The one thing that a business needs to survive that’s equally as important as paying customers, is data. In today’s digital world, data is big money. Especially to companies that help you recover it for a (sometimes) nominal fee. The cheapest and most effective way to prevent your business handing over stacks of notes to a recovery company is making sure you don’t lose it in the first place. Easier said than done though, in a few well known cases. So grab a mug of brew, pencil to the ready and prepare to copy the Tech Doctors notes on the best way to protect your data that doesn’t upset your bank manager.
Related: Working from home could make you the best boss ever.
USB vs Hard Drive vs Cloud
Right about now, all the tech bodies are probably thinking “Why are you not mentioning the other types of storage?!” and it’s simple. This guide is specific to you, the small business. For most small business (who don’t have tens of thousands of pounds budget on data storage) this guide will give you the best insight into storing those documents both securely and on suitable budgets to your needs. In this guide, we will talk about USB, Hard Drives (HDD) and Cloud storage to determine what works best for your business, and why.

The USB – Trusted device since the beggining of time.

The USB stick (or thumb drive as it’s also known) has been the go to storage device for generations because of it’s mobility and fits in the pocket easily.

USB devices gives you a sense of security because of the ability to keep it on you at all times. Like money, if it’s in your pocket you know where it is.

It’s also something you can hold, giving you the feeling of being able to do what you want with it.

The Pros: A USB device is extremely cheap to buy making them even cheaper to replace should it break. They’re also a good way to brand market your business as they can be decorated with various information and given away to prospects fairly cheap.

USB devices are incredibly handy for that quick transfer of information from A to B without the internet.

The Cons: USB devices are small, they can be easily stolen or lost. Equally they are also prone to breaking if stood on or put through the washing machine.

They are also not designed to be used in the same way a hard drive is, meaning they have a limited life span.

USB devices are incredibly easy to break with the amount of times that they are inserted and removed from a USB port, making them highly likely to break within a year of owning one with regular usage.

They also rely on power from the USB port, adding additional risk to shorting out without notice.

The Verdict: A USB device should only be your go to storage if you are making a copy of the original file from another storage place.

Because of the highly likely event of loss with one, having copies of the original file will save you money should it no longer work.

 

Hard Drives – The magic box that no one really thinks about.

The hard disk drive or HDD for short, is the data storage inside your computer or laptop.

In today’s modern computers, there are a number of different hard drive styles with different benefits.

The most common are mechanical drives (pictured) which have moving parts resulting in slower speeds and Solid State Drives don’t have moving parts which results in a much faster speed.

Compared to USB drives which are not designed for continuous usage (constantly being used without a break) HDD / SSD units are designed to be used day in, day out without stopping.

External USB HDD (cable connected external disks) are also forms of hard drives in a case to allow use via USB.

The Pros: Storing data on a computer or laptop means the data is readily available for easy access.

Because a computer or laptop is where you install programs on, it’s also the most likely place you can keep the program and data together. Computers normally have a lot more space than a USB stick as well.

You can easily password protect and encrypt a drive to prevent the data on the disk from being stolen easily should the device be lost, removed from your possession or discarded / recycled.

The Cons: Like USB devices, physical storage drives can be stolen, damaged or lost. This makes the device an unpredictable gamble with your business data.

No physical hardware will last forever, especially when unknown events like power cuts, flooding or theft / break ins can render any physical storage at high risk.

Hard drives are more expensive than USB drives, meaning that they also provide more in the way of storage space, but also comes in larger sizes taking up more space.

Statistically, like USB devices, hard drives can break without warning and take the data stored on it with it. Recovering data from a dead disk can cost anywhere between £180 – £750 to be recovered.

The Verdict: Because a computer or laptop needs an HDD or SSD to run, you’re going to have one inside it to put information on.

It’s very handy to just add documents to the disk without thinking about the worst. Recommended to at least use computer backups to cloud to protect against the worst disasters such as theft, fire or floods which would destroy all storage on site, including USB devices.

Cloud Backups cost around £15 per computer per month if you want to put the machine back to the state it was at the last backup. Click here to ask us about it.

 

Cloud Storage – The magical storage that sits on the internet.

Cloud storage is a way of storing important information away from your location to keep them safe against on location theft, fire and storage.

When most businesses think of cloud storage, the idea of having your important files out of your hands can be a scary concept. It also becomes a talking point about costs when compared against one-off investments like USB devices.

Cloud storage is, in itself, putting the pressures of keeping data safe into the hands of another company in exchange for a monthly subscription.

This means that keeping your data safe and secure is paramount to any cloud storage supplier.

Currently there are many cloud storage providers and different levels of subscription to get the necessary access and level of storage needed to keep your files safe.

The Pros: Having cloud storage gives you two options. Instant access from a computer, laptop or mobile device on the go in the exact same way that you would store a file on your device.

It also means that should the device break or become stolen, the file is readily accessible from a web browser or another computer.

Cloud files are shareable so that multiple people can work on them together providing a business much needed collaboration with other staff or suppliers.

Storing files in the cloud also provides 100% protection against fire, theft, floods and other disasters which would render a business inoperable for a period of time.

One other key benefit, is remote working. Because cloud storage means you can work from anywhere, your staff can perform most duties they would in the office whilst working from home.

The Cons: Cloud storage is normally a subscription based service to provide enhanced features like sharing permissions and collaboration real time document editing. Business cloud storage will frequently be tied in with other packages to provide better options.

Cloud storage is heavily reliant on internet speed, so if your internet connection is low then you may experience slower sync between your device and the cloud server itself.

When considering which provider to use, it’s easy to have your account hacked if you don’t use multiple authentication methods which is more frequently unused on consumer accounts vs business accounts.

Equally, in some cases where IT Support is not present and recovery options for your account are not set up, you can also find yourself in a position where you are locked out of your account without being able to get back in.

The Verdict – RecommendedCloud storage is the most secure form of storing data which does come at a cost, but the cost of cloud storage is far far cheaper than complete loss or expensive recovery vs Hard Drive or USB.

It’s also a lot less downtime when failure occurs, as your files can be accessed from another location or device.

Providers like Google or Microsoft also allow editing files direct from a web browser, meaning that you can use a full Office suite in the cloud without ever installing the programs on your computer and still operate at 100%.

Subscriptions for cloud storage including online editing with Microsoft starts from £3.80 per user per month, with 1TB of available storage and 50GB of email inbox, which can also be accessed and edited from computers, smart phones & tablets, resulting in truly mobile and secure.

Related: Working from home could make you the best boss ever.

Have you ever lost important data before? Let us know in the comments!

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