Enterprise-grade storage is the lifeblood of cloud computing. As a result, global businesses have an insatiable appetite for data storage, according to Cybersecurity Ventures, and it is estimated that there will be over 200 zettabytes of data by 2025. This eye-watering amount demonstrates the enormous demand, especially considering that a zettabyte equals one billion terabytes.
Since the Covid-19 global pandemic, offsite storage has become the go-to place for data storage. Demand for centralized storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox has grown exponentially.
Join us as we discover the advantages and disadvantages of offsite storage, learning why demand is so high along the way.
What is Offsite Storage?
Offsite storage is storage hardware relocated at a remote, geographically disparate location. Popular examples include:
- Leasing storage at a remote data center.
- Leveraging a managed service provider’s data center.
- Consuming cloud storage from a cloud provider.
Let’s jump straight into the pros.
- Scalability and Efficiency: Offsite storage provides unlimited scalability; there is no cap on the amount of storage available, and you can consume as much or as little data as you desire. Automated schedules automatically archive data after a pre-defined period. For example, typical plans may include archiving all data over 90 days old. A computerized routine will copy the relevant data to archive storage, perhaps to another provider, to ensure data integrity.
- Cost and Value: Offsite and cloud storage is an affordable way to acquire enterprise-grade features (e.g., encryption and data protection) low cost is why users are switching to offsite storage en masse. Often sold on a pay-as-you-go cost model, with free incentives to encourage users to join. There is no initial outlay for expensive storage hardware and no complex maintenance or support contracts to maintain.
- Instant Availability: Offsite and cloud data storage are available now. You can be up and running within a few clicks. Files can be uploaded and downloaded via the provider’s cloud console, over a command line interface, or using a storage application created by the provider. With offsite cloud storage, the infrastructure is already in place, and the platform is already available. As a result, there are no extensive lead times when procuring the hardware and no waiting for employee availability to rack and install hardware. Instead, the client can plug directly into the cloud storage and start working immediately.
- It’s a Managed Service: The storage solution is a managed service, so you expect everything to work perfectly as a consumer. These services have been around for several years, so the platforms have had time to bed in. Most cloud providers offer up to 100% SLAs on cloud storage, enforcing the view that cloud storage reliability is exemplary. The managed service providers handle hardware failures and manage the complex operations needed to keep the service running efficiently. For example, engineers address problems at the storage layer and, if required, can allocate data between clients and devices on demand. In addition, the managed service provider is responsible for the storage lifecycle and upgrade planning.
- Flexible Connectivity: You only need an internet connection to access offsite storage. Perhaps a dedicated virtual private network for added security. Data is easy to get to, private by default, and can be shared with whomever you like.
- Security and privacy concerns: Although cloud storage is exceptionally secure, incorrectly configured solutions are possible. There are numerous examples of a misconfigured storage bucket exposing sensitive personal data. Protect offsite storage from unauthorized access and always encrypt.
- Compliance and Data Governance: there are complex data privacy laws to follow when securing or destroying data. GDPR and CCNA are just two examples. Consider the location of data; many businesses are forbidden to store sensitive data outside the US.
- Long-term costs: Offsite storage is often affordable; however, there may be a risk of vendor lock-in, so research the long-term costs.
- Noisy Neighbors: Choose wisely between dedicated or shared storage. Will there be contention for resources from yourself and other clients? Most good storage providers offer QOS, but this risk is vital to remember.
So that is our top pros and cons for offsite data storage. We are witnessing a paradigm shift towards cloud computing, and offsite cloud storage is making a real difference for business and personal users worldwide.
Richard Bailey is the Lead IT Consultant at Atlantic.Net, a growing and profitable cloud hosting company that specializes in HIPAA compliance.