Securing Your Computers Data In The Cloud

Cloud Backup and Storage Options for Businesses.

A large amount of businesses have already converted, or are looking to convert, to cloud storage for backup or file sharing. This essentially involves outsourcing some of your storage requirements to a provider and is especially useful when enabling flexible working for your staff. Employees, partners and even clients can be provided with rights to access your data stored on the cloud and so can access that data from anywhere.

There are three key points that you will want to assess when choosing your cloud storage option: Space, Security and Cost. Different services offer different balances between the three, so it will come down to which is the best fit for your company, or perhaps you will want to create a mix of different services to create your own unique balance.

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So with this in mind, here is the low-down on your cloud storage options:

Personal Use

If you are an Apple user, you might be interested to know that Apple has recently released their iCloud service. Already installed on any new Apple device, the iCloud automatically backs-up your content, emails, contacts etc. to your 5GB of free cloud storage. This will come in very useful for those moments when you’ve lost your phone yet still need access to a contact or for when you accidentally step on your iPad and need that document you were working on.

With a highly-secure 128-bit encryption of all your data, the iCloud is a great backup option for the mobile professional and it also allows you to store any other content you like as well, acting as a complete cloud storage option. However, given its limited sharing potential, the iCloud is really only suited for personal use.

Cloud for Backup

If you are not an Apple user (and don’t plan to be) there are still various options for simple cloud backup. Norton’s Cloud Backup will automatically sync your files and folders from up to 5 PCs, tablets, laptops or mobile devices providing a backup of all your files. Their encryption is government grade, so you can be safe in the knowledge that your data is secure.

Small Group Use

If you are looking for a cloud storage option which allows you to share data within a team then you will, at some point, find yourself investigating the likes of DropBox or MS SkyDrive.

DropBox has both free and paid cloud storage service options, depending on your requirements. With the free service, you start with just 2GB of space although you are able to earn up to 18GB by referring friends and family (500MB per referral). If you are using DropBox intensively for business purposes, then you will probably want to take a look at their Pro and Team options which provide upwards of 100GB of space.

The MS SkyDrive starts you off with 7GB for free, but this is only expandable by upgrading to a paid option. SkyDrive is quite similar to DropBox in most other respects, the key difference being the closer integration between the MS SkyDrive and other Microsoft applications such as Office. This closer-knit integration allows you to work with MS Office seamlessly across PCs, Macs and the web.

Both DropBox and MS SkyDrive are popular as they also include downloadable programs allowing you to include any of your desktop folders in your automatic sync. To share a new file on your DropBox or SkyDrive cloud folder, all you need to do is save it to a shared folder on your computer. You can also share your folders with other team members making cloud-based collaboration much easier.

While DropBox and SkyDrive also include your typical 128-bit encryption, the ease of sharing access (through an email link) makes security an issue. In fact, they suffer from all of the same security holes as a personal computer, but are not protected with industry-level security systems, making them far less secure than your desktop.

The other main flaw with DropBox and SkyDrive is that they do not clean up your duplicated files and folders as you upload, so it can be very easy to duplicate files and eat through your space in no time at all.

Professional Use

Those of you interested in the idea of cloud storage but remain unconvinced so far because of the security and space issues, will likely be looking towards a professional solution for your cloud storage requirements.

Some professional cloud storage companies offer a service that uses a unique encryption key for each individual user, so your data is completely secured. Additionally, they can enable a compression key helping to reduce duplicate data while compressing your files by up to half the original size – making your storage space go a lot further.

BIS offer a professional cloud backup and storage service, hosted at one of their secure UK Data Centres.