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Horses for courses: Is Google Drive really the best bet for businesses?


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The news that Google is offering up to 5GB of cloud-based storage for free with its new Google Drive is great news for consumers looking to store their personal and online content.

However, as consumers become more drawn to the cloud to store their data, it’s crucial to remember that when it comes to cloud-based storage, you get what you pay for.

Yes, Google Drive looks like being a great solution for consumers but the key phrase here is “for consumers”. Google Drive, for all its new features, is still a public cloud – fine for your personal photos but OK for your business data? We don’t think so.

High-profile data centre outages, for example those that disrupted customers of Amazon and Microsoft at the end of last year, clearly demonstrate the important distinction between consumer-grade Cloud, with its best-effort agreements and a business-grade Cloud service, which offers 100% availability.

3 key reasons that private is best for business

1.  Robust Service Level Agreements
The lack of robust Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for public cloud services make them a less than ideal solution for businesses. With an experienced provider of private cloud services, you are guaranteed a secure consistent service with round-the-clock availability. In addition, with the private cloud, as the recent Megaupload situation highlights,  you might not even be able to access your data – although to be fair this seems an unlikely scenario in the case of Google Drive.

2.  Flexibility
With the public cloud, you tend to get an out-of-the-box, one-size fits all solution. With an enterprise-grade, private cloud service you can more or less tailor the service to fit your organisation’s specific needs. In addition, you can integrate a number of different services to give you fluid back-end operation across a wide range of business functions.

3. Knowing where your data is
With large public cloud storage you have no idea where your data is stored. For all you know, it might be outside the UK, which is not great; for financial and legal organisations, it’s not even allowed. And, as I’ve pointed out in an earlier blog,  with the US Patriot Act able to enforce companies with a US presence to give investigators access to your stored data, knowing that your data is stored in a privately owned UK data centre can bring peace of mind not available from the multinational public clouds.

The important thing when looking at the cloud is, therefore, to determine exactly what you’re going to  be getting for your money.  You don’t just have to take our word for it – we know from the rapid uptake of space in our new next-generation Reading data centre that while “free” might be attractive to some, for the reasons I’ve given above, there is still very much a place for “business-class”.

So yes, by all means take up the offer of free 5GB storage, but when you then start paying, remember if you’re a business that you may not just pay with cash but also with your business integrity.



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