Tips for choosing the right cloud storage provider

May 8, 2012 – 10:06 am | by Steve
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With the rise of online storage systems, stores across the nation are looking into cloud storage options. Individuals at local convenience stores and mom-and-pop restaurants are starting to use programs like iCloud, Dropbox and Google music to back up their information. There are many programs out there that provide top-of-the-line service at a reasonable price, but the average user has problems understanding the difference between each provider. Learning what to look for in an Online Cloud Storage provider is the first step towards finding the right one.

Cloud Storage

What is Stored

Obviously, anyone who wants to have their files stored needs to ask the question: exactly what will be stored? For the average user, most cloud storage providers will cover the majority of their music, pictures and document needs. Businesses have to look a bit closer at what is offered. A business may need to store Quickbooks files or have real-time backups provided. Nothing is worse than paying for a service that is not right for your individual or business needs.

Also, make sure to ask if software can be backed up as well. Most cloud computing programs will only save the individual’s files. If the computer completely crashes, the individual may have to purchase all of the software again or, at the very least, reinstall it. Look for a program that offers a service known as disk image backup. If the computer crashes, the user can immediately retrieve all of their software.

Backups

Check to see if the service offers backups that are real time, manual or scheduled. Depending on the provider, users may have to deliberately choose to save files. The better backup providers will have scheduled or real-time backups. Users can select when they want their next backup scheduled or with the more advanced providers, have it automatically done as they are using the files. Also, some providers offer a data retrieval service that stores all of the various former copies of the file. If the user wants to return to the way the file was a month before, these providers can do that.

Cost of Service

Before making the ultimate decision, consider the cost of the service. Most companies will set a maximum limit or charge per GB. If they do charge for the amount, ask them if they have data compression. This option allows files to be stored in reduced size that allows for faster uploads and smaller space requirements.

Add-Ons

After of this is considered, look at some of the add-ons that companies offer. Many companies have new services that offer geo-redundancy. Data should be stored at multiple locations around the world. If a cataclysmic event or tsunami takes place, the data will still be protected. Other companies will also provide users with a bare metal service or data shuttle. If the user has a lot of data to upload, they can place it all on a data shuttle and ship it to the company.

Individuals need to carefully consider what they need in a service. For the average person, a cheaper provider is often the best choice. People who have more software, business documents and data need to decide if the added cost is worth it in an online cloud storage service.

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