The ability to effectively track, store, transfer, and create data is vital to the success of any business, and in the 21st century, much of that data is digital. Computers, tablets, and cellphones now act as portable filing cabinets, allowing business owners the freedom to do more, wherever they happen to be.
But even with all the conveniences of digitized data, you still need a place to store it. In the past, a person could only store as much data as their device’s hard drives would allow. Increased storage capacity and external hard drives gave a person more to work with, but that data could still only be accessed through that device.
Enter Cloud Storage
Cloud storage takes data off-site, meaning that it is not restricted to any one physical device. So, instead of having to access data on a hard drive, you can get it through the Internet. This way the same data can be retrieved on any device with Internet connectivity, allowing you to more easily share data with your own and other people’s devices.
Cloud storage is also incredibly handy for creating backups. For instance, if a person’s file or entire computer becomes corrupted, but they remembered to save it to the cloud, they have the peace of mind that their data is not lost for good. For businesses that rely on mountains of digital information, cloud storage is a highly suitable tool for safeguarding data.
With the flexibility cloud storage has to offer, businesses can freely pass and access information without any trouble, allowing them to operate more efficiently with fewer constraints.
How Does Cloud Storage Work?
There are many different cloud storage companies out there, some only dealing with very specific types of storage. Some focus on e-mail storage while others deal strictly with digital pictures. Larger companies will store all kinds of data.
Whatever a company’s primary storage focus is, they all generally operate the same. They house data servers that connect to the Internet in what are called data centers. A person who subscribes to the company’s service will send copies of files to their servers via the Internet where they can then be recorded.
Once the file has been saved to the server, anyone with permitted access to the file can retrieve it by using a Web-based interface, such as an Internet browser. The file can also be manipulated while it’s on the server.
Data centers typically rely on hundreds of servers to store information. The reason why companies need so many servers is because of something called redundancy.
Computers and servers need regular maintenance and repair. Due to this fact, one server may need to be temporarily shut down for it to be worked on. If a client’s data is stored on a server that is not turned on, they are not going to be happy when they can’t access their data.
To deal with this problem, copies of every client’s files are created and stored on multiple servers. This way if a server is down for maintenance, the client won’t be inconvenienced by not being able to access their files. Without redundancy, cloud companies could not guarantee clients that their data will always be readily accessible.
Entrusting your data with another company can make some people nervous, and rightly so. Your business counts on that information being there when you need it. A cloud storage company that can’t keep its clients’ information protected is not going to stick around for long.
To put clients at ease, cloud storage companies use a combination of techniques to secure information.
- Encryption uses a complex algorithm to encode information. This means that without an encryption key, users cannot read the encoded file.
- Authentication keeps a client’s information protected behind a username and password, just like any other online account.
- Authorization allows clients to restrict access to their account to select users. Users can also be given levels of authorization to keep certain files off limits and others openly accessible.
Still, even with these security measures in place, there is always a chance that a hacker could gain access to stored files. However, the odds of this happening are very small. Cloud storage companies work day and night to keep your data safe and available. If they couldn’t do that, then they wouldn’t be as widely used as they are.