Take the marketing hype at face value and you’d be forgiven for thinking that Cloud Data Storage is the “magic solution” for all your data needs. So how much of this is true?A startup looking to build its infrastructure from scratch or a larger company with an increasingly mobile workforce are just two of the types of business for whom the Cloud might have considerable advantages. But what if your existing on-site provision has served you well so far and you just need an extra boost in capacity? As for your clients, why needlessly provoke security concerns by shifting data off-site if the current way of doing things has worked so far?The decision-making process should involve looking at your objectives. To illustrate this, here are some examples where “staying put” might be the most sensible option.
You require a limited boost in storage capacity
You are approaching the limits of your current capacity. Although your client base is growing, the nature of your business is such that you do not anticipate a substantial increase in the volume of data requiring storage.
Your storage and backup needs might be met through modifications to existing infrastructure rather than a move to the Cloud. It could mean an investment in higher capacity servers. Alternatively, through virtualisation, it becomes possible to reconfigure existing servers to extend their power and memory capacity.
Is the investment involved in this worth it? There’s the initial outlay to consider, in addition to energy consumption, storage and maintenance. If moving to the next level of on-site storage is going to mean a considerable step up in upkeep costs, a Cloud solution starts to make more sense.
You have a static workforce
All your work is carried out on-site. There is no clear business reason for staff to be able to access sensitive data remotely, and accessing critical business and customer data can at present be done quickly - without the need for an internet connection.
One of the benefits of Cloud-hosted data is the increased ability of staff to access it from connected devices - whatever the geographic location. However, not all businesses desire or require this mobile or remote working capability. If you fall into this camp, then the business case for the Cloud becomes less strong.
Client attitudes to moving data off-site
You have identified that a Cloud-based storage solution could help to reduce your IT spend and could facilitate more flexible ways of working. The sticking point however, relates to clients. You are concerned that any announcement that you are moving sensitive data off-site will result in nervousness. What’s more, you cannot afford to have to deal with the reputational implications of a major security breach.
With recent data from the Federation of Small Business highlighting the fact that two thirds of SMEs have been the victim of cyber crime, fears about data security are valid. However it’s not the case that the Cloud is a less secure environment than an on-site storage infrastructure. In fact, providing you choose the right provider, the resources and measures deployed by a public cloud solution can be far more robust than what you are capable of putting in place in-house.
If security concerns are the sole business reason for keeping data on-site, it may be worth re-evaluating your attitude and current client sentiment.
Side by side, it’s not the case that one method of data storage is inherently better than the other. The approach should be to assess your upcoming requirements and consider which method (or combination of methods) will best help you to meet them.
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