The cloud is efficiently supplanting more traditional forms of local storage. Corporations already store approximately 60% of their data online, while individuals turn to cloud storage providers for flexibility, 24/7 access, and ease of sharing.
To reap these benefits for yourself or your business, the first step is to choose the right cloud storage provider. Here are some important factors you should consider:
Data Protection Measures
All other factors become irrelevant if the provider can’t guarantee the safety of your files. Before committing, be sure to familiarize yourself with their encryption methods, data backup, and disaster recovery policies.
Additionally, when securing a clients records, you must consider the best options and not leave yourself vulnerable to any kind of data breach.
The best providers offer end-to-end encryption for files at rest and in transit. That ensures no one can decipher their contents, whether you’re moving or merely storing data. It’s even better if the provider adopts a zero-knowledge policy. Such a policy guarantees that the service doesn’t have access to or knowledge of the files you store with them.
Access management is another crucial layer of comprehensive data security. You should be able to designate files and folders as view-only and share them with select persons via a link. Secure cloud storage should have an interface to let you assign and change permissions and check who has access to what content.
Cloud Storage Pricing & Scalability
All worthwhile cloud storage companies offer free tiers so you can test their services. Some offer more free space than others, but all become much more generous once you opt for a paid plan. It’s best to assess your personal or business needs and compare them against the feature sets providers offer at different tiers.
You’ll usually get a better deal if you commit long-term, so consider annual plans when building your budget. Do you run a budding business that will likely need more storage down the line? Then, check whether the provider will be able to accommodate your long-term needs before committing.
Don’t forget to read the fine print when assessing various data plans. Hidden charges may apply if you exceed a set bandwidth or storage amount.
Integration & Collaboration
Streamlined data sharing is one of cloud storage’s core advantages. However, not all providers integrate well into the broader cloud computing ecosystem. Take stock of tools like CRMs, project management software, communication apps, etc., you or your company use.
Find out whether the prospective provider offers seamless integration with them and any tools you might need to incorporate into your future workflows. This includes other storage providers, as many people and businesses use more than one, indicated by the current cloud storage trends.
Syncing Devices In The Cloud
Straightforward access, regardless of device or location, is a mark of the best storage providers. On the one hand, that means your files are at hand whether you’re on PC or Mac, desktop or mobile. On the other, download speeds should be on par with your ISP’s for quick file transfers.
Syncing used to mean you had to keep copies of files in the cloud and on the device you wanted to use them on. Better cloud storage providers have moved on and offer selective syncing instead. They let you choose which files to keep updated locally. Others may still have shortcuts that reflect their updated status, but you can download them as needed.
The Providers User Interface (UI)
Cloud storage should feel like a natural extension of your local drive and folder setup. A clean, informative, and intuitive interface goes a long way toward achieving this. The UI must always have a clear folder structure and a visible storage space indicator.
Assigning permissions and sending links should be one-click affairs. Drag and drop is the norm for quickly sending files and folders online. You’ll also need a quick and accurate search since you’re potentially looking at terabytes of stored data. Lastly, the UI needs configurable notifications for sending and receiving files, approaching storage limits, and expiring payment periods.
You won’t discover how dependable a provider is until you hit a snag. Professional and prompt customer support is essential to resolving matters efficiently. It’s best to check the provider’s reputation and read customer reviews since you can’t experience customer support directly before signing up.
Another way is to contact support beforehand. If they’re quick to answer all your questions competently, you know you have a winner.
Choosing a cloud storage provider, prioritizing data protection, evaluating pricing structures, ensuring seamless integration, and paying attention to syncing capabilities, user experience, and customer support will provide a reliable and efficient storage solution tailored to your individual or business needs.