Backup and Storage

Cloud uptake offers flexible solution for archiving and data back-up, says expert

Computer Weekly finds the strengths and weaknesses of cloud computing in 2012.

Cloud storage offers a number of flexible solutions for UK businesses small and large alike, and one of the key uses of the service lies in document storage.

However, there are two kinds of documents – those ones your business uses day-to-day that are constantly updated, and archived documents that it’s good to have on file. And while cloud storage offers a solution for both, Computer Weekly’s Antony Adshead and Manek Dubash argue that the service’s strength lies in providing small businesses with flexible archive document storage.

"[Primary cloud storage] is still cloud data storage’s weakest area, but that is not to say the cloud cannot handle primary data at all; it just has its limits," the experts noted. For those businesses without access to high-speed broadband, response times could hinder access to software or frequently used documents.

But for back-up data storage, the cloud becomes a ‘more realistic option’ for small businesses, whatever their resources.

"Most backups are not accessed again, but the option to access recent copies is desirable if, for example, users accidentally delete data," the experts added. "For that reason, pure cloud backup – that is, with no local storage – is probably best suited to small businesses that can handle a wait to get data back from their cloud provider, should they need it."

Both go on to note that latency and bandwidth are two primary reasons affecting cloud uptake, with those businesses without access to the best broadband speeds finding cloud storage a less realistic option.

But as fibre broadband is rolled out across the country, a recent Cloud Industry Form (CIF) survey has found that cloud adoption is on the rise – but security fears are an issue.

The study of 250 IT decision-makers in the UK found that institutional fears over outsourcing sensitive data storage to a third party were holding back adoption, with 90 per cent of those in the public sector expressing such a fear.