Cloud Storage vs. Local Storage: What’s the Right Choice for You?
If you haven't already made a choice between storing your company's data locally or in a data cloud, you may be wondering which path to take. Although this can be a hard decision for businesses, you can find some clarity by learning the pros and cons of these different types of data storage.
Advantages of Cloud Storage
To put it simply, a cloud storage system works by keeping your company's data secure in an off-site data center managed by cloud providers. You and your employees can then access this virtual cloud of data through an Internet connection.
Some business owners may balk at the recurring cost of hosting storage in a data cloud, but potential cost savings are actually one of the biggest benefits of going with cloud storage. Unlike with local storage, your company doesn't need to purchase large bulks of hardware in order to store your data. In addition, you won't have to pay for constant upkeep and maintenance of that storage hardware, either.
Another perk of cloud storage is the off-site flexibility it offers to your staff. Whereas local storage requires employees to be on-site in order to access the data they need to complete their work, cloud storage makes working from home or in any other off-site much more feasible.
A major driver for cloud storage is the billions of dollars poured into safeguarding the system, something most people can’t afford for local storage. They are jeopardizing all their clients if a breach were to happen. Most cloud storage systems already include data encryption both while data is in transit, and during storage.
Finally, cloud storage gives your company the peace of mind that comes with knowing your data is securely backed up and monitored by a team of data management experts around the clock.
But not everything can be stored in the Cloud
Of course, no system is perfect, and using cloud storage providers is no exception to that rule. As mentioned above, you and your staff can access a cloud storage system through an Internet connection.
Apart from the obvious lack of Internet access, any application that requires a database connection can’t live with the unpredictable latency that an internet connection provides. Some database application require a locally cabled network connection versus Wifi.
Many vendors claim to be in the cloud, but are really remote desktop or terminal server connections to a Windows session on a server. A good examples are most account programs are not truly cloud based. For that to happen, they have to be completely reprogrammed as a web application, like QuickBooks Online.
Advantages of Local Storage
While it may be seen as more "old school" than cloud storage, the local storage method of keeping data secure still has plenty to commend it.
For starters, local data storage has the potential to offer much faster speeds than cloud storage. Instead of being limited by the Internet speed afforded by your ISP, your team can see sustained transfer speeds that outpace the download and upload speeds of most ISPs.
This allows for many traditional line-of-business applications to function properly, without system delays.
But there are some drawbacks. Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of relying on local storage is the danger posed by on-site storage. Unless you have a dedicated employee or even an entire IT team that can maintain a high frequency of backups for your company's data, all while maintaining appropriate security protocols, you run the risk of having your data stolen, lost through device failure, or otherwise compromised.
Drawbacks of Local Storage
As mentioned above, for a huge company that is big enough to require a sizable on-site database in a large-scale room of physical storage servers, the up-front and ongoing hardware costs tend to weigh against using local storage.
Another drawback to consider is the built-in requirement that your employees need to be located on-site to access data in a typical on-premises storage type of setup. For employees on the road, working from home, or otherwise away from the office, this limits their data accessibility options.
Perhaps the greatest disadvantage of relying on local storage is the danger posed by on-site storage. Unless you have a dedicated employee or even an entire IT team that can maintain a high frequency of backups for your company's data, all while maintaining appropriate security protocols, you run the risk of having your data stolen, lost through device failure, or otherwise compromised.
Can you Live in a Hybrid World?
As you've no doubt figured out by now, cloud and local storage options balance each other out, with each data storage method having an advantage that covers the drawbacks of the other system, and vice versa. This contributes to the difficulty of choosing between the different types of storage.
Fortunately, the choice doesn't have to be a completely binary one. Many companies now utilize a hybrid storage model that takes strength from the positive aspects of both local and cloud storage while covering the disadvantages of each type of storage.
For example, you might store your most important or on-demand files locally (such as on long-term hard drive backups), allowing your employees quick and consistent access to their most important data. Meanwhile, other files can be stored in a cloud system, giving staffers greater flexibility for working off-site without running the risk of hinging your entire business on whether or not you always have reliable Internet.
While every type of company has different needs, you might consider pursuing a hybrid model for your own business so that you can experience the combined benefits of flexibility, cost savings, and data security that a combination of local and cloud storage provides.
Contact a Leading File Storage Provider to Schedule a Consultation
Whether your business is a small startup or a large organization, you need a data storage solution that is custom-designed for your team's needs. Taking advantage of the strengths of cloud storage, local storage, or both is a must for your company.
Contact us today for a consultation to see how our data storage solutions can save your organization money, decrease downtime and reduce your IT risk.
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