CLOUD STORAGE | 4 MIN READ
When your network is down, you may have to restore to a previous backup. This means that consistent and reliable data storage is key in protecting sensitive information from being deleted. Many businesses are turning to cloud storage as a way to mitigate the risks associated with network downtime, which raises questions about how much it costs. Keep reading to learn typical pricing for business-level cloud storage.
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Depending on the provider, a cloud storage solution could cost anywhere from $5-25 per user per month or a flat rate of $2-50 a month. The price can vary widely for several reasons.
If you're looking for a business-centered plan versus one geared towards individuals, then the cost will automatically increase. This is because an individual looking to protect some personal photos and documents takes up a lot less space in the cloud than a business, which has a large amount of files to secure.
Based on the amount of users included in the plan, a cloud storage provider will increase the price. This is because more users increases the amount of data that the storage provider must protect, which puts more strain on their servers.
Cloud storage costs also increase based on the total amount of data stored. For instance, there could be one plan geared towards up to 10 users with limits on the total amount of data that can be stored as well as the maximum file size that can be uploaded to the cloud.
When looking at pricing for a cloud storage solution, many providers offer pricing on a per user basis, for instance $5 per user per month. Depending on how many users are in your company, this can quickly add up.
Other providers may offer flat monthly pricing. When conducting research into pricing, figure out if you would prefer a flat monthly price or a per user price for your cloud storage solution.
Cloud vs. On-Premise Security
Data can be stored in two locations: on-premise or in the cloud. Either form could be beneficial to an organization depending on their needs.
With on-premise security, your servers and data are physically located in your office, and you use backup and disaster recovery software to extract the data when you need it during a network failure. The management and maintenance of your network is up to you unless you decide to outsource support.
With cloud-based security, a third party company hosts your servers and data for you in a data center. These companies can assist in managing your network.
Which One Should I Use?
Organizations who use on-premise security tend to:
- Favor customization- Since your data is physically stored at your office, you can configure the setup to your liking.
- Have in-house IT personnel- Companies with dedicated in-house IT personnel may wish to have close proximity to the data they manage.
- Aim for regulatory compliance- Penalties for data regulations can be costly, which is why some organizations may feel more comfortable housing data in close proximity.
- Have a smaller budget- Especially if you have an in-house IT team, the costs for equipment such as servers can prove to be a worthwhile long-term investment.
Companies who have cloud security tend to:
- Value high-level security- Cloud data centers have multiple security parameters in place, which provides ease of mind to companies housing data there.
- Favor storage immortality- If on-premise data centers break or become outdated and obsolete, the cost and time to move your data can be a burden. With cloud storage, your data is housed online forever.
- Desire minimal downtime- Because cloud storage backs up your data in multiple places, you tend to experience lower rates of downtime than on-premise systems.
- Value scalability- Data centers can quickly re-allocate resources to meet demand, which is especially beneficial to companies experiencing explosive growth or those in need of expanded computing power.
How to Choose the Right Cloud Storage Provider
There are so many cloud storage providers flooding the market that choosing one can quickly become overwhelming. While your business might be tempted to pick a free option to save money, keep in mind that these plans usually have restricted features and heavily limited amounts of data that you can store.
If you just started your business and you're a one-man shop, you could maybe use a free plan at the beginning to save money while your company takes off, but there is so much data that a business needs to protect that you would quickly reach the data limits in your plan.
When evaluating a cloud storage provider, ask them how they store your data. How many data centers are holding your information, and where are these centers located?
For instance, if your business is located around the world but all the data centers are in the US, you could potentially run into issues with connectivity speed. Make sure there are plenty of data centers to accommodate your company, especially if you have offices in multiple countries.
How does the data center secure your information? Ask your provider what security measures are in place to protect your data. Data centers can implement a variety of tactics, including advanced fire detection systems, reinforced walls, and 24-7 security guards.
Evaluate how much data storage you think you'll need. Cheaper plans usually come with limits on the amount of data you can store. Before buying a plan, estimate the volume of data that your company stores to see if you could manage fine with a storage limit or if you need to spend more for a plan that allows unlimited storage.
Consider any data privacy regulations that your company must adhere to. Storing your data in a third party data center could potentially raise some concerns about how compliant you can remain with current data regulations. Check with your provider to see what they can do to keep you compliant, especially with regulations like HIPAA and GDPR.
Cloud storage is an investment in your livelihood. By securing your data, your company is better poised to mitigate the negative consequences associated with a cyber attack or network outage.
A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can keep your cloud storage cost low by bundling it into your package.
Then, if you experience a cyber attack in the future, because an MSP controls your data backups and manages your network's security, they can have a unified response. As an MSP, we set up cloud backups for many of our clients, so we understand the associated costs.
We hope this article helped answer your questions and propelled you towards further research.
RELATED: What Is a Managed Service Provider?
Posted by Erica Kastner
Erica Kastner is a lead Marketing Specialist at Standard Office Systems as well as a University of Georgia graduate. She aims to use her passion for problem-solving to help businesses understand how to better leverage their network infrastructure.