Organizations are adopting the cloud in increasing numbers, with enterprise cloud spending estimated to comprise account for 14% of IT revenue worldwide by 2024. In 2020 alone, 61% of businesses moved their workloads to the cloud at least partially in response to the pandemic-fueled shift to remote work environments.
Enterprise cloud storage solutions create a unified IT environment that offers the agility of the cloud, partnered with the security of an on-site data center. Designed to meet the complex needs of large organizations, enterprise cloud storage provides the most positive aspects of both the public and private cloud.
In this article, we will explore what you need to know about enterprise cloud storage, including how companies can benefit from using these types of solutions.
What is Enterprise Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage gives enterprises flexible, scalable access to processing power, computer memory, and data storage. Rather than shouldering the cost of implementing and maintaining your own networks and data centers, your organization can reduce costs and access these resources through enterprise cloud service providers.
Enterprise-level organizations handle large volumes of business-critical data, and cloud storage grants them the ability to scale storage requirements for expansive workloads. Cloud storage solutions are available in three primary forms:
Public cloud. The public cloud delivers services such as data storage using the internet. The cloud service provider (CSP) develops, manages, and maintains resources that are leased to you and other tenants that use the CSP’s services. This cloud solution tends to be cheaper than private or hybrid, but it is also less secure. As such, a public cloud would not be a good fit for companies that handle sensitive data subject to strict compliance requirements, such aslike insurance, healthcare, or defense firms.
Private cloud. With private cloud storage, your company does not share cloud resources with any other organization. This solution is highly customizable to your needs—for example, data can be stored and managed on-premises by your internal IT team or offsite by the service provider. Private cloud storage is ideal for companies in highly regulated industries like healthcare or finance with sensitive data that requires additional levels of security and access control. However, private clouds are often the most expensive option and can be limited in terms of scalability and access for mobile users.
Hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud is a flexible combination of a public and private cloud. This solution offers organizations the ability to leverage an on-premises private cloud and divert non-critical data to an offsite public cloud infrastructure. A hybrid deployment gives companies greater control over their data management and simplifies data transfer between public and private cloud storage. According to industry statistics, 87% of enterprise organizations use a hybrid cloud strategy, which is driven primarily by the cost effectiveness of hybrid cloud solutions.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Storage for Large Organizations
As with any technology, there are pros and cons that must be considered when evaluating the viability of cloud storage for enterprise-level organizations. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage, companies can evaluate solutions and make the best choice for their needs.
Files stored in the cloud are easily accessible from anywhere and at any time. This is especially useful for businesses with distributed teams or remote and hybrid work environments, which is why industry experts predict that the enterprise cloud storage market will grow by nearly 15% by 2024.
Authorized users can access stored data using their preferred device, such as a desktop computer, tablet, laptop, or smartphone. This eliminates the need to manually transfer updated files from one device to the other, which is both inefficient and increases the likelihood of users working on out-of-date files.
Disadvantage: Security Concerns
When your company opts for cloud storage, you are handing your sensitive business data to a third-party service provider. This is whyTherefore, it is important to carefully evaluate service providers to ensure that they can keep your information secure. Security concerns are especially prevalent with public cloud deployments, which are prone to misconfigurations of their security and compliance features.
The appropriate configuration of security settings and access to storage inventory is critical to limiting data vulnerabilities. According to a recent cloud security report, 90% of organizations have cloud misconfigurations that leave them vulnerable to security breaches. Choose enterprise cloud storage solutions that can provide written assurances regarding how the cloud provider stores data, monitors security, and responds to breach events.
Enterprise cloud storage solutions allow enable your company to scale storage requirements based on your organizational needs. On-premises datacenters, however, may require an expensive investment into additional equipment and staff to meet increased storage requirements. This also makes it difficult to scale down on-premises storage solutions because doing so does not release your business from its original payment agreements.
With cloud storage, you pay for what you need and can easily scale up or down in response to changing circumstances. These changes can be made almost immediately without needing to purchase additional equipment, hardware, or software.
Disadvantage: Breaches and Leaks
As data moves between cloud storage and the user’s device or system, it is vulnerable to external attacks. The internet is not completely secure, and there are numerous existing vulnerabilities that can be exploited. In the first quarter of 2020, external threats to cloud services grew 630%, highlighting the need for secure data storage and transfer.
You can reduce the threat of external attacks by encrypting data when it is stored in the cloud and in-transit from one destination to another. Encrypted files give you the ability to control user access and monitor system activity. By maintaining visibility over your storage environment, you are better positioned to quickly identify and mitigate security risks.
Advantage: Disaster Recovery
Data stored in the cloud is backed up multiple times on servers in datacenters around the world. Building redundancy into data storage ensures that your data is safe in the event a server or entire datacenter is compromised. There is no single point of failure, and you can easily retrieve another copy of your data through an internet connection.
Because cloud service providers store identical copies of your data in several locations, your company can implement the 3-2-1 rule of secure backups. This is a key component in your company’s backup and recovery plan in which you have three copies of your data on at least two separate media, andand at least one backup at an off-site storage location.
How do companies benefit from enterprise cloud storage solutions?
In highly regulated industries, security is a critical component of cloud storage solutions. Fortunately, enterprise storage solutions often feature advanced security elements such as encryption, policy-based data retention, encryption key management, and detailed user logs.
For most organizations, applicable compliance requirements include the following:
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The GDPR deals with the protection and privacy of personal data. Companies must ensure that their CSP’s data protection services are compliant with GDPR guidelines. Under GDPR, you can be held responsible if your cloud storage provider violates GDPR standards, which is why enterprise CPSSPs provide additional levels of administrative and security features not found in consumer-grade solutions.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HIPPA protects the privacy and confidentiality of an individual’s Protected Health Information (PHI). A key HIPAA requirement for data protection is the offsite storage of data backups. If your data is stored in the cloud, you will need to store backup copies in a different location, such as another cloud storage solution or an on-premises server. Backups must also be encrypted both in transit and at rest, so they cannot be placed in unencrypted storage environments.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). In the US, all public companies must comply with SOX to protect the general public from errors and fraudulent practices (certain provisions also apply to privately held companies). Enterprise cloud storage solutions often have strong security measures in place for SOX compliance, such as access controls, encryption, and user authentication systems.
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA). The GLBA requires financial institutions to protect the confidentiality of their customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Its rules also apply to a company’s service providers and third-party affiliates, including cloud storage providers.
Enhance Your Cloud Security with WinZip Enterprise
Despite the benefits of cloud storage, it is not without its security risks. In fact, according to a 2020 cybersecurity study, the top concerns for cloud storage solutions include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Security misconfigurations.
- Lack of visibility into access and activities.
- Excessive user permissions.
These security concerns are well-founded since more than 79% of the surveyed companies had experienced a data breach in the last 18 months. Of those respondents, many were in highly-regulated industries such as finance, health, and government organizations.
For enhanced data protection, many businesses look to WinZip® Enterprise to simplify their file encryption processes. WinZip Enterprise’s AES encryption offers unsurpassed, military-grade protection that is leveraged by highly regulated companies handling sensitive data, including the financial services, insurance, healthcare, and defense and government sectors.