Planning to move some data to the cloud? Sure, why not? The benefits of cloud-based storage systems are hard to understate, from the versatility to the remote connection capability to the sheer value of having such systems in place in promoting a mobile workforce or even just in disaster recovery. But making the move to the cloud shouldn't be done lightly, as there are certain things that need to be considered when making that move.
One of the first considerations that needs to be made is one of security. Most anyone's security needs when it comes to cloud storage will be different, for a variety of reasons. Depending on what's stored in the cloud, and what if any applicable laws it falls under, different levels of security are needed to afford the proper level of protection against unauthorized access. But cloud providers are eager to offer excellent security; after all, no one wants to store physical goods in a warehouse that's frequently broken into, and cloud providers are no different, just that we're talking about data instead of surplus dolls. So cloud providers are willing to offer security like private key encryption in some cases to help keep that data safe.
Not too far behind security—in some cases ahead of it, even—is cloud service cost. Cost will usually vary based on needs, and since most cloud storage systems are scalable, businesses can buy as much or as little as needed, and trim or bulk up the number of options according to need. It's important to note that costs aren't necessarily reflective of service quality: buying the most—or least—expensive plan doesn't get the best—or worst—quality service. Plans will generally spell out what's offered, so pick the one that's right under the circumstances.
Also worth considering is the location of the hardware used to store the cloud-based data. Particularly in terms of disaster preparedness, having a data store at a remote site makes sense; consider the events of Hurricane Sandy, and how many businesses could get back up and running as data stocks were kept in servers physically located in Maine, South Carolina, Nebraska or even California, well away from any impact Sandy could have caused. Further consider how many of those businesses would have been unable to operate had the cloud storage been local.
Finally, infrastructure complexity is often a consideration, especially as businesses with complex infrastructures wonder how to add on something like cloud storage to an already difficult to manage environment. There are tools available to get around this, however, and the value of those tools should be high on the list when it comes to considering which cloud provider to use.
Any business planning to bring in new technology needs to keep points like these in mind, so on a certain basic level, cloud technology is no different than, say, making the move to a bring your own device (BYOD) environment or opening up to the mobile workforce concept. Cloud technology can offer some terrific value when it comes to business use, but it has to be considered fully and brought in at the right rates and in the right way to get the most out of it. Unconsidered technology can be as harmful to a business as considered technology can be helpful, so careful, conservative advancement should be front-of-mind for most businesses.