Data Storage Solutions For Business Owners

Don’t risk storing your important files on a USB memory stick anymore. A cloud-based storage solution is a ‘no-brainer’ for business owners, allowing access to important documents from wherever they are, via their desktop, laptop or mobile devices. Anyone with experience in disaster recovery understands the importance of secure, easily accessible off-site storage.

The market leader in online storage is undoubtedly Dropbox. Created in 2007 when founder Drew Houston forgot to take his USB drive to a university lecture, Dropbox allows you to create a file accessible via a website and mobile app and synchronised over various computers. Dropbox is so popular now that one billion files are saved on it every day, accounting for 20% of all bandwidth consumed globally by browser-based file-sharing services. This compares to 1% for its nearest rival, Hightail (formerly YouSendIt).

It operates like any other folder on your computer but this can be shared and updated online and ideal when you need to access important files on the go. Importantly, it can be shared with staff so everyone has access to the current version of a file. Dropbox’s clear, simple design makes it fairly easy to understand and use. You simply sign up, create a folder and decide who to share your files with.

There are other file storage systems such as Hightail and Huddle, the latter of which is tipped to challenge Dropbox’s market dominance. Google Docs continues to be popular for spreadsheets and Word documents. In Australia, Shoeboxed is also making inroads and you can scan and organise receipts and documents with this application.

Dropbox has default storage space of 2GB. But you can expand that storage by referring the service to others. To do so, just go to the Dropbox home page and then click on the ‘referral’ link, which sits next to the first sign-up option. There, you’ll be taken to a page where you can invite your contacts to sign up and each sign-up gets your more storage so you can get up to 16GB of additional space.

Some business owners resist cloud-based technology because they fear their files will be compromised if they trust it to the ‘cloud’. A common misconception about the cloud is that it literally is up in the air for anyone to see but cloud infrastructure is physical with state of the art data centres, which for any business is far more secure than an on-site server could ever be.

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