A technical term that we often hear questions about is “cloud storage.” Generally, it’s understood as a service that requires no onsite hardware and can be accessed over the internet. Beyond that, we get a lot of questions that enter technical territory but point toward a desire to know the actual benefits versus the hype.
Like many technologies, cloud storage can be considered a tool—one of many tools that can help cities reduce risk, save money, and become more productive. For us, cloud storage is an excellent tool as part of a data backup and disaster recovery strategy.
In case this is a term that makes you curious, sounds magical, or applies to a solution you’re actively investigating, we’re providing some benefits in this post about cloud storage that will help you in your research and evaluation.
1. Cloud storage is great for housing offsite data backups.
Every data backup and disaster recovery strategy needs two components: onsite and offsite. An onsite component helps you recover quickly from a small event like accidental file deletion. But something like a natural disaster (or even a ransomware outbreak) requires a robust secure offsite component, and that is where cloud storage works well.
We’ve written before about versions of “offsite” data backup that fall short compared to something like cloud storage, such as:
- A city storing its data backups “offsite” at the fire station down the street.
- A city storing its data backups “offsite” on a flash drive at the mayor’s house.
- A city’s IT provider storing its backups at their house.
- A city storing its data backups at a building about six miles away from City Hall.
Cloud storage literally stores your data far offsite. If a disaster hits your city, your data is safe.
2. Cloud storage data centers secure and maintain your data better than you can.
Yes, a bold statement. But likely true in all cases. Cloud storage data centers operate at a scale where it’s nearly impossible for them to fail. That’s because they are able to home in on several things that would be a struggle for your city if you maintained your own hardware:
- Security: Cloud storage data centers continually invest in the highest security measures and best practices that include ensuring only authorized access to data, reducing the risk of human error leading to data loss, and using up-to-date, modern technology and software.
- Updates and upgrades: Updates and upgrades to cloud storage software are continuous and implemented in real-time, meaning that tasks such as patching are automatically applied without cities having to think about it.
- Reliable and available: Because of redundant layered systems and failsafes, your information remains available and meets high uptime requirements.
3. Cloud storage stores your data in geographically diverse locations with lots of redundancy.
One reason cloud computing has become so reliable is that even a natural disaster or malfunction at one or more data centers won’t lead to data loss. Cloud storage data centers store your data across so many devices and places that a hit to one data center won’t destroy your data. Again, this is an excellent benefit when considering offsite data backup for disaster recovery.
4. Cloud storage scales so that you don’t compromise data backup based on costs and storage caps.
Traditionally, cities have struggled to find the right budget and solution for data backup because they would have to hedge their bets. Do you pay for a lot of offsite data storage that you might not use? Or do you pay for less and hope that you won’t hit your storage cap? We’ve seen many cities that took the budget-conscious approach face storage cap issues such as not backing up all critical data or scrambling to find budget late in the year to increase storage.
Cloud storage works on the model of giving you exactly what you need—whether you scale storage up or down. This allows you to pay only for what you use and scale your storage up when you need more room. Otherwise, you are forced to make bad decisions such as not backing up critical data because it’s not part of your rigid offsite storage solution—which risks permanent data loss.
5. Cloud storage works well with your compliance needs.
Cities must comply with many laws and regulations pertaining to records retention, public safety, and financial information. If cities manage their own storage, it’s more likely that compliance-related mistakes can occur that lead to costly financial and legal repercussions.
By contrast, cloud storage data centers must work across industries to comply with strict laws and regulations related to financial services, healthcare, and government. They have policies, procedures, processes, and best practices already in place that can map to your compliance needs. In addition, you may want to explore nuanced cloud solutions depending on your data needs or policy requirements.
As a result, you may consider options that include:
- Public cloud storage: Stored on secure servers that may contain data and applications from other customers.
- Private cloud storage: Stored on secure servers dedicated to your data only.
Whatever solution works best, you’re aiming for something that keeps your offsite data backups safe, secure, and compliant.
Cloud storage works as a great tool to help cities safely, securely, and compliantly store data offsite. Additional benefits include quick deployment, anytime/anywhere access to data, and adaptability to your city’s changing needs.
Questions about cloud storage and solutions related to your offsite data backup? Reach out to us today.
Original Date: 1/16/2019