Depending on your business sector and scale, you’re going to have some digital data to keep – everything from photos and invoices, up to backups and databases. And you need to make sure you’re keeping them in a format that suits your needs, to ensure you operate as efficiently as possible.
I’m going to lay out three methods of storage, and which one, or combination would suit your business best.
Local storage is data stored locally, typically on one machine. For most small office-based businesses, this is where you start, as it’s all you need. Either on one machine, or stored on an external hard drive for a little bit of extra portability, local storage can be neat; tidy; and all in one easily accessible place.
And if that’s all you need, perfect – there’s nothing wrong with it, provided you regularly take backups just in case the worst happens. But if you’ve grown, or are a bigger business with a few workers in the office, a main networked location is probably best.
Network storage is a centrally controlled store of all your data, available to multiple users over your local network. This can be as complex, or as simple as it needs to be.
If it’s just one or two computers, a Networked Attached Storage device (NAS) might suit your needs. It is essentially another device connected to your business network which holds data separate from your computers. This is preferable to simply having all the data shared to the network from one PC, as it reduces stress on what would be the “main PC”.
However, if there are databases, proprietary software, and many large files, a dedicated server may be the way to go. Servers tend to be more powerful than a typical PC, and are better suited to the “heavy lifting” of constant access by staff.
There are other benefits to running a server on a local network. Check out our recent blog post on how a server might best serve you.
As we know, there are many things in the cloud, all for the same reasons – no worrying about backups, Increased security & accessibility.
If you’re the kind of business owner who is always on the move with a laptop, tablet or mobile phone – or even if you would like to be able to access your work files from home and away, cloud storage might suit you.
Many cloud environments can also work in tandem with both network and local storage – making sure that a copy is kept safe and sound, as well as the correct version saved across all your devices. If you don’t have a massive amount of data to store, cloud storage should definitely be considered, even if it is just as a backup.