Digital data storage is central to the way that modern businesses organize information. Long gone are the days of paper files and huge filing cabinets. In their place: USB-powered hard drives, tiny thumb drives and CDs. These devices are not only smaller than traditional paper-based storage, they also cram much more data into that space.
However, recent technical advances in security protocols, Internet speeds and server technology have come together to produce a new data storage alternative that has the potential to revolutionize how businesses organize their data yet again.
Server-based data storage is becoming a popular alternative to even top-of-the-line data storage devices because it does away with the physical storage medium altogether. Termed “storage in the cloud” by the technology’s proponents, server-based data storage has one undeniable advantage over traditional digital data storage technologies: it stores data remotely. Still, thunderbolt hard drive storage remains a popular and reliable source of digital information storage.
Cloud-based data storage companies offer clients access to banks of highly secure, temperature and humidity controlled hard drive real estate. Many companies offer clients up to 5 gigabytes of free storage, and then charge a monthly fee beyond that.
Entrusting critical data to a remote facility and what is likely to be a new company may not be an immediate sell for all people, but it does remove a stumbling block in that many companies fail to properly back up their data in the first place. Hard drives can fail, thumb drives are easy to lose and CDs are easy to damage.
Cloud-based storage companies end this problem because they back up any data uploaded to them. To retrieve data, a customer simply logs in to a web portal or software client and specifies the files that they need to download.
Still, the major advantage of cloud-based storage may not be enough to win over all business people. Consider, for instance, that a person’s ability to download their data is totally reliant on the quality of their Internet connection. A slow connection could equate to hours downloading data, whereas a local hard drive could transfer hundreds of megabytes of data to a new computer per second.
At the end of the day, the decision to migrate to cloud-based storage should depend on the speed and reliability of the available Internet connection and the level of security required. Each technology has distinct advantages over the other, and neither can offer a complete solution. Businesses can, however, profit from employing both technologies where appropriate. Many cloud-based digital storage services are extremely economical, and may be suitable for storing all but the most sensitive data.