Choosing Cloud or Traditional Storage

Posted on July 01, 2014 by Adam Burnham

By Paul Diamond

We’ve been talking in this space a bit about archiving, storage and the cloud – and it came to our attention that it might be a good idea to take a look at the reasons why companies should consider cloud storage – and some of the situations where traditional storage solutions might be the correct fit after all.

At a high-level, the statement to remember is that it’s not a “one size fits all” sort of world out there. Each company’s needs are different, and sometimes there are varying needs within a company or even a specific business unit.

There are many reasons why cloud storage might be the right fit:

  • Easy expansion – as a growing company with rapid expansion on its mind, using the cloud as the storage method for your data makes sense. You can add additional storage as you need it, without having hardware costs added on. It can be nimble and grow with you.
  • Elimination of maintenance – another reason to look to the cloud is that you won’t be responsible for the maintenance or upkeep of the storage equipment. When you’re a small company, not having to add additional staff on the operations side – or to have to make one of your key employees manage storage and IT in addition to his/her other roles – can be a tremendous advantage.
  • Accessibility – your critical data can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. You can get the information you need on your terms.
  • Protection – with cloud storage, your critical information is protected and backed up. If you lose your own equipment and hardware, you still have your information and can get your data back.
  • Size – How much data do you need to store? For overwhelming amounts of data you’d need a great deal of hardware, capacity and employees to manage it. The cloud can give you the space and storage you need without having to purchase the equivalent of your own data center.

On the other hand, there are also some instances where traditional storage can be a benefit to you:

  • Regulatory Compliance – know what data you’re storing and what regulations need to be complied with. For some organizations –especially those in the healthcare and financial services industries – the cloud may not be considered secure enough for the regulations and rules you need to comply with.
  • Expenses and Hidden Costs – this is the biggest issue with cloud storage – there are a lot of hidden costs that can enter into the equation, especially if the data stored needs to be accessed often. In fact, a good rule of thumb can be that cloud storage is cheaper for data that is not often accessed.
  • Transition Issues – despite what it advertised, in the real world service providers go out of business, and are often bought and sold. While this type of FUD shouldn’t be a reason not to explore the cloud, it should stand as a reminder to do your homework and see who exactly you’re trusting your information to.
  • Usage – As we alluded to above, in some instances there is data that you need to access every day. For small businesses it may simply be more cost effective to use traditional storage to capture and hold this data.

The most important thing you can do when evaluating your storage needs is to take a careful approach. Is speed necessary? How much of your data needs to be accessed on a regular basis – and when? Or is cost the most critical factor to keep in mind?

Regardless of what the most important factor is to you and your organization – the message here is to understand what that factor is and work from there. Don’t make a decision before you examine what your company really needs – one way or the other, you will soon realize that either cloud, traditional or a combination of storage types can be the right fit for your company.