Get to know your cloud storage bill: How to choose the best options

When it comes to using a public cloud, there are incredible advantages – for a price. But what are you really paying for?

While the flat rate you see advertised may be appealing, there are several details that can raise or lower your cloud storage bill. Could you be paying for something you don’t need, and how can you lower your expenses by factoring in certain specifics before you choose a provider? Get a closer look at your cloud storage bill:

Itemising your bill

1.Price per GB: Most cloud providers price based on the amount of gigabytes used. Ones like Amazon reduce their rates per GB if you require a massive amount of storage, and others keep it steady despite your level of data. In either case, this rate is affected by how redundant or active your data is – or, in other words, whether it just sits there or is often interacted with. The idea behind this is to reward businesses that use their cloud as the primary point of storage rather than branching out over several.

2.Storage actions: To put it simply, storage actions are all the changes, adjustments, and deletions of the data within your cloud storage. If you move something to a new file within, get rid of it entirely, or post it, these are all considered actions which your cloud provider will track, tally up, and then charge a price for hosting these actions. Some providers, such as Amazon S3, don’t charge for storage actions. This can catch businesses off guard when they go to a provider that does.

3.Transfer costs: When you work within the cloud, whether public or hybrid cloud, it’s free. However, some providers charge a fee for removing data for their storage. While most will allow companies to transfer data in at no cost, when it comes to migrating to a separate cloud, removing data for edits and then replacing it, or sharing data across multiple clouds, this can incur a high level of expense.

How to choose the best option: Consider employee fluency

Ultimately, it’s your employees that will be interacting with the cloud. How easy their process is made will affect the rates you have to pay them, the amount of tech support required to help them navigate the new platform, and how efficiently the data is being used – which affects your profits.

If your employees aren’t as fluent with the cloud, they may trial and error with managing the data and boost the price of your storage actions. This makes an option with lower prices on action fees – or one that is free – the best option. On the flipside, while it may be more cost-effective to choose a specific option, shelling out the budget for a platform with particular features could help your employees complete work more efficiently, boosting profits in the end. 

How redundant or active is your storage?

For businesses that don’t work mainly online, data storage can be a way to safeguard data that’s not used often. This makes it redundant data. However, for online companies or larger corporations, data sharing and online collaboration is a chief part of their work. This makes it active data. Having a cloud option that offers cost effective deals depending on how often the data is interacted with is a key to cutting out the extra expenses you may be subjected to without knowing. Consider how much interaction your data will get on a regular basis, and then be sure to check options that accommodate your active or redundant data.

How important is storage transfer?

If you’re not sure you’ll stick with your current cloud option, need to transfer data in and out regularly, or like to spread your data across many clouds for better accessibility, choosing a cloud option with the lowest fee – or no fee at all – for transfers is crucial to shave off your expenses. However, if you intend on staying put for the future and working within the cloud, then you can save money over other options by taking advantage of their added features.

The cloud provider you choose and the actions you take with your storage all depend on those fine details not many businesses know about their real cloud bill. To save money and improve your data storage, keep this in mind.

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16 Mar 2017, 9:02 a.m.

Price shouldn't be the first place, first place must be security and storage transfer. That's two most important things when choosing right cloud storage.