What is cloud computing and how does it work?
In simple terms, cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services (such as servers, storage, networks, software etc.) via the internet. Traditionally, computing services required users to buy and maintain physical data centres and servers, making data storage and accessibility expensive and complicated. Instead, with cloud computing, users only pay for the services that they’re using and can access data easily from anywhere, at any time.
Though most of us are undoubtedly familiar with cloud services such as Microsoft 365 we might not automatically associate that with cloud computing, or realise the value cloud computing can bring to your business. With the vast increase in remote working, cloud computing has become an essential component of a successful business strategy. Businesses who don’t have a cloud infrastructure or haven’t been able to adapt will struggle. Cloud computing solutions can be delivered to improve efficiency across almost every aspect of business, including telecommunications, file sharing, data storage, collaboration with colleagues and more. As such, more and more businesses are migrating to the cloud as part of their initiatives to modernise the workplace. In fact, “the average employee already uses 36 cloud-bases services in their daily routine” and this number is set to rise.
With cloud computing already such a fundamental part of business operations, it makes sense that successful businesses rely on cloud computing to store their data. You need your data to be easy to access yet fully protected from threats and data loss, all of which can be achieved by using effective cloud computing solutions. Read on to find out how…
The best cloud computing solution for storing your data (with examples)
At Netstar, we know a thing or two about cloud computing. We’ve done our research and have the technical knowledge to be able to determine the best cloud computing solution for storing your data securely.
When it comes to cloud computing solutions for data storage, we recommend… Datto, and here’s 12 reasons why!
1. Enables productive remote working
Because data is stored and accessed via the cloud, employees only need a suitable device, login details, and a stable internet connection to access the files they need. This means that they can access and work on documents whenever they want, wherever they want. As such, your team can continue to work effectively, whether they’re in the office, at home, or elsewhere.
Example: The unpredictable and sudden nature of the coronavirus pandemic is the perfect example of why employees need effective cloud computing solutions. On the 23rd Mach 2020, all office workers were required to work from home for the foreseeable. Those without effective cloud computing solutions, like Datto, struggled to access their work files and documents from home. But those that did have the right technology in place could continue to work as normal immediately, even if they were using their personal laptops or mobiles.
2. Added layers of security
All data that is stored in the cloud is encrypted to block hackers and malicious activity. Moreover, Datto’s threat detection and management technology can identify ransomware and corrupted files, quarantine them to prevent them spreading, and quickly revert files to make them safe again. As such, you can be confident that your data is secure when it’s stored in the cloud.
At Netstar, we recommend a multi-layered approach to cyber security. Even with the best antivirus software in place, extra precautions need to be implemented as no method is 100% effective. As such, having a data storage system that also delivers threat detection and management will help to optimise the security of your data.
Example: Last year the City of Baltimore became victim to a cyber attack. Hackers encrypted data files and demanded a ransom in exchange for decryption keys. The attack is said to have cost them around $18 million. Although this example refers to a large American based institution, similar attacks occur daily in the UK, and London based SMEs are not exempt from attack. In fact, the average annual cost of cyber attacks to SMEs in the UK is estimated to be around £4.5 billion. Consequently, to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime, you need to ensure that your data storage systems and cloud computing solutions can provide your business with these essential added layers of protection.
3. No data loss
Datto users don’t need to worry about losing their data if devices are broken, lost or stolen. Unlike traditional data storage solutions, all data will be stored in the cloud, meaning that it can be accessed from any device, at any time.
Example: Imagine losing all company data overnight without it being backed up on the cloud. Picture this, it’s peak season for a finance firm in London and all employees are extremely busy. Unfortunately, there’s a fire in the office overnight, causing all office equipment to fail. However, because all data has been backed up in the cloud, employees are able to use their personal devices at home to access important data and continue working as normal until the office is back up and running. Having effective cloud computing solutions in place will have saved this business immensely, in terms of cost, productivity and customer satisfaction.
4. Customizable access restrictions
In another move to optimise cyber security, Datto enables administrators to establish access policies to certain files and data. This means that only relevant or suitable employees would have access to certain data. In the same way, administrators can also set policies that enable data to be shared more widely with third parties outside of the organisation.
Example: HR files might have sensitive or personal information about employees that their colleagues shouldn’t be able to access. As such, administrators can quickly and easily put provisions in place that mean only applicable employees can access these files, restricting anyone else from doing so. Similarly, sales professionals may wish to share documents with prospective clients to explain more about the products and services they offer. Administrators can, in this case, ease restrictions to allow these documents to be shared with third parties.
5. Reduced costs
When it comes to cost-effectiveness, switching to the cloud is a no-brainer. With Datto, you will only ever pay for the services that you need via an affordable fixed monthly rate. Additionally, unlike traditional data storage methods, you won’t have the added cost of expensive software, hardware, servers and installation. With cloud computing solutions, you won’t have to worry about updating or upgrading equipment as this will all be administered by your IT Support partner as part of your normal subscription fee.
Example: In light of COVID-19, businesses are trying to cut costs, now more than ever. For all small business or start-ups, cloud computing is a great way to limit the amount of money spent on expensive equipment. Instead, money can be spent elsewhere in the business to adapt to new working practices and drive profit.
Datto can adapt to a variety of popular devices and platforms used worldwide. It functions on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, meaning it can be applied companywide on both work and personal devices. Additionally, it can integrate with fundamental business applications including Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and Active Directory (AD) boosting cyber security and streamlining business processes.
Example: With Microsoft Outlook and Datto, users can send secure links for files or folders to recipients, using a specialised plug-in. These links can include additional controls, such as, password requirements and expiration measures. As such, employees can leverage these capabilities in order to protect important documents from potential malicious activity.
7. Ability to work on and offline
If an employee is out and about one day or working from somewhere with limited internet connection, they can sync the documents they need to their device. This will enable them to work offline when it isn’t possible to connect to the internet. Once an internet connection is re-established, the document will be automatically updated and synced to Datto.
Example: If an employee needs to travel to a meeting cross country, they can sync work to their device and work on the train even if there’s no internet connection. Once the employee then reconnects their device to the internet, the updated document will automatically be synced to the device and to Datto. This will boost productivity and enable employees to get more done throughout the working day.
8. Effortless collaboration
If two colleagues are working on the same document at the same time, Datto will flag any version conflict, allowing users to quickly rectify conflicting versions. As such, folders will remain organised and not cluttered with multiple copies of the same document.
Example: If two colleagues are filling out different information in the same spreadsheet at the same time, they could end up creating multiple conflicting copies of the same document, leaving the folder unorganised and confusing. But, with an effective cloud computing solution like Datto, conflicting copies are soon rectified, and collaboration is made simple.
9. Easy onboarding/offboarding of staff
Datto can integrate with Active Directory, a centralised management service developed by Microsoft. This makes the onboarding and offboarding of staff simple. Employees can be added or deleted from access to files on Datto with the click of a button, and once employees leave, administrators will also have the power to remote wipe devices connected to Datto applications. This is especially useful when employees use their own devices as it only wipes data from the Datto app and not the entire device.
Example: As soon as an employee has left the business, administrators can take them off Active Directory which will automatically sync to Datto, removing their access to all company folders and files. Administrators can then wipe all of the devices they used for work purposes (both work and personal) of any company data on the Datto app. This will help to protect your business from data leakages and boost overall cyber security.
10. Unlimited data storage
Effective cloud computing solutions like Datto offer unlimited storage via the cloud. Being able to store all company data on the cloud will therefore free up space elsewhere and make your systems run efficiently, preventing them from overloading or crashing.
Example: Without Datto, employees will be saving and downloading everything to their device. As such, they will quickly become overloaded with important data and begin to run slowly, causing disruption to employees. These employees would not only be stressed about their computers running slowly, they’d also likely experience downtime to get issues rectified or delete files manually. However, by using an effective cloud computing solution, employees can save all data to the cloud without any concern about using up space for data storage. Consequently, employees will be less stressed and more efficient.
11. Reduced stress
Cloud computing solutions, like Datto, are usually managed by an external IT Support provider. Your IT partner will, therefore, take control of all the relevant monitoring, maintaining and upgrading. In fact, an effective IT partner will use advanced technology to detect potential issues and rectify them before the network crashes, meaning you never have to worry about faults or downtime when it comes to storing your data.
Example: If an employee experiences an issue with accessing their data, they don’t need to worry about trying to solve it themselves or passing it on to an internal team member who may also struggle to solve the problem. Instead, they can call experienced IT specialists who will be able to identify and solve the problem quickly and effectively, eradicating any unnecessary stress.
Because you’re only ever paying for what you need, Datto can work around the demand of your business; it will be just as effective and cost-efficient for a business of 10 people as it will for a business of 250 people. This means that when your business experiences significant growth, you won’t need to worry about changing or installing new equipment and systems. Instead, your cloud computing solution can just be modified in order to accommodate the increase in demand.
Example: Having an adaptable and scalable cloud computing solution is key for businesses that experience varying seasonal demand. For example, financial firms may experience higher demand at the end of the tax year and have slower periods in the lead up to Christmas. As such, they could increase capacity in March/April, without having to invest in any expensive physical equipment, and then reduce costs again in December. This can be applied to the overall growth of a business too, when a business grows its staff and revenue, the capacity for business storage can grow alongside it with no unnecessary hassle.
COVID-19 and cloud computing solutions
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinvented the way we work, and cloud computing has played a crucial role in this. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of making business data secure and easily accessible at all times, even being referred to as a “catalyst for the cloud”. The agility, flexibility and scalability of storing data over the internet makes cloud computing an inevitable solution for all businesses within the next few years, and the pandemic has acted as the perfect case study for this. Many predict that ‘working from anywhere’ will become standard practice long term. And with the recent government announcement again tightening restrictions, this seems extremely likely. Which is why businesses need to ensure that they have the right cloud computing solutions in place now to ensure successful remote working can continue long term.
At Netstar, we have helped many London based businesses to leverage the advantages that come with moving to the cloud, both before and during the pandemic. Following the sudden need to access data from home this March, we’ve received an abundance of positive feedback from our clients regarding their adoption of Datto. For example…
“Our remote working is all going ok and the use of Datto Workplace is proving effective. A good case study in getting it right from the start!” – Max, YardNine, London
Why is Datto the best cloud computing solution for storing your data?
- Enables productive remote working
- Added layers of security
- No data loss
- Customizable access restrictions
- Reduced costs
- Ability to work on and offline
- Effortless collaboration
- Easy onboarding/offboarding of staff
- Unlimited data storage
- Reduced stress