The Many Options for Online File Storage

It wasn’t that long ago that off-site file storage was an option only the largest companies could consider. But with the explosion of cloud computing, businesses of all sizes can benefit from having a secure backup of all their important files. Online file storage has even grown into the consumer market, so everyone now has an option for protecting their information from loss or destruction.

With the myriad of benefits of online file storage, it’s surprising that more people and businesses didn’t take advantage of it until recently. This type of file backup provides a quick and simple way to ensure that all important files are safe, with very little effort required on the part of the client. Online storage can protect data against hardware failure, malicious software and user mistakes, and can provide a working save point for people attempting complex calculations on your data. Since the backup files are stored off-site in multiple locations, your information is protected, even from physical disasters.

Basic/free/Web-based solutions

The growth of file backup’s infrastructure, paired with a plunge in the cost of storage, has allowed even individuals to take advantage of hands-off backup. Companies like Box.net, Zipcloud and Dropbox offer simple, secure backup solutions that you can set up and begin using in just minutes. Once you establish which file folders you want to secure, the program does the rest, allowing you to know your files are secure without having to remember to back them up. These services are often offered free of charge up to a certain amount of data, although some may charge you for bandwidth usage, so there is no reason for anyone to live without data protection.

Mid-grade

For businesses that need a more comprehensive solution than a free online backup can provide, a number of data storage providers offer a slightly higher grade of service. These services don’t offer a free solution, but in return they offer a slightly more comprehensive and feature-rich experience. Services like Mozy and Carbonite offer a number of advanced features, including incremental backups, managed encryption keys and multiple backup versions. There are even some enterprise-level solutions, like Amazon and Rackspace, that are scalable enough to compete in this space. As the cloud grows, the mid-market file storage options may disappear as larger players are able to use the cloud’s elasticity to compete in this market.

Enterprise level

For larger companies that generate massive amounts of data on a daily basis, a truly comprehensive online data storage solution is needed. A number of large companies, like Amazon, IBM, HP and Rackspace, offer data storage solutions that can handle the massive amount of information a large enterprise can produce. Some of these companies, like Rackspace, are even harnessing the power of the cloud to give businesses even more data backup options. Cloud backup allows businesses to only pay for the storage and bandwidth they actually use, and a worldwide CDN allows for quick access to those files when needed. In the case of Rackspace, the company also maintains and updates its API, allowing developers to get the most out of their code.

Whether you need one file backed up, or a million files a day, there is a solution out there that makes the process simple. As more and more people see the benefits of online file storage, expect the industry to experience some growth over the next few years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that new players will come into the space. The world of online storage has pretty much everyone covered right now, from DropBox’s simple individual storage to Rackspace’s full-cloud enterprise solution, it’s just a matter of finding the company that matches your exact needs.