Cloud Storage Software

This type of software helps users save data in the cloud, where it is accessible from various networks and at any point of time. Apart from file storage, such software also offers additional services such as synchronization, content management and file sharing. Cloud storage software helps businesses organize their data efficiently, and store it in a safe and secure fashion, where it can be accessed anytime. The ability to easily store and access data can be crucial for successful collaboration.  Read the full software guide...

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What is Cloud Storage Software?

Cloud storage software is a service that provides individual users, SMBs and organizations a unified repository for all types of data accessible through any internet-enabled computer or mobile device.

A cloud storage service allows you to store, manage, retrieve, sync and share corporate documents, media content, large files and other digital objects using any device with internet connectivity, such as your laptop computer, tablet or smartphone. The term “cloud” in this context refers to web-based servers where all kinds of information are shared, stored and secured.

Since data lives on the web instead of being stored in local file storage or hard drive, this makes them easily accessible anytime at any location where there’s internet service. This means you can access, share and even modify your documents, media content and corporate files from multiple devices.

Cloud services are designed to deliver a variety of functions other than a repository for you to store files in. More than a storage software solution, cloud storage solutions also serve as backup systems for your local hard drives. They make great disaster recovery solutions, giving you the ability to restore all-important corporate files and documents in case any of them is accidentally deleted or corrupted by malware.

Most cloud storage platforms offer tiered storage space, depending on the plan you purchase. The amount of storage offered can range from 5 gigabytes all the way to 500 gigabytes up to 1 terabyte. Some even have an unlimited storage option available for custom and/or enterprise plans. Cloud storage systems typically support different file types, including images/pictures, videos, audio files and of course text documents.

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Cloud Storage

Different types of Cloud Storage Software

There are several types of cloud storage software designed for rather distinct purposes. These systems are used by individuals for various reasons, some to manage and maintain personal files and documents while others utilize them for file sharing, syncing and backups. There are cloud services that seamlessly integrate with third-party applications to allow for easier and more efficient user experience.

There are three basic types of cloud storage: public, private and hybrid cloud computing. You need to know these three types in order to figure out which of them is the right fit for your file storage needs.

Public cloud storage

Public cloud storage is a type of cloud storage solution that typically requires minimal administrative controls. Data stored in a public cloud is accessible online by any individual with the proper authorization. The security level in public cloud services is decent and you don’t have to maintain the system quite as much as you would in the other cloud storage types on this list. This type of cloud storage also does not require rigid integration with regards to your business requirements.

Public cloud services are perhaps the most widely known and commonly used cloud computing solutions in the last several years, mainly because of the top three brands that have this kind of cloud storage service readily available: Google Drive, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

Private cloud storage

Private cloud storage systems are designed to serve as a dedicated cloud storage solution for a single business or organization. More often than not, this type of cloud storage software is custom built to meet the specific file storage and cloud computing requirements of the company. It also features more customer-specific security controls as compared to public cloud services.

This category of cloud storage service is ideal for businesses and organizations that operate under strict state and federal regulatory standards, such as healthcare providers, financial institutions, medical facilities, law firms, software developers and vendors, credit card processors and so on, for the simple fact that private cloud solutions provide more robust and industry-specific security controls.

Hybrid cloud storage

Hybrid cloud computing combines both public and private cloud solutions. Businesses that implement this form of cloud storage solution have the ability to customize the features available with the software. It also enables them to integrate key applications that meet their requirements as well as some of the resources that work for them the most.

Hybrid cloud services are more sophisticated because of the simple fact that the business using this kind of storage software has to have the ability to manage multiple platforms and figure out which data set is stored in which storage space. An example of a type of company that may use a hybrid cloud solution is one that needs to maintain confidential business data in a secure private cloud, but still wants to make sure customer-facing content is easily accessible on a public cloud.

How to choose Cloud Storage Software

Choosing the right cloud storage software largely depends on what you’re going to use it for. There are many different types of cloud services available out there and they are not all created equal. However, there are a few key considerations you can factor in to make that purchasing decision a lot less overwhelming and stressful.

Consider the type of buyer you are

This should be an obvious thing, but you’d be surprised to know a lot of buyers out there often forget about this rather basic point. The kind of buyer you are often dictates the type of cloud storage solution you end up purchasing. For instance, if you run a small business with a small number of employees, you might not need a private cloud or even a hybrid cloud solution. A decent public cloud storage service with a few good features and integration capabilities may just be the right choice for you and your organization.

Consider free vs. paid cloud services

There are a lot of cloud storage services with basic plans that are totally free. But these free plans typically come with a few limitations, with the most common one being the limited amount of storage capacity. You have to remember that with this kind of software service, storage space is the main commodity. So if you want unlimited storage, or perhaps upgrade your current storage capacity to the next tier, you’re going to have to pay.

This is an important factor to consider because if you’re not using that much storage space to sync and share documents, files and other company data, then you might not need to upgrade to a paid plan at all. You can stick to the free cloud storage service and still get all the benefits the storage software has to offer.

Consider the level of security

If you are in an organization that deals with a lot of confidential information, then a simple public cloud storage solution may not be the right option for you. Public cloud solutions provide some level of security, but they don’t hold a candle against private cloud services when it comes to security and confidentiality. If you and your company want to store files of a more sensitive and confidential matter in the cloud, a private cloud with custom security controls may be the better purchase for you, especially if you’re concerned with risk and compliance requirements.

Consider mobile support

Cloud storage solutions are designed to cater to different operating systems, such as Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Some only support one specific platform, while others are capable of supporting multiple systems. But conventional desktop/laptop computers are not the only devices that people use to access the internet nowadays, smartphones and tablets are more common and convenient for a lot of people when it comes to file sharing, syncing and storing large files and other content.

With that said, you also have to consider the mobile support offered by the cloud storage software, especially when it comes to Android and iOS devices. While Android has Google Drive and Apple has the iCloud serving as native cloud services, a cloud storage solution with mobile app support is something worth considering still.

Consider the features and tools

Storage space is not the only feature you should take into account when choosing a cloud storage service. There are other useful features you may want in your cloud storage solution, such as fast and easy file upload or perhaps a web browser extension so file sharing, syncing and storing are easier and more convenient. If you’re working with a team, some cloud storage systems do come with good collaboration features that you might find very helpful.

Benefits of Cloud Storage Software

One of the biggest benefits of using cloud storage software is the convenience it provides, especially when it comes to file sharing, syncing information in multiple devices and storing large files.

If you deal with large files, media, important documents and other content on a daily basis, cloud services can be a cost-efficient solution, especially if you have limited storage space in your local servers.

If you manage important company data and you want to ensure their safety and security by having an automatic backup system, a cloud storage service with the right features can serve as a reliable disaster recovery solution.

You can easily access your cloud-stored backups to retrieve any data you need, at any time, if and when critical documents get accidentally deleted or corrupted by viruses and malware in your premise-hosted servers.

Common Features of Cloud Storage

2-Factor Authentication Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.
API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Chat Live text chat with customers, website visitors, mobile contacts and others.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Document Comparison Compare and contrast different versions of documents and browse revision histories to consolidate collaborative changes.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
File Sharing Share files with colleagues, customers or other stakeholders for easier access across platforms, collaboration and/or version control.
File Transfer Transfer large files to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. This is often used for files too large to transfer via email and other conventional transmission methods.
History/Version Control Track revision history, file versions and other changing data, commonly used in collaborative applications.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Network Traffic Monitoring Monitor traffic within your network and with external sources.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Project Management Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.

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