As a small business owner, one of the ways you should be embracing technology is by utilizing cloud storage. If you are thinking you don’t need it, then you would probably be wrong. If you have an iPhone, it’s more than likely you are using iCloud for the storage of your images and videos. All those selfies take up space!
Storing data on hardware in a remote physical location, which you have complete access to from any device via the internet helps free up space on your phone or computer hard drive,. It’s also an ideal place to back up your data to keep safe in case of a computer or website crash. If you aren’t backing up your computer and website you need to be, but that’s a post for another time.
Not only does cloud storage give you a place store data, it also allows for easy secure file sharing. There are many types of cloud storage but for the sake of this article, and the one I prefer, along with most of my clients, I am going to focus on Dropbox and Amazon S3.
Dropbox is more popular with individuals and small businesses, especially if they feel they are technically challenged.
You can use Dropbox via the website, installing a desktop client that creates a folder that you simply drag and drop files into, or a mobile app. Everything synchronizes across all devices used and cloud storage.
Dropbox security seems to be an issue for a lot people. They don’t apply end-to-end encryption and files are visible to admins, governments, etc. The do extensive collecting and distribution of user data to commercial third parties.
There may times when you think you are having computer or internet issues when in reality your files are syncing in the background and using CPU resources and internet bandwidth. When I used Dropbox and since I have slow internet service, I always turned off automatic file syncing and would manually sync files.
With the free Dropbox account, you get on 2GB of storage. The Standard for $9.99/mo. will give you 2TB of storage and that’s quite a bit. There are higher levels but for most small businesses 2TB is enough.
Go here for a full list of features.
S3 is a favorite among larger businesses and developers and one of the most secure cloud services. One of the features that make it a favorite are the encryption features and access management tools. You can allow access to those who need it, but only to what you want them to access. If you don’t want them to see all files, you set that in the user permissions. S3 does not collect and distribute user data to commercial third parties.
When uploading files, it might seem a little overwhelming at first because there are some choices to be made. But if you set your account up correctly from the start, then you only need to go with the default choices. All files uploaded to S3 are private until you make them public. Making a file public is the only way you can take advantage of file sharing and it only takes one extra click of the mouse.
In S3 filing you store your folders in buckets, then put files in the folders, so there is that extra level when organizing files.
The biggest advantage to using S3 over Dropbox is the cost. S3 storage costs $0.03 per GB and gets cheaper the more is stored, which makes storing all your media inexpensive.
While S3 doesn’t have a desktop client that uploads files automatically and syncs across all your different devices, it’s easy to access via the web and does have a mobile app.
See the full list of features here.
If setting up either of these cloud services seems overwhelming, let me know. I’m happy to help!