Cloud Crash Course: Cloud Storage Application Platforms vs. Enterprise Cloud Storage / Technology / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There are many options to consider when selecting a cloud service. What's the best option for your business?

In the 2015 Kauffman Index which studies U.S. trends of entrepreneurship, researchers found that 310 out of 100,000 adults, or 530,000 people, started new businesses each month last year.

The hard part is that while these courageous dreamers may be excellent at their current skill or craft, they also need to be capable of running a company and (depending on funding) possibly managing an IT program.

The multitude of cloud applications and data maintenance options are vast and deciding what would work best for your company can easily become overwhelming.

Let’s break down the types of cloud storage so that you can determine what suits your needs best.

Cloud Storage, Security and Services

First of all, storage is one of the most basic of uses of cloud technology. However, as many big box stores, hospitals, and even the government can attest to (among the plethora of others who have shared time on the news as victims of cyber hackers), data security is one of the most crucial aspects of any organization to protect and invest in.

Related Article: Beyond Security: The Many Business Benefits of the Cloud

Secondly, there are different types of cloud companies out there. While storage is served as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), there are also Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platforms as a Service (PaaS) options available. This is important to note because the type of cloud company you choose determines how you are creating your data with the apps that you are using and how your various data will synchronize with your platform as a whole.

Cloud Application Platforms

Next, application platforms can be defined as, “operating systems, database management software, [and] even software running in the public cloud. Whatever it does and wherever it runs, all of this software together comprises an application platform,” explains modern technology expert David Chappell. This applies to the more basic cloud storage providers.

Comparatively, enterprise cloud computing can be explained by, “the special case of utilizing cloud computing for competitive advantage through breakout opportunities both for cost savings and, more importantly, for business innovation in terms of unprecedented speed and agility with vastly improved collaboration among business partners and customers, “ as stated in the book "A Strategy Guide for Business and Technology Leaders — and the Rest of Us" by Andy Mulholland, Jon Pyke and Peter Fingar. This is for cloud storage that integrates a variety of apps to collaborate data and creates a cumulative platform.

The Solutions: Which is the Best Fit For You? 

Many small businesses are likely to choose one of the more popular cloud storage application platforms like Dropbox or Google Drive. Both are extremely user friendly and have free options to test whether you like their services.

Once you get past the free initial storage offer, rates start at just $15 a month for Dropbox and $10 for Google Drive. Additionally, both are compatible with any device and syncs with the software that you probably already are using like Microsoft Office (or one of the 300 third-party apps that Dropbox connects to).

As mentioned earlier, safety is not to be taken lightly. Both have critical data encryption, secure data centers, and various other administrative settings to protect your data in the cloud and on your hardware.

For larger businesses, enterprise cloud storage may be a better option if you are handling highly secure data, long-term archiving, or are using data that needs to be pulled into running applications.  

AWS is a division of Amazon and they provide a variety of storage models including their popular S3 and Glacier. S3 has a simple web service interface to store and retrieve any amount of data from anywhere on the web and it’s a pay-as-you-go service. Glacier was made for data archiving and storage and is a great low cost alternative to on-premise software at only $0.007 per gigabyte per month.

Azure is Microsoft’s counterpart to AWS and also has quite a few options for storage purposes. They also have low cost pricing and charge for only the storage space that you use. What sets these two companies apart from Dropbox and Google, aside from their integration with a comprehensive computing platform, is their additional options for increased security.

Azure was the first major cloud provider to adopt the new international cloud privacy standard, ISO 27018. They also created Azure Government, a stand-alone version of Azure designed to meet the rigorous compliance requirements of U.S. public agencies.

AWS also goes the extra mile by providing hundreds of tools and features across network security, configuration management, access control and data encryption along with international certifications of compliance and verifications of systematic auditing.

In Conclusion

The cloud companies that serve smaller companies are SaaS providers on application platforms with less security measures in place. It aids business functionality in that the program is already in place; you are just accessing the potential to incorporate it into your operations.

The larger companies tend to land in the PaaS in that they offer more apps in house that configure together to create a cohesive platform that syncs together, including testing and deployment operations. The framework is there, you are just building on it to create a model that is customized to your company’s operating needs.

When you take this comparison into consideration, you can choose which data storage company suits your needs best therefore saving you time, stress and money in the long run.

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