The market for cloud service providers is vast and you will find both large corporations like Amazon and Microsoft on the one hand, and smaller businesses on the other, offering equally attractive, bespoke solutions. So, choosing a cloud storage provider amongst so many choices is not going to be easy. This is precisely why you must know what to look for when you are searching for a vendor.

Before you start your search for the best cloud storage provider, you must understand what kinds of storage are available and what your business needs.  For instance, enterprise file sharing is a kind of storage service similar to local hard drives on computers. It can store data in clouds so that this can be accessed from any type of device. The Dropbox is a typical example of an enterprise file sharing solution.

Another important cloud storage solution is cloud backup services which are perhaps the lowest-cost storage services. These will keep replicas of the existing storage within a cloud so that it can be retrieved in the event of calamities and accidents.

Archiving is another low-cost cloud storage which is very much like cloud backup and they are meant for storing cold data which the business is not likely to access often.

Cloud vendors are known for offering different types of storage solutions like file storage, block storage and object storage. The object storage type is more popular due to its scalability while block storage is better for Big Data.

Some cloud vendors even offer data warehousing which is for storing data in databases or data warehouses. This is useful when businesses plan on using cloud-based business intelligence.

Data Lakes are used when businesses have huge volumes of unstructured data which cannot be accommodated into warehouses.

Finally, there is hybrid cloud storage which is for storing specific data in the private cloud and some within a public cloud. This is useful when businesses have data which they are not able to shift to a cloud due to security or compliance requirements.

What should you look at when choosing a Cloud Storage Provider?

When you have identified the best kind of cloud storage for your business you may then consider location of the data centers of the providers you have shortlisted. There are countries with laws which insist that client data must be kept in the country where that client resides. So, in case you do business in such countries, you must get hold of a vendor which has data centers there.

When the data centers are too far away from the business, disaster recovery may be delayed and performance may also be affected. With too much of a distance between the company and data center, the latency will be greater. Again, when your vendor has data centers in regions which are prone to natural calamities, outages may be common.

One of the most crucial factors which you must consider when choosing a cloud storage provider is the security it can offer. You must investigate the available security measures and ensure that these are scalable.

Another important factor for choosing a cloud storage provider is the costs. Sometimes, even though businesses may move to the cloud for lowering storage costs, this does not always happen. Cloud pricing can turn out to be quite complicated and businesses are seen to be struggling to get plans which are worth every penny they spend for them.

Cloud vendors can offer varying degrees of performance because of differences in their hardware, network speeds, and distance between cloud data centers and end-users etc. So, you must make sure that you choose a plan which can give you the degree of performance that you need.

Redundancy and uptime are also two important considerations when you choose cloud storage. When you have mission critical data hosted on the site, you cannot afford to have downtimes. Archived data, on the other hand, is rarely accessed and this will not need any uptime guarantees. So, you need to choose the right kind of storage service which can cater to the kind of data you must store.

Data which is moved to a cloud must integrate with existing applications. So, prior to migration, you must ensure that the services can support your current IT management tools; else, you have to look elsewhere.

Managing data storage in the cloud is not identical to managing data storage locally. You cannot physically touch the storage and you may need innovative management tools. Your task is to see if your storage vendor can offer these to you and if they need you to take training before they can be used.

Cloud storage solutions are typically scalable and clients must understand correctly how much they want their storage services to scale.

Finally, you should be aware of the data transfer fees you have to pay in case you switch a cloud storage provider. You may be forced to change your provider when its services become unsatisfactory.