Saturday, January 4, 2014

Differences and similarities between business and personal cloud servers



Both businesses and individuals use “the cloud” for various purposes, above all to save space on their hard drives. Some cloud servers serve exclusively one or the other and there will necessary be numerous differences between the two types, some of which are described below.


Backup strategies

When it comes to needing a backup strategy - and this is especially true when you are working with the cloud - the demands are greater for business than for personal data. Backup is of tremendous importance because after all, a file is only as good as its most recent backup. Anyone who prizes the data on his or her computer naturally wants to have it backed up so that it will not be lost, but for businesses this requirement is especially great.

Businesses have traditionally used on-site solutions to conduct backup operations, using a server to back up their software and tapes or disks for their audio and video files. They have created two sets of backups, one on-site and one off-site for safekeeping. More recently, businesses have been turning to other ways of backing up their data and cloud computing has become the greatest trend.

Large amounts of business data

The demands are greater for business for several reasons. One is that businesses - even the smallest of them - tend to accumulate larger stores of data than do private individuals, sometimes even entering the terabyte (trillion-byte) range. With such huge data storage, it may not be enough simply to back it up on the cloud, and so many companies provide local as well as cloud backup; DriveHQ is an example of such a hybrid service provider. Much bandwidth can be saved by this method.

Compliance regulations

Another reason is the large number of compliance regulations regarding business cloud storage, which apply even to the small offices of doctors or lawyers. Business users have to worry about whether the data centers in which the cloud backup services that they use store their data are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) or the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX), a federal law that sets forth the standards by which all public accounting firms and public company boards must abide. Personal users, on the other hand, do not have to concern themselves with these regulations. The backup solution provider Zetta is one that is very useful to businesses as it satisfies compliance requirements.


Security is the third reason. Company computer systems are breached and compromised practically every day now. Events involving a department of the federal government of Canada in December 2012 showed just how unsafe it is to back up data on a portable device alone can be; a secure cloud server is usually just what businesses need. Then, too, there are other considerations, such as archiving business data (again, there are regulations in place that dictate how long companies of a certain type must keep their files) and the need to test the integrity of backups proactively rather than wait until one or more files are too badly corrupted to be restored. Of course home users need to worry about these things too, but not quite to the same extent.


Different types of data

It is not just the differing backup needs that distinguishes business and personal cloud servers from each other; they also store different types of data in the cloud. The private individual may use the cloud to store such personal items as photographs, videos of himself or herself and his family, friends, pets and other cherished people and things, and audio recordings, whereas the businessperson stores accounting records of all kinds - balance sheets, income statements, statements of cash flows, journals, general and special ledgers and so on. They are also interested in the capacity to share data among staff members and employees who may be in different locations, particularly if the business is a nationwide or international venture. One of the best cloud computing companies and services like DropBox are thus of special interest to the business-oriented individual.

For the individual, the loss of data may be little more than an inconvenience. For the business, such a loss can result in a serious decrease in revenue.


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