StorageThe small business world has changed so much in recent years, and that is no more evident than when it comes to storing files and data. Gone are the days of multiple filing cabinets, and in are cloud-based data storage alternatives the keep your information safe and secure without taking up any physical space at your place of business.

The benefits of a cloud-based storage system go well beyond the added square footage you’ll regain in the office. It will give you the needed space to meet certain government regulations that require businesses to keep or backup data that may have been deleted in the past. And with new laws on the books regarding business emails, many small businesses are archiving emails for half a decade, again requiring more space for data.

If you factor in things like larger files due to video, and having the ability to have any file readily available to anyone on the network, you will find that you need a better, more advanced solution for your data storage needs. Think of a cloud solution as a Web-based external hard drive.

Here are a few of the most popular storage options:

  • Carbonite: Carbonite offers services that include automatic backup, easy restore capabilities and access to the files from anywhere at any time. Files it can store include documents, spreadsheets, emails, point-of-sale files, pictures and graphics, videos, financial and accounting files and customer relationship management files. There are plans for individuals, businesses and businesses with server needs. Prices range from $59 to $799 a year.
  • Google Drive: Google Drive offers 15GB of free cloud storage and access to Google’s Web-based productivity suite. Save, edit and invite others to work on your files right on Google Drive itself. Additional storage is available for purchase when you sign up for a monthly subscription.
  • JustCloud: JustCloud is a service that automatically backs up your files from your computer to the cloud so you can access your files from anywhere, on any capable device. You’ll have the ability to sync multiple computers and mobile devices to your cloud. JustCloud also offers 24/7 technical support.

If cloud-based storage isn’t right for your business, there are other storage options available, including:

  • External hard drives: Might be the cheapest option available and the easiest way to increase your data storage capacity. Limitations include having to carry the drive with you if you’re going to be away from the office. Another issue is there is no backup if something terrible happens, like a fire or flood.
  • Flash memory thumb drives: Compact and easy to carry, but space limitations cause you to need a number of these for bigger jobs or files.
  • Network-Attached Storage (NAS): The experts at SearchStorage describe NAS as a type of dedicated file storage device that provides local area network (LAN) nodes with file-based shared storage through a standard Ethernet connection.

There are many options available to you; all you need to do is a little research to find what best fits your business needs.