Eventually, your small business will need more storage space. Digital data – including photos, documents, emails, graphics, audio files, videos, spreadsheets, and databases – are the foundation of most modern-day companies.
What’s more, the need for increased capacity extends beyond data storage. A number of additional factors are impacting businesses hunger for space:
- More sophisticated malware demands more sophisticated security software, which, in turn, requires more storage space.
- The latest operating systems need more hard-drive space than past versions.
- Some business may be subject to new government regulations that require businesses to keep records that may have otherwise been deleted.
- For legal reasons, some businesses are choosing to archive email communications dating back five years or more.
- Advances in technology have made out media files – audio, video, and images – much bigger than they were in the past.
With all that in mind, it’s essential that your small business invests in a storage solution that meets current – and future – data needs. Luckily, there are several options available, and often, a combination of different solutions creates the most secure, scalable storage strategy.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the various storage solutions on the market today. But first, let’s take a look at a number of key considerations you should make before deciding. Let’s get started.
Your businesses storage requirements
The first step in acquiring a successful storage solution is assessing your storage needs. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Who needs to access your business’s data? How many people need access?
- Do you and your team need remote access to all of your data?
- Which applications create the largest number of files?
- How old is your data? How much of it is duplicate or redundant?
- How much of your data is not business-related?
- How quickly do you need to access your data?
- How much is your data expected to grow over the next five years? Are you planning to expand your operations and/or team?
Small business data storage solutions
Small businesses have more storage options than ever before. From the physical to the cloud-based and everything in between, you’re sure to discover a solution that meets your unique needs.
Here’s an overview of the most popular storage solutions for business.
External hard drives
Easy to use and inexpensive, the external hard drive is a favourite among both personal and business users. That being said, they do have a few key disadvantages:
- Hard drives do not offer remote access. If you need files on-the-go, you’ll need to bring the hard drive with you, or copy the files to your computer or a separate USB thumb drive.
- Hard drives don’t allow for easy collaboration. Only one user can access the files at any one time.
- If your hard drive becomes lost or stolen and you haven’t backed up the files anywhere else, they are most likely gone for good.
We don’t recommend using an external hard drive as your sole storage solution. Instead, you might like to use hard drives as a secondary back-up for select files.
Online or cloud storage
Online and cloud storage are the same things – instead of owning a physical hard drive, your data is stored on private, remote, third-party servers. These servers are accessed via the internet, giving you worldwide, 24/7 access to your files.
Another benefit of cloud storage is it facilitates easy file sharing and collaboration. You can send large files to clients or other staff members, and multiple people can work on the same files at one time.
Online storage is also very reliable. Cloud storage providers take security seriously, and usually have your data stored on multiple, geographically separate servers. This ensures no downtime and very little risk of your files becomes lost or damaged due to a natural disaster.
The one significant disadvantage of cloud storage is speed. If your internet connection is slow or unreliable, backing up and access files can be time-consuming. And, if you are travelling and don’t have Wi-Fi, you cannot retrieve your data. For help with your wifi setup, get in contact with us today.
Network-attached storage (NAS)
Network-attached storage (NAS) devices take the best aspects of both internal storage solutions and cloud storage services.
Put simply, NAS devices are hard drives connected to a network. Unlike hard drives, they can be accessed by multiple users. And, in contrast to cloud storage services, you don’t need to share your data with large companies or pay ongoing subscription fees.
Here are a few other benefits:
- NAS systems offer redundancy using RAID technology. This protects your data in the event one of the NAS’s hard drives fail by storing your backups on multiple hard drives.
- Files stored on NAS devices can also be accessed remotely via the internet.
- Backup is fast. NAS devices connect to your office network, so are not limited by your internet connection speed.
- NAS systems are flexible. You can easily and cheaply increase the storage capacity to meet the future needs of your business.
Combining storage solutions
There is no one-size-fits-all storage solution. While we do encourage businesses to opt for NAS storage systems, combining multiple types of storage options can yield a secure, functional, and scalable storage strategy.
Get professional advice
If you’re not sure how to devise a storage solution that protects your business data and allows for team collaboration, get in contact and we can help you with all of your small business IT support needs. We can help you plan a storage strategy that’s fast, secure, and reliable. Call our technicians on 1300 553 166, or fill out the form on this page, and we’ll be in touch soon.
Cloud storage image Blue Coat Photos