Cloud computing is where you access files and applications via the internet rather than having programs installed or files stored or on your PC, laptop, mobile device or local server. The cloud is simply a metaphor for the internet and comes from the fact that from the early days of the web, the internet was often represented using a cloud symbol. The first businesses to use the cloud on a widespread commercial scale were CRM providers such as salesforce.com. The cloud changed the way businesses operate in two main ways:
- The cloud shifted us towards on-demand computing i.e. we pay for a service for as long as we use it rather than buying software or computer hardware outright. This gives us the flexibility to switch services on and off as we need them.
- Cloud services are managed by service providers which means that anyone can set up and manage a business online without ever needing the knowledge and expense of operating their own IT infrastructure.
Benefits of Cloud Computing
- Saves you money – on the cost of expensive server hardware and software licenses as well as the space required to manage your own servers.
- Flexibility to scale up and down – with the demands of your business. With cloud services, you don’t need to factor in spare capacity, you can simply add more capacity when you need it and reduce it when it’s no longer required.
- Almost no downtime – in the past the failure of a critical server such as an email server could bring a company to a complete standstill. With cloud email services the downtime is close to 0%.
- Improved security – cloud providers are responsible for protecting your important files from viruses and hackers.
- Work from anywhere – anywhere with an internet connection, meaning staff can work remotely or while on the road as well as use their own devices for work, saving time, cost and making employees happier.
- Increase collaboration – being able to access projects from anywhere means that you can collaborate more easily with clients, partners and your team. Everyone can view and share information simply and securely.
- Environmentally friendly – cloud computing cuts down on energy cost and can significantly reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
Cloud computing solutions
If you are currently using Onedrive or Dropbox then great news! You are using elements of a cloud-based system already.
The benefits of moving your data to the cloud are endless, but sometimes the process is easier said than done. Not any more.
Cloud based storage & backup solutions for business
We are the best Cloud provider in Bristol. Our services include Office 365 and G-Suite support
Our IT Support service can set up secure cloud storage for business; we’ll transfer (also known as ‘migrating’) all your precious information over without a glitch and get you synched, sorted and ready to embrace this brilliant new way of working.
Cloud Computing FAQs
What is the pricing for cloud storage?
OneDrive/SharePoint – 1TB Company-Wide Storage with office 365 business essentials/premium license. Each user also allocated 1TB storage.
Google Drive – 30GB with Basic, Unlimited with business.
Dropbox Business – Standard License is £10 per user per month, 3TB collective storage – Advanced license is £15 per user per month, unlimited Storage
Do I need an internet connection to access my files?
OneDrive/SharePoint – You can access locally available files synced to your file explorer offline and work on them. When you’re connected to the internet again, OneDrive will update any changes you make.
However, any Files-On-Demand will not work offline as they’re stored on the cloud to save space.
Google drive – You can edit files offline by installing the Google Drive Offline Extension beforehand and making specific files available offline.
Dropbox – You can view files offline if they are downloaded locally to your computer however online-only files are not able to be viewed offline.
How are permissions managed with the cloud?
OneDrive/SharePoint – The SharePoint admin centre can control members of each SharePoint site and manage external sharing.
Google Drive – The google admin console lets you control how documents are shared.
Dropbox – The team admin for drop box can invite members to the team and set sharing policies.
How can I make sure my data is safe?
All three have security measures in place to reduce the chances of a data breach:
Office 365 – “Only a limited number of essential personnel can gain access to data centres. Their identities are verified with multiple factors of authentication including smart cards and biometrics. There are on-premises security officers, motion sensors, and video surveillance. Intrusion detection alerts monitor anomalous activity. Another important security measure is that all data is stored in at least two different places, several hundred miles apart. This way, an earthquake or any other environmental catastrophe would most likely not affect both places and the data would be secure.”
G-Suite – “We make a heavy investment in protecting our employees’ devices and credentials from compromise and also in monitoring activity to discover potential compromises or illicit insider activity. This is a critical part of our investment in ensuring that our infrastructure is operated safely.” –
Dropbox Business – The data of Dropbox and Dropbox users is stored at server centres of third-party providers in the US. These providers are responsible for server security, but Dropbox tests their security measures once a year. Companies with over 250 users can store their data in Europe. The European servers are hosted by Amazon Web Services and located in Frankfurt, Germany. As an additional security precaution, data and metadata are stored on different servers.
For all three, all data at rest is encrypted with AES encryption with 256 bits. Data in transit is encrypted with SSL/TLS encryption by all three providers, which as well is the most common and secure solution for data in transit, at the moment.
That said, from a user perspective, Office 365 – G-Suite and Dropbox still needs careful work and administration to ensure the security of your data.
You need to set your data retention policies and protection within Office 365. 3rd party providers provide Office 365 backup. Microsoft have changed their terms for Office 365 backup to a shared responsibility system.
This effectively means they will not provide the support you require in the event of a Ransomware attack or accident/malicious deletion of files by users, past a certain time period. This we recommended you take into account as part of the overall BCDR (Business Continuity & Data Recovery) strategy for your business.
This is the same with Dropbox and G-Suite
Can I migrate my current file structure exactly the same?
This will vary depending on the current provider used, but generally the same folder structures can be migrated across when migrating between two larger platforms. However, the issue may lie with folder permissions. With more details we can let you know if you are able to do this successfully.
In Office 365 for instance the folder structure needs careful planning and implementation, this should fit in with your organisations policies on data access. for example, as part of Cyber Essentials only that staff that need access to the data should have this access, eg HR Accounts, Directors reports