Just a decade ago, IT professionals were abuzz about “the cloud.” Today, more than 60% of corporate data is stored in the cloud, and by 2025, research suggests that more than 200 zettabytes of data will be stored in the cloud — roughly half of all the world’s data.
Managed cloud storage solutions can help organizations safely, securely, and efficiently house their data without requiring additional staff or expensive capital expenditures (CapEx).
In this blog post, we’ll explore what managed cloud storage is and provide some examples of how businesses can use it.
What is managed cloud storage?
Managed cloud storage is a service provided by a third-party organization in which the provider manages the entire storage infrastructure — including hardware, software, and data management responsibilities. Common cloud management operations include cloud migration, service optimization, and security monitoring that help companies offload the responsibility of installing and maintaining storage infrastructure so they can focus on core business activities.
What’s an example of managed cloud storage?
Many well-known companies offer managed cloud storage services on a subscription basis in which the provider charges a fee based on the amount of storage used. Popular managed cloud storage services include Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Oracle Cloud.
These services enable an organization to conveniently and securely store important information such as data from their customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms off-site and managed by someone else.
Managed vs. Unmanaged Cloud Storage
Unlike managed cloud storage, unmanaged cloud storage is the sole responsibility of the company that owns the data. With unmanaged cloud storage, an organization is responsible for selecting a data center and deploying the storage array. The company is also responsible for increasing storage capacity, updating and upgrading infrastructure, and troubleshooting any issues that arise.
How to Choose the Best Cloud Storage Management Solution for You
As cloud storage continues to gain popularity, businesses have a wide range of cloud storage options available. Determining which is the best for your business frequently comes down to a handful of specific factors. Here are some steps to take when choosing a cloud storage management provider.
Determine the location of the data center
Cloud-based storage solutions require a data center to house the physical infrastructure upon which virtualized infrastructure can be run. Choosing the right data center is often a matter of its location.
A data center’s proximity to sufficient power and connectivity services is an important consideration when choosing a location. Having adequate power helps to ensure that storage systems can run uninterrupted as expected, while proximity to public cloud provider availability zones is necessary for maintaining a strong, stable connection to cloud resources.
Evaluate the provider’s security features
Data privacy and security are paramount in today’s high-risk, data-driven business landscape. Cyber attacks continue to increase in frequency and sophistication, causing an average of nearly $4.5 million worth of damage per incident, leading governments to impose regulations such as GDPR in Europe and CRPA in California to compel organizations to bolster their data security efforts.
For organizations using managed cloud storage, it’s important to evaluate the various security safeguards the provider has in place. These measures include physical security at the data center site to prevent unauthorized access to storage hardware, as well as software-enabled security like network intrusion detection, built-in firewalls, and advanced data encryption.
Look at performance data
Like other areas of a business, managed cloud storage should be evaluated with measurable performance data. Cloud storage systems are typically measured by the data transfer rate to and from storage media, which is an indication of the overall performance of the system.
It’s also important to look at broader performance metrics such as service availability (measured in “nines”) and how quickly the storage system comes back online following an outage or interruption, called recovery time objectives (RTOs).
Assess integrations and APIs
One of the biggest benefits of managed cloud storage is that it enables any user to access information from virtually anywhere. But for that to happen — accessing, adding, updating, or deleting data from cloud storage — applications must connect to the data store via an Application Programming Interface or API.
APIs typically come in either a REST (Representational State Transfer) or SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) architecture. Regardless of the design, it’s important that your managed cloud storage provider offer a wide variety of APIs, as each storage system must be connected by purpose-built APIs for that storage unit.
In general, a managed cloud storage service provider with a broader range of APIs will offer a more flexible and robust suite of solutions for your business.
Forward-thinking Infrastructure for Growing Organizations
Managed cloud storage is an excellent way for businesses to offload their storage infrastructure management tasks and focus on their core business activities. Managed cloud storage providers can help businesses reduce operating costs while improving scalability and data security that enable greater and more sustainable growth.
Download our Ultimate Buyer’s Guide to Managed IT Services to learn more about managed cloud storage and other essential solutions.