Reimagining Data Storage: Embracing the Cloud for Security, Convenience, and Cost Savings
Cloud storage has experienced significant growth in recent years. According to Statista, the cloud storage market was valued at 70.19 billion U.S. dollars in 2021. The market is estimated to grow to 376.67 billion U.S. dollars by 2029, with a forecast compound annual growth rate of 24 percent. 
As per Exploding Topics ,
- Around 60% of corporate data is stored in the cloud
- The amount of corporate data stored in the cloud has at least doubled since 2015
- Over 50% of companies store business records in the public cloud
- 89% of companies use a multi-cloud approach
For the majority of businesses, big or small, cloud computing has become an undeniable necessity. While the data speaks volume for itself, why should you consider making the move to the cloud or purchasing cloud services to safeguard your valuable and private information?
Here are three crucial aspects you need to know:
- Cloud Computing is Secure! Security concerns have consistently ranked high among businesses considering or using the cloud. However, as organizations increasingly migrate their workloads to the cloud, they are realizing that with simple precautions, cloud storage can indeed be secure. If you are considering or already using the cloud, taking steps to maintain data security is paramount.
- Check Current/Potential Cloud Provider Service Agreements: Prior to signing any agreements, thoroughly review the terms to ensure they meet privacy, security, and government regulations relevant to your field or service. When reviewing the service agreements with your cloud provider, explicitly request that they provide a SOC 2 Type 2 report. SOC 2 (System and Organization Controls) compliance ensures that the provider’s systems and controls are designed and operating effectively to meet key security principles, including security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy. Only proceed if you are comfortable with the agreement or negotiate until you reach an acceptable compromise. Microsoft Azure Services undergo rigorous third party SOC2 Type 2 audits on periodic basis to ensure security requirements.
- Encryption: Encryption is widely regarded as the most effective method for ensuring data security. By encrypting your data, you add an extra layer of protection, making it nearly impossible to access without the appropriate key or password. The American Bar Association suggests utilizing encrypted cloud services, as they offer unparalleled security. Additionally, an article from CIO titled “Tips to Keep Your Data Secure in the Cloud” confirms that encryption is highly effective at safeguarding data. Make sure your data is protected through encryption.
- Audit Trails: Maintaining full audit trail logs can help deter data breaches. By recording and documenting every action that occurs, tampering with documents or information becomes evident, as does any unauthorized access or data extraction.
- Have a Plan in Place: Human error remains a significant factor in data breaches. Ensure your company has a comprehensive plan and policies in place to safeguard passwords, laptops, emails, and other points of entry that could compromise important data.
- Cloud Computing is Convenient! The cloud offers businesses the convenience of quick and secure collaboration from anywhere, at any time. According to the American Bar Association’s ABA Techreport 2022, “Small and medium-sized firms reported the next highest use of cloud service – roughly 75%”. Storing data in the cloud eliminates the time-consuming process of searching through emails and paper files or relying on colleagues to find information. As per VentureBeat, “The average employee spends 3.6 hours daily searching for information — an increase of one hour more from last year’s report. IT employees spend half their day (4.2 hours) looking for relevant information.” 
Cloud-based communication and collaboration save valuable minutes and hours by enabling secure searches across vast amounts of information in mere minutes.
- Cloud Computing Saves Money! Cloud services supported by external providers result in significant cost savings. The ability to scale resources on demand allows businesses to allocate investments strategically and focus spending on areas that require immediate attention. The savings continue to accumulate as more applications migrate to the cloud. According to Foundry’s 2022 Cloud Computing research, “69% of companies have accelerated their cloud migration over the past 12 months, and the percentage of companies with most or all IT infrastructure in the cloud is expected to leap from 41% today to 63% in the next 18 months.” “According to a survey by Rackspace, 88% of small businesses reported cost savings as a result of using cloud computing.”  Specific areas where businesses recognize cost savings include:
- Decrease in Capital Expenses: Cloud computing reduces the need for hardware, physical space, and associated electricity costs.
- Decrease in Storage Costs: Archived records, information, and data can be stored in the cloud at a lower cost compared to physical storage options.
- Decrease in Internal IT Staff: Cloud computing increases efficiency, reducing the need for extensive internal IT resources.
- More Budget for Operational Expenses: By streamlining infrastructure and reducing upfront costs, businesses can allocate more of their budget to other operational expenses.
Whether you choose a public cloud provider like Microsoft Azure, an exclusive private cloud, or a hybrid cloud that combines both, conducting thorough research is crucial. Cloud computing has been evolving since the late 1990s and is now becoming the standard for data storage due to its security, convenience, and cost savings. Government offices, healthcare organizations, law firms, private businesses, and various other industries trust the cloud to store their data. The Healthcare Data Storage Market was valued at USD 4.12 billion in 2022, with an estimated growth to USD 12.17 billion by 2030, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5% during the forecast period of 2023-2030, as reported by SNS Insider. 
To maximize the value of storing your data in the cloud, prioritize data security, leverage anytime, anywhere access, and utilize the scalability offered by cloud providers to invest resources where they are most needed.