Data has been steadily migrating to the cloud for the better part of the past decade as organisations looked to reduce infrastructure investments, improve business resilience, and support the transition to increasingly mobile and distributed workforces. The pandemic has only accelerated that trend. Cloud storage was instrumental in the sudden transition to remote work in 2020, allowing employees to access files, manage documents and collaborate efficiently from any location. More than half of all corporate data now resides in the cloud, and analysts expect that share to increase rapidly in the near term. Fortune Business Insights predicts the cloud storage market will be worth nearly $400 billion by 2028 — better than six times its 2020 value.
Storage costs compel most organisations to at least consider a cloud storage option. Cloud storage platforms allow organisations to offload costs and management burdens that come with supporting physical hardware. Some industry studies claim that once all the costs are included, in-house storage is at least five times more expensive to own and run per gigabyte than cloud storage. However, you may be disappointed if cost reduction is your primary goal. Under some circumstances, cloud storage costs can spiral out of control. Although moving data into a public cloud involves minimal costs, retrieving that data can result in unexpected egress fees. Adding capacity and extending retention timelines can also drive up costs.
Still, the cloud offers undeniable benefits — particularly for enterprise organisations with highly distributed workforces and multi-terabyte storage requirements. These benefits include:
Files in the cloud can be accessed from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. That is a business imperative now that people are working from different locations, including headquarters, remote offices, home offices, or in the field.
Cloud storage provides a centralised system for sharing files with colleagues and ensuring files are synchronised across all access points. When multiple coworkers are making changes to the same documents and projects simultaneously, syncing ensures that all edits and changes are incorporated into a single version.
Adding on-premises storage capacity is a complicated and time-consuming process requiring organisations to buy, install, configure and manage additional hardware. With elastic cloud storage, you can allocate virtually unlimited storage capacity to address changing business requirements almost immediately. This is a particularly useful feature for large-scale research and development projects.
Data in the cloud can be orchestrated and synchronised across multiple locations, which is crucial for conducting analytics. For example, data generated from transactional on-premises workloads can be extracted and synchronised to another location for analysis.
Cloud storage makes it easier for organisations to adopt the “3-2-1” data protection strategy that is widely considered to be an industry best practice. This approach calls for you to make three separate copies of data, store two of them on different types of media, with one located at an offsite location. The cloud provides an affordable alternative to traditional offsite storage, eliminating the cost and complexity of building or maintaining a separate physical facility.
The ability to quickly restore data is critical to business resilience, particularly with the increased incidence of ransomware attacks. Cloud storage helps ensure the redundancy you need to resume operations following an attack or incident that compromises your original data. In most cases, you can simply redirect users to the cloud data source, reducing downtime from hours or days to just a few minutes.
Although the pandemic created an enormous strain on most companies, it also illustrated the critical nature of cloud services. Cloud storage not only ensures business resilience but helps employees remain productive from almost any location — a fact that will drive new business strategies for years to come.