When it comes to storage, businesses typically have two options to choose from: online document storage or on-site storage. Of course, there is no universal solution for all businesses, as each storage type has its own unique advantages and potential drawbacks. In general, however, it's been found that secure online document storage is a better option for most businesses than on-site storage—and for a number of reasons.
Ease of Use
For starters, online document storage platforms have special features that make them easier to use, more accessible, and more flexible than their on-site counterparts. This is especially true when it comes toexecutives who do business across several different regions or even internationally. Because they're able to access the stored files they need instantly and from anywhere, they can work from home and even while traveling. This is crucial for those with busy schedules who strive for time saving and efficient ways to get the job done. And online document storage makes it possible.
Furthermore, online document storage platforms make finding and accessing the files you need easier than ever. Through the use of search features, you can simply enter a keyword or phrase to immediately locate the document you need; no need to dig through filing cabinets full of folders, or sift through file after file on your workplace computer to find what you're looking for.
When it comes to sharing and uploading documents, online storage solutions also make this incredibly simple. You can even have control over who you wish to share the documents with and what access each user will have (read-only, edit, etc.). This, in addition to audit logs (which allow you to track changes to documents and see which users have been viewing them), mean you'll always have maximum control over your important documents and how they're used in the workplace.
Compared to on-site storage options, online document storage platforms also tend to be much more cost- effective for businesses of all sizes. For example, if your business wanted to set up its own on-site file-sharing servers, you would also be responsible for all costs related to maintaining those servers. Therefore, you're paying not only for the hardware and monthly fees, but for server maintenance fees, hardware upgrades, and other relevant costs. These costs can be unpredictable, making it difficult for businesses (especially smaller and mid-sized businesses) to budget appropriately.
When you go with an online secure document sharing platform, on the other hand, your costs are all-inclusive, so you never have to worry about surprise fees. Your monthly cost includes everything you need to keep your service running, including:
- server maintenance
- unlimited data storage
- decreased overhead spending
- dedicated customer support
In this sense, online document storage tends to be a more predictable and budget-friendly option for businesses of all sizes that want to make the most of their IT budgets. Not to mention, if your business were ever to relocate, you would also be able to save money by not having to worry about paying to relocate your servers or otherwise transfer your files. Instead, all of your documents would remain in the same convenient and remote location for easy access.
Added Peace of Mind
Security should always be of utmost importance for business owners looking for the right storage solution. That being said, there are numerous potential security advantages to choosing online document storage over on-site storage. Consider what would happen to your on-site data in the event of a disaster in the workplace (fire, flood, etc.). If your documents are physically stored in filing cabinets, chances are, that data is going to be long gone, and you'll be left hoping you have online back-ups somewhere. Even if you have an on-site server for storage of your important business files, there's good chance your server hardware will be damaged and that data potentially lost forever. Where would that leave your business?
With secure online storage, you'll never have to worry about your data being permanently lost as a result of an on-site disaster. Your files will always be securely stored online and ready to access. Not to mention, there are a number of security features you can enjoy when you rely on online document storage. Take two-factor authentication, for example. This security feature requires users to enter not only a valid username and password but an additional authentication code that's sent to the e-mail address on file in order to log-in. This, in addition to data encryption, provides additional layers of security so you can rest assured that only authorized users are able to access your files.
Speaking of access, with an online storage solution, you also have complete control over who has access to your documents. For example, you can easily designate certain users to have access to specific folders or files, keeping them off-limits from others. Alternatively, you can allow some users to have access to view documents but prevent them from editing them, printing them out, or otherwise sharing them in any way. These are just a few of the ways in which online document storage can provide you and your business with additional security and peace of mind.
Online or Offline: Which is Best For You?
Now that you have a better understanding of your storage options, how can you decide which is best for your business? As we mentioned before, there's no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" storage solution, which is why it's so important to evaluate and assess your company's storage needs and budget in order to come to the right conclusion.
Begin by considering the types of data you deal with and who needs to have access to it. For example, if you deal with a lot of files and documents on a daily basis, then on-site storage may be cumbersome and expensive. Furthermore, if you have a large number of employees who need regular access to files (especially if they work remotely), an online storage solution may be better because of the greater accessibility offered. Not to mention, online data storage platforms have unlimited data storage to accommodate your business when your storage needs change and grow.
You'll want to consider your company's precise server/IT budget when considering which option is best for you. If you're leaning towards offline storage, for example, you'll need to consider the potential costs associated with this- extra office space, equipment, and supplies plus additional staff to manage the documentation. What may seem like the cheaper option now may actually end up being more expensive when all factors are considered.
And finally, be sure to consider risk factors when deciding on a data storage option. For example, limiting access to certain employees or groups of employees can be crucial to the security of your documents. Permissions can be taken away, additional access can be granted and programmed easily in order to make sure human error doesn’t cause any sensitive data leaks.
Duplicated documents can also cause headaches or even the derailing of your most sensitive business deals. Virtual data storage allows for seamless collaboration and ensures documents that undergo numerous revisions are always current and marked as such.
And if your physical business location (and its data) are located in a floodplain, then you're definitely going to want to have online data storage (either for primary use or even as a back-up) so that you don't lose your files. And remember that a disaster can strike at any time, so having only one physical copy of your important files and documents is never a good idea. You want to make sure that, in the event of a disaster, you'll never have to worry about your data being completely lost.
As you can see, there's a lot to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a storage solution that's right for your business. Certainly, online data storage tends to be the more advantageous option for many business owners, but every company's needs are unique. For this reason, it's important to evaluate a few key factors so you can make an informed decision as to which is right for your business.