Questions To Ask Every Cloud Storage Provider
As with many new technologies, attitudes toward cloud storage vary. Telephones were immobile; wearables perhaps unwarranted. And now, a global survey of over 26,000 people finds that just 27 percent of US Internet users consider cloud storage essential. While this number nears a third (31 percent) for respondents internationally, a majority of consumers disregard one of today’s most promising software developments.
Why is this? One reason is that, consumers do not always know the right questions to ask when searching for a cloud storage provider. Considering how foreign cloud computing can be, it’s not surprising that those without a background in technology find cloud storage unnecessary. It hardly makes sense to purchase something that you do not understand, and this distance between online storage platform and consumer can dissuade usage.
However, with a little education, any consumer will come to see that a platform exists to handle their storage needs. To start learning, here are three important questions to ask before committing to a single provider.
Question: How safe is your platform’s encryption method?
Ideal Answer: While end-to-end encryption is a popular option, the safest cloud storage providers also use client-side encryption. Unlike services that just use the first, which only protects data during transfer to the cloud, those that also use client-side encryption ensure safety at all times. To do so, this method entrusts users complete control over the encryption process.
In passing governance from platform to user, client-side encryption tasks consumers with the creation and safeguarding of their own information. Users alone have access to encryption keys and, with the entry of their passphrase, can personalize security. This method is safer, as it removes the liability of password theft from servers. It also guarantees that a platform will never know the name, type or contents of files stored on the cloud. For users new to cloud computing, security assurances like these affirm the value of a storage solution.
Question: How much storage space will I actually get?
Ideal Answer: Storage is a tricky feature to grasp because many cloud platforms are not as transparent as they should be. While some solutions claim to be unlimited, this is not true. Most encryption methods require a copy of every file on both a user’s computer and the cloud. This makes ‘unlimited’ contingent upon a user’s own available hard drive space. In order to be truly unlimited, cloud storage needs to happen directly on the cloud. Providers can engineer autonomous cloud systems to accommodate a user’s storage needs, taking up no space on the hard drive.
In terms of space, look for a platform that allows large files to be transferred, too. Chances are good that every user will need to upload a large file at some point (for example, high-resolution photos). Ensure that the service you choose will oblige to this request when the time comes.
Question: Is it easy to collaborate on your platform?
Ideal Answer: Partnering with a cloud storage provider should always make collaboration easier. After storing files on the cloud, users should be able to improve the following:
- Mobility: Cloud storage offers users the ability to access stored files from anywhere, at any time. This allows them, or employees of a company, to work on projects even when they’re working remotely.
- Speed: Platforms have notification features to alert users to when stored and shared files have been altered. From editing to uploading, these notifications can expedite the speed of collaboration by making team members more aware of one another’s work.
- Organization: Advanced cloud storage systems help users stay organized with integrated team management. Leveraging these teams, users can better control who has access to which files. They can also set internal leaders, which helps spread out the responsibility for sharing and securing files. In addition, this gives users the means to strategically regulate external file sharing with clients or partners.
- Reporting: As a bonus of cloud storage, some platforms provide users with built-in reporting capabilities. When tracking and analyzing business activity (users can monitor who is working on what and when) a team can optimize efficiency and make collaboration a more fruitful endeavor.
Beyond storage, additional features like these make a cloud storage platform the perfect place for collaboration. This is true for both individual users and businesses.
(Image Source: Shutterstock)
As consumers become familiar with the growing industry of cloud storage, more and more will begin to see it as a valuable investment. Thirty-one percent feelings of such solution being essential will increase to 50 percent, and then 50 percent to a larger majority. While consumers may come around naturally, cloud storage providers can also drive users to the cloud by making their platforms, as well the learning about their services, more approachable. Similarly, solutions can anticipate consumer questions and tailor their websites and advertisements to addressing them.
Considering multiple options is simply smart shopping. As with any other product or service, those in the market for a cloud storage provider should be asking questions like the three detailed above. By asking the right questions, consumers will have an easier time finding the right cloud storage solution for them.
By Tunio Zafer