Cloud storage is a marvel of modern computing, allowing data to be stored more cheaply and accessed more flexibly than ever before. However, as the amount of business data being stored in the cloud grows, it has the potential to become an unruly monster that is difficult to manage and keep track of. There are a few things you can do to ensure your cloud-based data remains an efficient part of your business.
Keep things organised
Use folders, user permissions, and other built-in features to keep your cloud storage manageable and easily searchable, instead of ending up with a situation where data is simply dumped and difficult to retrieve. Have procedures in place to prevent duplicates and other junk files that take up costly resources in terms of both bandwidth and storage costs. Different cloud providers have different ways of detecting and removing duplicate files.
Prioritize the data being backed up
Using the cloud to create backups can be a time-consuming process. Make it a priority that essential business documents which are frequently updated, such as Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and similar, are the first to be backed up ahead of program files and other executables that can be easily downloaded and restored in case of data loss. You may have some explaining to do if photos from the company Christmas party survive the server failure, but macros and other files essential to business operations do not.
New files should be prioritised in addition to specific file types. A file with a more recent modification date should naturally be updated first. Older, unaltered files will likely remain unchanged between backups. Update what has actually changed between updates first, as this likely impacts on important day-to-day operations that would have the largest impact on the business if lost.
Don’t let backups slow down daily operations
Creating backups to the cloud can consume such an amount of internet bandwidth that web-based programs for regular users can become extremely slow or even unusable. Whenever possible, perform your backups overnight, on weekends, or during off-peak hours to have the minimum impact. If you absolutely need to transfer data to the cloud during regular business hours, use bandwidth throttling to limit the speed and leave some traffic available for users.
Expand on an as-needed basis
You will know you are reaching the limits of your cloud service when things begin to strain. While it’s not advisable to expand too quickly because of the additional cost involved, you do want to leave some extra flexibility so that your business isn’t hitting data caps, going over limits, or being restricted by upload/download speeds. If your company is using a managed service provider for your cloud solutions, this is less of a concern since you will have an expert guiding you through the process.
Retain some local backups of your most important information
While the cloud is a great way to protect against catastrophic data loss, it’s often faster and easier to recover data locally from a backup kept on site than downloading terabytes of data over the Internet. A separate on-site backup is extra work and expense, but will help you bounce back from less disastrous data losses more quickly.
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