May 14 2012

Cloud Storage Options Pros And Cons

Posted on the 08:00 am under Cloud Computing,Productivity by Darren Boyer

Consumers are the beneficiary of slick now online storage tools that allow a user to store data on the internet and access it from several devices.  For example, data stored on Dropbox or SkyDrive can be accessed from iPhones or iPads or Android phones (with a 3rd party application) as well as PC’s.

Using these file sharing services are very convenient in the business world when working with very small businesses or independent contractors.  Need to share a graphic design and control versioning?  One of these tools handle the job nicely.  Need to store a lot of data that can really slow down email transmissions?  An online storage tool that syncs to a folder on your desktop can be very helpful.

Avoid Using Online Tools For Certain Applications

With the business model for many online services focusing on traffic generation and potential advertising possibilities or small subscription fees the service provider hopes to make up the costs of the business in sales volume.  Anyone responsible for IT management needs to keep this information in mind when evaluating how and when these services can be used.  The reason the provider’s business model is important is because it will reflect how secure your data really is.

For example, what if one of these online services has a small outage and a backup fails?  Is there any way to get someone on the phone at Google and explain that these are all the family photos and the collection would be worth several hundred dollars to you if it could be restored?  Not a chance.  The business model rely’s on volume and if a few hundred or a few thousand people end up with corrupted or lost data – ‘oh well’.  There are still hundreds of thousands of other users worldwide that are using the site and your loss of traffic to that site won’t mean a ham sandwich to the site owners.

One other risk comes from sharing.  Share data with another user and they can often share it with anyone and everyone.  This means you no longer have control over the documents that are stored even if they are stored in your personal sharing location.

My recommendation is to use these services if they are helpful but don’t store anything that would cost you money or grief if it was lost or corrupted.  Some examples of usage scenarios are letter templates, business related pictures, marketing material, or any data that isn’t critical to the business or your network’s security.  Organizations with several users (5+) will likely find that an internal storage system like a server or Network Attached Storage device is a much quicker and secure service that offers the same functionality or more than any of the leading services today.

Reading through the reviews of various services it seems like Dropbox or SkyDrive are the most respected.  I have used both Dropbox, SkyDrive as well as box.com’s services.  In fact, on my current PC all three are installed as various contacts prefer one service over the other.

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

Related Posts: