Scalable cloud data storage: Definition and best practices

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Whether you’re a startup with ambitious expansion plans or an established corporation hoping to gain a competitive edge, you need a scalable infrastructure to accommodate evolving demands. Your capacity to store and manage increasing data workloads will determine your growth or stagnation.

In this article, we show how cloud data storage provides the flexibility, cost-efficiency, and accessibility required to scale your operations with ease.

What is cloud data storage?

Cloud data storage refers to the practice of storing digital information on remote servers accessible via the internet. Unlike traditional on-premises storage, where data is stored on local hardware, cloud storage offers a distributed infrastructure that enables easy scaling of resources based on demand. You won’t need additional hardware to increase your capacity, because a third-party cloud provider is responsible for hosting, managing, and securing your data.

Here's a quick breakdown of the differences between on-prem and cloud storage for data:

On-premises data storageCloud data storage
InfrastructureRequires dedicated physical servers, hardware, and network infrastructureUses off-site servers hosted and managed by third-party providers
OwnershipOrganization owns and controls hardware and softwareCloud provider owns and manages underlying hardware and software
ScalabilityLimited, as it requires hardware upgradesHighly scalable, as resources can be easily adjusted
CostsHigh upfront costs for hardware procurement and installation; maintenance overheadLower initial costs; pay-as-you-go model; maintenance typically handled by the cloud data storage service
AccessibilityTypically confined to local premisesFrom anywhere with an internet connection

Gartner forecasts 51% of enterprise IT spending in key market segments will have shifted from traditional solutions to the public cloud by 2025. Moving data to the cloud addresses the limitations of on-premises infrastructure while also opening the door to improved scalability, enhanced accessibility, and reduced costs. 

How does cloud data storage work?

These five simplified steps illustrate how scalable data storage in the cloud typically works:

  1. Users or organizations upload their data, such as files, documents, images, or videos, to cloud storage services through an internet connection.
  2. The cloud provider divides the uploaded data into smaller chunks and distributes them across different servers. This distribution ensures data redundancy and availability. If one server or data center fails or experiences issues, there are other copies available to maintain data integrity and accessibility.
  3. The cloud storage provider manages the infrastructure and resources needed to store and protect the data. This step includes tasks such as file encryption, replication, and regular backups.
  4. Users access their stored data from anywhere using web browsers, mobile apps, or APIs provided by the cloud storage service. A zero-trust approach to authentication and access controls ensures that only authorized users can access the data.
  5. As data storage needs change, the cloud provider dynamically allocates resources to handle increased or decreased requirements.

Need help understanding your cloud requirements? Read our guide on how much storage you need

Key benefits of cloud data storage

Scalable cloud storage benefit

In 2015, only one-fourth of the world’s data was stored in cloud environments. By 2025, half of the world’s data will be stored in the cloud, per Cybersecurity Ventures. As more data is migrated to the cloud, the demand for storage capacity grows. In fact, the increased need for more flexible and agile solutions is driving the global cloud market to grow at a CAGR of 18.5 percent from 2022 to 2027.

Let’s take a closer look at the top benefits of scalable cloud data storage.

Easy access to cloud storage systems boosts business efficiency

With cloud storage for data, you can access your files and folders from anywhere with an internet connection. Whether you’re in the office, at home, or on the go, cloud storage ensures that your documents are readily available whenever you need them. 

For instance, your sales team can quickly retrieve critical customer information during client meetings using enterprise cloud document storage. Easy access to data facilitates expansion into new locations and remote work setups, promoting agile decision-making. 

Cloud-based data storage reduces infrastructure costs

Cloud-based data storage eliminates the requirement for extensive physical hardware, reducing upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses. It also enables organizations to handle a larger workload without the burden of investing in additional physical infrastructure.

A legal firm, for example, can cut down costs associated with maintaining traditional filing systems by shifting to cloud-based document storage. The company saves on physical storage equipment, space, and the administrative effort required for organizing and managing paper documents. 

How cloud storage scalability enables business growth 

Cloud data storage is scalable because it allows for easy allocation of resources. Here are the key characteristics of cloud scalability in enabling businesses to grow with ease.

Cloud elasticity 

Cloud-based data storage is elastic because it allows businesses to scale resources up (adding more storage) or down (reducing storage allocation) based on demand fluctuations. Elastic storage ensures optimal performance during peak times while avoiding overprovisioning during quieter periods.

Pay-as-you-go model

Unlike the hefty upfront costs of traditional infrastructure expansion, upgrade, and maintenance, a storage data cloud operates on a pay-as-you-go basis. Businesses only pay for the resources they consume, making scaling more predictable and cost effective. You won’t have to worry about running out of capacity and adding infrastructure to scale up with demand. 

Rapid cloud deployment  

Data storage in the cloud enables rapid provisioning of resources, accelerating the deployment of new services or features. You won’t have to procure and wait for new hardware, as the third-party providers already have the infrastructure in place, enabling you to scale quickly, without disruptions or downtime. This agility is crucial in capturing market opportunities promptly. 

Increased cloud-based collaboration 

Cloud storage makes it easier to access and share data from any connected device, facilitating effective collaboration in the workplace. Easy access to data storage enhances productivity and innovation while eliminating barriers for geographically dispersed teams. 

Best practices for data storage in the cloud

Embracing cloud solutions offers competitive advantages and opportunities for innovation. McKinsey estimates cloud adoption could generate about $1 trillion in value for US Fortune 500 companies in 2030. 

Cloud adoption value at stake

To make the most out of your scalable cloud storage initiatives, consider these best practices:

  • Prioritize robust security measures to safeguard sensitive information. Implement encryption, access controls, and regular audits to maintain data governance and compliance.
  • Develop a comprehensive backup and recovery strategy. Regularly back up data and test recovery processes to ensure business continuity in case of unexpected events.
  • Monitor resource usage to prevent unnecessary expenses. Implement cost-tracking tools and adopt optimization techniques to control cloud expenditures.

A well-executed cloud strategy ensures not only seamless growth but also data integrity, cost-effectiveness, and operational resilience.

Looking to increase productivity in the workplace? Explore cloud productivity solutions.

All the scalability your data storage needs with the Content Cloud 

Whether you need to create files, collaborate in real time from any device, sign contracts electronically, or manage document retention, Box has you covered. 

We provide a single platform for all your cloud data storage needs. The Content Cloud is a game changer for business scalability, streamlining workflows, and enhancing productivity across all teams. 

With our enterprise-grade security and compliance, you get strong user authentication with SSO and MFA support, device trust, AES 256-bit encryption at rest and in transit, and more.

Ready to scale your business with Box? Contact us to explore our data storage cloud features and use cases.

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**While we maintain our steadfast commitment to offering products and services with best-in-class privacy, security, and compliance, the information provided in this blogpost is not intended to constitute legal advice. We strongly encourage prospective and current customers to perform their own due diligence when assessing compliance with applicable laws.

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