Cloud Storage Solutions
Cloud storage, the storage solution that allows you to access your data from anywhere, at any time. It is decentralized in the fact that you are not relying on a single server or two at your head office that handles all storage, but it is also centralized to the extent that you as a user have all your data in one place and can account for it all and access it all anywhere anytime. The advantages of cloud storage are an abundance and will be discussed later in this overview.
Standard (legacy) Storage solutions
Standard storage solutions or self-hosted solutions have many disadvantages that cloud storage solutions eliminate. Some of these disadvantages are:
- Firewall policies, depending on who manages your network could determine how long it takes for a firewall policy to change and with that a cost for a simple change. Another issue with changing firewall rules is one rule can alter how your network behaves and could open vulnerabilities.
- Server, hosting a server is not only time consuming, especially with the initial setup and configuring of packages. But hosting physical servers costs money with power, upkeep and upgrading the silicon. Other costs that are related are the likes of system cooling and security. With a physical server you must maintain updates and spend time troubleshooting issues should they arise, sometimes having to remote in and restart services or check in on space. Time could be utilized elsewhere instead of monitoring such systems.
- Accessibility, accessing physical servers can prove difficult if you are working remotely. You need VPNs configured or depending on your network topology, routing and NAT policies changed at the WAN level to access such devices. Which once again costs money for changes and time, also a loss of visibility.
- Future-proofing, with the world of big data and the way cloud computing and SaaS models, are becoming more common. The need to increase hardware whether this is CPU, RAM or storage space is becoming apparent and with that can become costly and be a reoccurring expense that can be mitigated through a SaaS or IaaS solution such as cloud storage.
Types of Cloud Storage
Cloud storage can be defined under different types:
- Private Cloud
- The system is implemented for one person or company and has been designed to be specific to the needs of the end-users. They can be hosted on-premises or externally in a data center, often traversing a company’s WAN and access often or not require VPN if you are working remotely.
- Public Cloud
- A system that is accessed online, via the internet, from anywhere and can be accessed by anyone who has been approved by the administrator. The public cloud requires less administrative overhead as it is often managed by a storage provider and due to the number of users that use this system security will be up to date and managed as a high investment for the storage company.
- Hybrid Cloud
- Combination of the above. Important sensitive data can be kept on the private cloud and the other data can be stored on the public cloud and accessed by those who need to access it remotely. Applications and resources can be customized to cater to the needs of the end-users and the company.
Cloud Storage Providers
- Amazon SW3
Advantages of Cloud Storage
- Ability to integrate with operating systems, you can change the location of your default user folders to point to folders on the cloud. When you save your files to a folder it automatically syncs with your cloud and is storage not only locally, but also remotely. Any changes you make also move to the cloud.
- Backups made easy, due to the above and other features you can enable. Because cloud solutions integrate with many operating systems, most day to day files can be backed up as they are worked on and with additional tweaking, any file system or application can backup to the cloud storage solution. Gone are the days of needing to plug in an external USB and back up to it every night before you leave for the day.
- Restoration is just as easy when you have been backing up to the cloud. All you need to do when restoring a user’s computer is select the folders you want to restore and then before you know it the files have been pulled down and everything is where you left it.
- Accessibility, files from the cloud can be accessed anywhere and on multiple devices. Changes made on another host will be replicated to the cloud, then when you go back to your computer you will find the updated files ready for you to work on.
- File sharing, you can send anyone a link to a specific folder or file within your cloud storage. You can also specify read/write or just read access. Once the user has finished working on the document you can easily remove their permissions.
- Cost savings, as the systems are managed and maintained elsewhere you are not paying for power, staff to maintain and to add more storage as required.
- Scalability, due to the size of the providers, they adapt and can add storage space as required, a lot cheaper than having to purchase infrastructure yourself.
- Security, due to the nature and size of these providers. It is in their best interest to ensure not only your data is secure but also all their other customers. They have dedicated security teams who manage and maintain their systems. Additionally, these solutions apply multiple layers of security and have it down to a fine art.
Couchdrop and the Cloud
Couchdrop allows you to transfer files from any system, so long as it has an internet connection, to your chosen endpoint solution. For the small price of a coffee, you get the ability to transfer anywhere, anytime and you can avoid paying pesky fees for network and infrastructure changes.
Going off the above, choosing cloud storage is clear cut and is something that should be heavily considered. There may be teething issues, as per most IT migrations. However, in the long term, it is a feasible solution. A lot more integrations are coming to the Cloud environment and with APIs it only makes sense. It is a secure platform and is only becoming more optimized and improving day by day as more users take these solutions onboard.