The Internet is providing very powerful ways to store and send digital information. As our reliance on the Internet increases and digital files increase in size, online storage offers the perfect way to store and send large amounts of information, quickly and safely. With the launch of Google’s “Drive” solution, an online storage service that mimics the popular “Dropbox”, the evidence of the increasing popularity of online cloud based storage is clear. So why would a business invest or even move to cloud based storage?
Online storage principles
by Joel Bedford
Online storage is a new innovation, analogous to cloud computing in terms of scalability, where servers are used to store information, with cloud storage gateways, web or computer interfaces used to store and access the digital information. This is unlike normal computers which require internal storage devices, and instead of buying the hardware to store information locally, web based services are used to store the information, in a process known as “virtualisation”.
It might sound complicated, but it isn’t. It is essentially the same as the online storage method used to send emails across the Internet, but with online storage capable of storing much greater amounts of information. Service providers will usually offer lifetime storage capabilities up to certain limit for free, and will charge a relatively small amount for larger limits.
The usefulness of online storage
Online storage is useful because it allows users to store large amounts of information online, where it can be accessed from anywhere else with an Internet connection, including tablets and smart phones. For example, a student who needs to hand in an assignment which is too big to be an email attachment, can use online storage to send in the work. Someone looking to transfer files between computers is given better security than using USB sticks, which are so easily lost.
Online storage also offers an extra layer of protection from data loss when computers stop working. Online storage helps businesses by giving them a flexible and safe way of storing and transferring data between employees and clients, often with dedicated support and imbedded business applications. For SMEs, there’s a big advantage to online storage, in that it precludes the necessity of investing in IT infrastructure with extensive storage capacity and the associated costs.
Another advantage to using online storage solutions is the option of version control and back-up for sensitive documents. Many paid solutions offer the ability to “roll back” on documents thus giving you an option to revert back to a previous file if a current version become corrupted or unfavourably altered. Similarly the interface between one’s computer and storage solution means that document syncing is entirely possible and thus document uploading can be as seamless as clicking “save” on your current computer.
There are many online storage providers to choose from, such as Apple iCloud, Box, DropBox, Microsoft SkyDive and Google Drive, and each have their upsides and downsides.
For those looking to pay as little as possible, Microsoft SkyDive is the best, offering 7GB for free, 27GB for $0.83 per month, and 52GB for $2.08 per month. These are by far the best rates, and SkyDive also allows you to edit Office documents online using Office Web Apps.
Box has a company focus, and has many functions tailored to business that the others do not, such as setting expiration dates on shared files, but it is also the most expensive, charging $19.99 per month for 50GB. DropBox is the service to go for if you have lots of different platforms, with support for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, Windows and Blackberry, unmatched by other providers. DropBox offers the least amount of space (2GB) for free however, though offers 50GB for a reasonable $9.99 per month.
For those looking for online storage space in the Terabytes, Google Drive and Amazon S3 are the ones to consider. Which option is chosen, is based on how much storage is needed and ease of accessibility.
About the Article: This article has been written on behalf of De Vere Venues. All our London conference venues are equipped with free wifi & wired internet services ensuring you have access to all the web based services you require.