreover, consider if there is a mobile application and, if so, how user-friendly it is.
If your team is remote or on the go a lot, having a solid mobile experience can help them access data wherever they have a connection.
Analyze The Scalability Of The Service
Spending a fortune on a high-end cloud service may not be possible or desirable for a small business. Nonetheless, switching providers down the line can be a real hassle…so what can you do?
When choosing a cloud solution, scalability is a crucial factor to consider. You want to make sure you can choose a solution that can grow with your company. As you add new customers and employees, the storage should be able to handle the load without crashing or slowing down.
Most cloud services tend to offer a range of options for business, so it’s worthwhile spending some time checking different providers and their plans.
Consider The Technical Support Offered
No matter how high-end you go, if something can go wrong, it will… that’s the way of the world! Even if the issue isn’t with the provider, you or your team can make mistakes or simply not understand how to achieve a particular task.
Consequently, you should ensure your chosen solution has a range of options for dealing with issues, from a knowledge base you can dip into as needed, to email, phone support, and live chat available 24/7.
Choosing a cloud provider might seem straightforward, but on closer inspection, numerous factors go into making the correct selection.
Hopefully, the points laid out here will assist you in finding one suitable for your current needs but also has room for growth as you scale up operations.