Cloud storage is an environment where digital data is stored in logical pools. It allows users to save data in an off-site location that is accessed through the internet or a private connection. Cloud storage approaches help businesses to securely save data, and can be accessed through multiple locations to creates on-demand access through any device. Cloud storage can be used to archive data that requires access but is not always used frequently; an example of this could be financial records. A cloud storage system can also specialize in storing specific types of data, including photos, audio files, and text documents. The cloud storage environment has multiple models and benefits, which are described below.
Types of Cloud Storage
Public Cloud Storage
A public cloud can be a popular option for businesses looking to store their data efficiently and quickly, because it can be accessed online by the user they provide access to. It is hosted by different providers, and is similar to tenants living in a big apartment building––the apartment building being the company, and the landlord being the service provider. Public cloud storage options are typically used for non-critical tasks, such as file sharing or application testing. This approach meets the collaborative needs of many organizations today, offering scalability and flexibility by helping businesses with management efforts. The cloud provider is responsible for managing the system. Public cloud storage offers scalable RAM, which creates flexible bandwidth and makes it easier for businesses to scale their storage needs. Public clouds also offer a pay-per-use model and can be used by different customers simultaneously, as this is a cost effective approach for many organizations.
Private Cloud Storage
This model operates by installing a data center and is privately hosted within a company’s own infrastructure. The approach offers an added layer of security and protection since all the services are only accessible to those in the organization. Private cloud storage is also scalable, with more customization and dedicated resources than public cloud storage, because it is single-tenant based. Through company firewalls and internal hosting, private cloud storage options ensure that data cannot be accessed by any third parties. Private cloud environments are especially helpful to industries that have strict compliance policies: companies in healthcare or within the government can feel more secure that their data is stored in a secure environment.
Hybrid Cloud Storage
A hybrid cloud option uses both cloud and on-premise resources, combining the qualities of a private and a public cloud. It is an integrated storage architecture and offers options that benefit businesses of all sizes and budgets. Businesses are offered the choice of how much data to store in which cloud setting. For example, they may need to use elements of a private cloud to store data that is confidential, while operating and still working within a public cloud for needs related to branding or marketing. The hybrid cloud storage model offers an organization the best of both worlds, and still has the scalable qualities that are described in both cloud storage options mentioned above.
Community Cloud Storage
Community cloud infrastructure allows multiple organizations to share resources based on common operational requirements. The purpose of the community cloud storage option is to offer organizations a modified form of a private cloud, where the needs of different organizations are taken into consideration when constructing the architecture and solutions offered are specific to an industry. It is a shared platform of resources for different businesses to work on their own shared personal goals. This model can also be described as an integrated setup that combines the benefits of multiple clouds to address the needs of a particular industry. Each user of the cloud is allocated a fixed amount of data storage and bandwidth. The community cloud environment is a great solution for growing organizations in the healthcare, education, and legal sectors.
Cloud storage saves data on redundant servers. Meaning, if the data collapses or gets lost in one cloud, it will be managed by the other servers. The data is protected by firewalls and through password access or authorization. Many cloud storage platforms also implement multifactor identification upon login. These programs verify a user more than once prior to giving them access to any data that may be confidential. An example of this would be verifying the user through multiple devices and syncing their phone number to their email address to confirm their identity. Additionally, there are also many customization options for added layers of security when working with cloud storage depending on the goals of a business.
With cloud storage, users are able to scale their storage based on the needs of the organization. If users are no longer accessing certain pieces of data, but a business has a large amount of storage, the amount of storage can be scaled down. In contrast, if more storage is required, there can also be updates made to accommodate this requirement. Additional space that is provided in the environment will have the same capabilities, so there is no need to migrate any data from one place to another.
Files are accessible from any device with an internet connection. For those in a remote work environment, there is no need to be on a work laptop to gain access to a specific file as it can all be accessed through the cloud. Cloud storage also offers the option of remote workers to share files with one another in real time.
Cloud storage is an affordable approach for organizations, because providers can distribute the costs of their infrastructure and services across many businesses. There is no requirement to purchase separate servers or any other associated network technology. The cost is also dependent on business needs. Therefore, organizations do not need to pay for storage that they aren’t using. Cloud storage approaches also take away the requirement of purchasing hard disks, electricity, and hardware warranty services. Cloud storage environments are equipped with monitoring options and reduce the need for extensive capacity approaches.
Cloud storage provides in-built capabilities that handle data repetition or redundancy. Cloud storage environments have multiple copies of data, which will allow organizations to prevent concerns of data loss. Users can also utilize geographic replication options, which help to make multiple copies of data across regions. This also helps with disaster recovery when data is lost as various copies are stored within the cloud.