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Cloud vs. Colocation

There are many different methods when it comes to storing your data nowadays. Two of these are storing everything in the cloud or using a service called colocation. But what are these and which one is best for your needs?

Cloud storage means using an online service. All of your data essentially floats above you, like clouds, meaning that whenever you are with an internet connection you will be able to access your data. Decent cloud storage providers will offer applications for a variety of systems, meaning that you will be able to view data from everything, be it computer, phone or tablet. Google and Microsoft both offer their own cloud storage systems (Drive and SkyDrive respectively).

One of the biggest plus sides to using cloud storage is that it is very simple. It does not require a technician on your end to resolve any problems that might arise – the company’s customer services will deal with this. The programs smoothly integrate into the operating system, meaning that there are no learning curves. The system can be implemented and users will quickly pick up on how to use it.

Depending on how much data you have, you can use either a free package or pay for a business account. Some cloud companies will let you scale the account and only pay for the amount of users or storage space that you need, which could end up being quite cost effective. This also means that you don’t need to buy another large hard drive should you exceed one; just scale up and down as needed.

However, cloud storage does come with some disadvantages. You must consider that you are storing all your data online and your data is vulnerable. Although advanced security procedures are in place, there is always the risk that your data could fall into the wrong hands. As such, it is advisable not to store sensitive information (like customer records, for example) in the cloud.

Colocation is where you use a data centre which rents out equipment and bandwidth. This is great for a lot of small companies who don’t need to, or can’t afford to, host their own servers. Colocation centres will give you an IP, bandwidth and server power for a cost.

The advantage of this is that you are saving on bandwidth costs. Instead of renting out a line purely for your business, a colocation has economies of scale and can offer you one for the same amount or less, often for better speeds. Also, colocation centres offer increased outage protection and the ability to upgrade your server or software at any time. Everything will be kept up and running even if your office isn’t (through something like a power loss, for example).

However, using a colocation centre means that you will need to have someone on the team who understands servers. They are a bit more complicated than using the cloud and may be a bit too costly for some businesses. However, a lot of colocation centres have advanced backup procedures in place which allow you to restore your data from the server within moments, which is certainly a great procedure to have in place.


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